Dear Annie: I am having a hard time forgetting my boyfriend's past. Before we met, he subscribed to girlie magazines, went to strip clubs, bought lap dances, etc. I have always felt those things are degrading and disrespectful to women. He also has said he fantasizes about other women.
Whenever I see him staring at a hot girl, it makes me think of his past. I do believe he loves me, but I can't help it. This is causing problems in our relationship. How do I get beyond this? - Hard Time Forgiving
Dear Hard Time: A lot of men subscribe to girlie magazines and have visited strip clubs. As long as he has stopped doing these things, we wouldn't worry about that part of his past. Fantasizing is common (women do it, too) and is not a concern unless he acts on it, although he would be wise to stop discussing his fantasies, since you become so upset.
You and your boyfriend could look into couples counseling to see whether that can help you work through this. But if you cannot let go of his past, we hope you will let go of him. You both deserve a relationship where you feel secure and not judged.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Frustrated Employee" and can empathize. It seems no one ever gets punished, fired or held accountable for not doing their jobs.
I, too, am frustrated with the entitled attitude of many co-workers. It's downright theft when they habitually pad timecards, use sick leave for a personal day, show up late, take long lunch hours, leave early, etc. And if you are brave enough to complain to management, you are told that this matter will be taken under advisement (and never is), or you are accused of not being a "team player" and blamed for your negative attitude toward your co-workers.
You try to just do your job, but it is difficult when you share responsibilities on a project, and the other person doesn't carry their weight. Why should I suffer ulcers, sleepless nights, short lunches at my desk and long days in order to support someone else's lack of work ethic?
You suggested that "Frustrated Employee" put out an updated resume, but it's possible this person has benefits that cannot be replaced, isn't able to relocate for another position or is close to retirement. Why do the rules only apply to the few?
From experience, I know that some things will never change. But why are we condoning the actions of those who are not productive and condemning those who are? - Another Frustrated Employee Writing on His Own Time
Dear Another: The reason for your ulcers and frustration is that you think there is some way to transform the useless co-workers or hold management accountable. But there isn't. If management chooses to ignore incompetent employees, the business suffers, but your choice is simply to stay or go.
If you choose to stay, for whatever reason, it helps to tune out what you cannot fix. Do your job, document your efforts, put a smile on your face and ignore the rest.
Conscientious, capable employees like you feel responsible for the success of the company and want their efforts appreciated. But if the company doesn't care, please let yourself off the hook.
Editor's note: Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.