Posted: Monday, July 7, 2008 9:00 pm
Dear Annie: Two months ago, out of the blue, my 42-year-old wife of 25 years said, “I love you for the three kids you’ve given me and the years we’ve had, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I think we should separate. All I want is half the house.” Then she told me to move out for a few months until things settle down.
I’m standing there wondering, “What is she talking about?” Annie, I’m a good husband. I have a good job, I’m not abusive, I don’t drink or gamble, I don’t even go out with my buddies. How could she drop a 25-year marriage just like that?
She has no interest in giving me a second chance. She moved out and is living with a young gal she works with. Everyone we know is shocked. Some say it’s a midlife crisis or she’s having an affair. Others blame online dating services and chat rooms. Some say she wants the money from the sale of the house.
I’ve since learned of nine other men whose wives have done the same thing in the last three months. What happened to marriage vows? We’ve had our differences like every other couple, but we’ve always worked through them and carried on.
Right now, she treats me as if I don’t exist. Do you think this is temporary and she’ll come to her senses? If she does, should I take her back? Is she likely to do this again? Should I just move on without her? — Shell-Shocked
Dear Shell-Shocked: Once upon a time, being a good provider and a sober, loving and decent husband was enough, but apparently, it wasn’t enough for your wife. And the surprise factor indicates she’d been planning to leave the marriage for quite a while. We don’t know if she’ll change her mind or not. Some people, after realizing the grass isn’t any greener elsewhere, return home. But there’s no reason for you to put your life on hold waiting. Get some counseling so you can learn to deal with what happened and then move on.
Dear Annie: My parents, both in their 60s, recently retired. At a time in their lives when they should relax or travel, they are instead bombarded with family members looking for handouts.
My parents have always been willing to help, but I feel they are being taken advantage of. Mom is constantly being asked to baby-sit the grandchildren, and at the end of the day she complains of being exhausted. Dad is always doing favors for his numerous nieces and nephews, and just recently a neighbor asked to borrow money. He’s a perpetual taxi service and tool lender, and the grandchildren call him up and ask for ridiculously expensive things.
I have had enough. I’ve talked to my parents many times, only to be told they don’t mind — that’s what grandparents do. I refuse to sit back and watch them be used and abused. How can I make them understand? — Aggravated in Shreveport, La.
Dear Shreveport: Your parents give money, gifts and time because it makes them feel needed and valued by family members and neighbors. They believe it will keep the grandchildren close. And they want to do it. We know it bothers you, but it’s not your decision to make. When they’ve had enough, they will stop.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Three’s a Crowd,” who said his girlfriend’s ex is always hanging around and she treats him like a brother. I also have an ex-husband who is a best friend. We had a very bad marriage and there are no romantic feelings between us, but it’s one of the best friendships I’ve ever had.
“Three” should be careful about asking his girlfriend to end the friendship because it would be like giving up a family member. I would love to meet a man who was strong enough emotionally to embrace my ex-husband as you suggested. And I would love it if my ex found someone who would be friends with me. — Still Friends
Dear Still: We hope both your wishes come true.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 7.7.08