Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 10:58 pm
Dear Annie: My friend “Beth” divorced her husband three years ago. The divorce was amicable. They had no children together, although Beth has a child from a previous marriage. Shortly after the divorce, I learned from a very reliable source that her ex had been having an affair with a co-worker almost the entire time they had been married. I did not tell Beth this as they were already divorced and I didn’t want to hurt her.
Recently, Beth has begun seeing her ex again, and I can tell by the way she talks about him that she has stars in her eyes and thinks this is leading to a reconciliation. But from what I hear, the ex is still involved with the co-worker.
Beth has a good job and makes terrific money. She also comes from a very well-to-do family. I think the ex sees dollar signs and realizes his standard of living would improve if he got back together with her.
Should I tell Beth what I know about the co-worker or just keep my mouth shut? I am sure she will be upset that I didn’t tell her about the affair two years ago, but at the time, I did not see the need since she had divorced the creep. Now I feel like I should ’fess up. With STDs being what they are, plus the fact that her child is involved in all this mess, I think she ought to know. I have seriously thought about an anonymous letter. What would you suggest? — Torn by Friendship
Dear Torn: Don’t send an anonymous letter. It is both frightening and easy to discount the information. Talk to Beth. Tell her you know she still has feelings for her ex, but you heard he and a co-worker had a thing going on and she might want to make certain he isn’t still seeing the woman. Let her take it from there.
Dear Annie: I recently began seeing “Zack” again after we broke up nearly two years ago. During our hiatus, we both dated other people.
Zack has many pictures of his ex-girlfriend on his wall. These pictures make me feel uncomfortable, especially since he’s never put up a photo of me. I asked Zack if he would take the pictures down, but he refused. I don’t think he still has feelings for this girl, and I also realize that, as an artist, he may place a different value on photographs than I do. However, it bothers me that he cares more for a bunch of old pictures than for me.
I think it’s time to take those pictures down. Am I overreacting? — Picture Not-So-Perfect in Massachusetts
Dear Picture: Talk to Zack calmly and ask why he insists on displaying photographs that he knows make you uncomfortable. If he is no longer interested in this woman and considers the pictures works of art, you have no reason to be threatened. Still, he should show enough respect for your feelings to put them in a location where they are less prominent.
Dear Annie: I totally disagree with your answer to “Not Really Married,” whose children want to give them a 50th wedding anniversary party, even though his wife has refused sex for the last 20 years.
Celebrating 50 years of such a marriage is a sham and a disgrace. I have been married 45 years to a man who’s been unwilling or unable to come to the marriage bed for the last 15. You are right that marriage is more than sex. It is friendship, respect, sharing dreams and ideals and laughing together. When none of these is present, there is nothing to celebrate. Tell the kids to take the folks out to dinner, but no big party. — M.
Dear M.: If there is no friendship or communication, it is indeed a marriage in name only. However, when the only problem is lack of sex, it is unfair to consider 50 years of everything else worthless.
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 10.22.08