Dear Annie: A few years ago, my husband, “Don,” had an affair with a family friend. I discovered them kissing in the kitchen. I also found out Don’s family knew about the affair. My sister-in-law actually provided a place for them to rendezvous.
My in-laws still welcome this woman and her husband into their homes. They are often invited to family functions, even though my in-laws know how painful it is for me. When she is around my husband, she tries to involve herself in his conversation. When he is with her, he acts like nothing ever happened, joking and laughing. Don and I have been to counseling, but it doesn’t help when I see this Jezebel in his mother’s house all the time.
I have tried to explain how uncomfortable this makes me, but Don says it’s not his fault she is at his parents’ when he visits his family. That’s true. I also know his family can do what they want in their own home.
This woman is married, and her husband just sits back and says nothing. Don was not her first affair, nor her most recent. I don’t think he’s interested in picking up where he left off, so what do I do? — Haunted by the Other Woman
Dear Haunted: Don needs to stay away from this woman, and if that means avoiding his family when she is there, so be it. He owes it to you not to treat the affair lightly and expect you to be chummy with a woman who has no respect for your marriage. He should inform his parents and siblings that when Jezebel is present, he will leave. And he should keep his word.
Dear Annie: A woman I know leaves her three teenagers unsupervised a lot. She is engaged to a wealthy man, and it seems as if his money is more important than her kids. Whenever he wants to see her, she drops everything in order to travel with him while the kids are left on their own.
If these were younger children, I would not hesitate to contact social services, but since they are teenagers and can pretty much take care of themselves, I’m not sure if it is serious neglect or not. The oldest one already drives.
My daughter told me the teenage girl has shown her pictures on her cell phone of naked teenage boys — photos taken at the house while Mom was away. How much of this is my business? — Concerned in Utah
Dear Utah: Children younger than the age of 16 are still minors, and although mature teens can be left alone for a certain length of time, these kids don’t sound responsible enough to be trusted. If you know the mother, tell her about the naked pictures and make it clear she is asking for serious trouble by leaving her children alone for extended periods. Teenagers need supervision. Suggest she get an adult babysitter — maybe a grandparent — to stay in the house while she is traveling.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Need Advice in Arizona,” who wanted to know whether her live-in relationship with “Chet” would work out, even though he’s 20 years older and doesn’t want to get married. This lady makes my blood boil.
She’s 26 years old, has two young children without the benefit of marriage and dated a married man who left his family for her. What a prize she is. She whines that she wants “the wedding of my dreams” and two more children. Sounds like the system will be adding more dependents for us taxpaying people. When is she going to grow up? I worry for her kids and their future. Thanks for letting me vent. — Annoyed in Montreal
Dear Annoyed: Several readers vented about this woman, but we also heard from others who had been in similar straits and advised as you did — that she needs to mature. We concur.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.11.08