Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 9:21 pm
Dear Annie: Thirty years ago, I married an abusive man and had two children. Four years later, pregnant and miserable, I ran away and left the children with their paternal aunt to raise. Then I met “Joe.” I lied on the marriage license (with Joe’s approval), saying I was divorced so that we could marry. When my son was born, I gave him Joe’s last name.
It’s been 26 years since then. My question is: To whom am I legally married? My first husband has more children with someone else, and I have only seen my older kids a couple of times. We live in another state and I no longer know where they are. I need help trying to get this straightened out, so can you please give me some guidance? — Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones?
Dear Mrs.: Unless your first husband initiated divorce proceedings, you may still be legally married to him. After all this time, he may be quite willing to let you go without much fuss, but there’s no way to guarantee it. Talk to a lawyer and find out what steps you need to take to extricate yourself from your previous marriage and make your current situation legally binding. And please try to find your older children. You may have done what you thought was best for them at the time, but we can assure you, they never stopped wondering if you simply didn’t love them enough to want them to be part of your new life.
Dear Annie: When my office assistant announced her engagement, I offered my husband’s print shop services for her invitations. She graciously accepted. She often asked my advice regarding her dress, catering, the location of the ceremony and other things. I also organized an office shower.
She spoke to me several times as if I were invited to the wedding, but no invitation appeared. I assumed it was an oversight and mentioned it to her. She seemed awkward and I regret inquiring. The next day, an invite was on my desk.
I realize our offer to help does not automatically require an invitation, but considering the relationship and closeness it only seemed appropriate. In hindsight I think I was wrong. The guest list is totally her decision and she should not feel obligated to invite me. So what do I do now? Should I attend? Should I stay away and send a gift? — Etiquette Lacking
Dear Etiquette: You are right that you should not have asked about your invitation, although it is rude to impose on friends for wedding advice and assistance and not invite them to the event (assuming, of course, it is more than a family-only affair). But that is irrelevant now. You’ve been invited to a wedding. If you wish to attend, do so. Please send a gift either way.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Tired of Being Tired.” I could have written that letter two years ago. Chronic Epstein-Barr disease is not just being tired. It’s an effort to get out of bed some mornings. Sleep does not cure it, nor does inactivity. This disease affects your memory, emotions, energy level, everything. After suffering for more than three years, I thought I was losing my mind.
I strongly suggest she find a hematologist in her area. Though there is no cure, I was helped with vitamin B12 injections. She can expect to take a few steps forward and then a few back, but will gradually start feeling better within a year. Stress is a huge factor with this disease, so alleviating that would be very beneficial. Just let her know there is hope. — Mending in Memphis
Dear Memphis: Thank you and all the others who recommended B12 injections. We can’t guarantee their effectiveness, but it’s worth looking into.
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 10.28.08