Annie Lane: Finding home newly

Published 6:30 am Saturday, August 8, 2020

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 37 years. We were separated for five years and, recently, have started spending time together again, with an interest in reuniting. But we’ve found that we get along better while he has his apartment and I have my apartment. We both really like having our independent spaces, even if we spend every night together. What do you think, Annie? Do you think we should move into one apartment together, even though we are enjoying the current arrangement?

— One Marriage, Two Houses

Dear OMTH: Home isn’t an address. It’s a sense of belonging that you create together, under one roof or two. So, if the current setup works for you both, then why not continue? It’s not the way things are usually done, but it’s better to be unconventional and happy than conventional and unhappy.

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Dear Annie: Recently, I appreciated a letter to you so much that I cut it out and inserted it in my meditation book. “Still Learning” wrote: “Two things have caused me to be a happier person. One is dropping my expectations of others, and the other is choosing not to be offended.” The “Concerned Mother” in your recent column whose daughter didn’t invite her to stay in her home but instead wanted her to go to a hotel should be referred to this thought. Simply dropping expectations or choosing not to be offended would help her get past her frustration with her daughter in addition to helping her become a happier person. Thank you for your thoughtful daily columns.

— Arlean L.

Dear Arlean: Letting go of expectations is excellent advice for “Concerned Mother” — and the rest of us. I’m grateful to have such thoughtful readers as “Still Learning” and yourself. Thank you for writing.

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Dear Annie: I read the letter from “The Smiths.” This couple had a nice lake house that they wanted to share with visitors but were frustrated with visitors’ not bringing things. While I think it would be nice if the guests would offer to make a meal, or offer to pay for a meal in a restaurant, I find it appalling that someone would have guests visit and expect them to bring their own food. It appears that these people want to show off the fact that they can afford a nice lake house, but don’t want to extend common courtesies that etiquette requires.

— Still a Gracious Host

Dear Gracious Host: I’m grateful to hosts such as yourself. I may have missed the mark in not giving the original letter writer some tough love, as I received several letters echoing your sentiment. Here’s one more I felt was worth printing.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to