Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 8:47 pm
Dear Annie: After 18 years of a roller-coaster marriage, I find myself divorced. At the time, I thought it was what I wanted. My husband was verbally and emotionally abusive. He would also destroy my personal property and refuse to attend family functions. He placed tape recorders in my car and followed me when I spent an evening with my girlfriends. He retired early, and instead of taking up a hobby, he took up drinking. I finally had enough and called it quits.
I’ve been on my own for nine months and for some reason find myself missing this man. My life is a lot different, and my financial situation is very stressful. When I was married, I had a beautiful home with lovely gardens and no money worries. I wonder if I should have toughed it out. I have been asked out on dates but have yet to accept any. I just can’t picture myself with another man.
Is it normal to feel this way? My heart is like stone. How do I get back up and running? — Just Sad
Dear Sad: It is perfectly natural for you to feel adrift and unsure. Being on your own after 18 years can create tremendous anxiety, and struggling financially makes you long for the security of being married — even to an abusive alcoholic. Nine months isn’t very long to navigate through this process. It will help to find a support network — family members, girlfriends, chat lines, book clubs — any place where you can find people who offer friendship. And while you may not be interested in remarrying, dating can help you get out more and meet new people in different social circles, which will help you adjust. You were strong enough to get out of an abusive marriage, and we know you will find the strength to get through this, too.
Dear Annie: I must be from another time. I was invited to a baby shower for an unwed mother and father. I attended in order to keep peace in our family. The father of the new baby boy was there, and the girl’s grandmother gave the shower.
I have never heard of anything like this. If both parents are there, wouldn’t it be nice if they had gotten married before having a baby shower? Or am I just not getting what is going on these days? — In Disbelief
Dear Disbelief: At least the father is involved. These days, it’s not uncommon for women to have baby showers when there is no father in the picture. Please don’t punish the baby for the parents’ life choices. We hope they will provide emotional stability for that child, married or not, and it serves no purpose for the relatives to treat the infant as a badge of shame. That little boy will need all of you.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Been There,” who said repetitious and tedious homework teaches a child about life. Maybe so, and in some cases it is surely laziness. But in our case, my daughter had ADHD.
“Angie” flew under the radar until her freshman year in high school when we finally realized she wasn’t lazy or defiant. Like many girls with ADHD, she didn’t show any signs of hyperactivity. She just lacked the focus necessary to do the assigned tasks. I would find homework half-completed and not turned in because she couldn’t stay on task long enough to finish. This also happened at home. It could take her four hours to make her bed and put her clothes away.
After being diagnosed and put on the right medicine, she is doing exceptionally well. She is amazed at how much she can achieve in a short period of time. Please, parents, look into this if you think your child seems lazy or bored. — Happy Mom with a Happier Teenager
Dear Mom: Many children have undiagnosed attention problems that interfere with schoolwork. Thanks for mentioning the possibility.
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 8.21.08