Dear Annie: I have been married for 12 years and have three wonderful kids.
I recently discovered that my husband has been a sperm donor for more than nine months. I confronted him after I saw the check for $6,000, and after two days of pushing for information, he finally admitted it. He says he kept it a secret because I would not have approved.
According to him, I am making a big deal out of nothing and he doesn’t need to answer for every private detail of his life as long as he is being a good provider and a good father.
I feel my trust has been broken, and that he does not respect me enough to get my input on this kind of decision. I am seriously thinking of separating. Please advise me. — One Foot Out the Door
Dear One Foot: By our math, $6,000 in nine months means your husband has been donating sperm at the approximate rate of three times a week. Most sperm banks pay about $50 per donation, but more importantly, they often require a waiting period of six months between the first donation and payment to be sure there are no health problems.
We’re not sure your husband is telling you the whole story. In any event, such decisions (and extra income) should not be kept from a spouse. It creates distrust and resentment. You have 12 years and three children together. Insist your husband go with you for counseling as a condition for staying. He needs to understand why you are angry enough to walk away.
Dear Annie: Our neighbor’s wife died last summer. Since then, “Tom” has been reclusive. He is also an alcoholic. He has no other family. I’ve known Tom a long time. We used to work together and he was a good friend. Since his wife died, we’ve barely spoken.
Tom is a retired police officer and has weapons in his home. He has threatened one of our other neighbors. I have thought of reaching out to Tom on numerous occasions because I know he is depressed. Yesterday, I saw him taking out his garbage and asked how he was. I offered to pick up groceries for him if he ever needed me to. He was very genuine when he said thank you and asked for my cell number, which I gave him.
My husband worries Tom may get drunk and hurt me while I’m dropping off groceries. What can I do to help him? — A Concerned Neighbor
Dear Concerned: You are a kind soul to care about Tom’s welfare, but alcohol and weapons are a bad mix. If he calls, it’s OK to ask if he needs anything and to get groceries for him, but don’t go inside his house. Also, please contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) and ask for guidance.
Dear Annie: I disagreed with your response to “With Him but Alone,” the 60-year-old with MS who has wonderful chemistry with her 68-year-old boyfriend, but he has trouble being demonstrative. When walking, she would like to hold his hand in case she trips. You said he’s putting his needs above hers if he lets her trip instead of working on his inability to show affection.
I am 48 and was diagnosed with MS five years ago. My husband ordered me a hand-carved cane, which I now use regularly. I have never been demonstrative in public, but my husband is very secure in our relationship. When we walk together without my cane, I hold his arm, which gives me more balance than his hand. “With Him” should be more understanding about her boyfriend’s feelings. How does she handle her balance when he’s not around? — Also Non-Demonstrative
Dear Also: We agree that non-demonstrative people should not be forced to show affection, but a person with a balance problem should be able to count on her partner when necessary. It isn’t “affection.” It’s assistance. If your husband refused to let you hold his arm, you’d cope, but even you might resent it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail your questions to email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.14.08