Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I love my wife of 30 years, but I’ve had it. For 10 years, I had a great job in which I was well respected and well paid. Under pressure at home to bring in more money, I took a promising position at a startup company. Six months later, I was sacked. Since then, I’ve had to jump on any opportunity that came my way. I’ve had seven jobs in nine years and things have been financially tough. I have made some job mistakes, but still, we’re almost back to where we were nine years ago.
However, whenever any difficulty occurs, my wife rubs it in my face. I try to be a devoted husband. I am the prime breadwinner and still do more than half the cooking, cleaning and chores. Until recently, I was active in church and local community organizations. We have three wonderful children who have excelled academically.
I rarely buy anything for myself, yet if I spend any money at all, I get a screaming apoplectic display from my wife. She is taking back my birthday gifts because “we need the money.” Meanwhile, we seem to have the funds for her to travel (without me) and refresh her wardrobe each season.
Many of these arguments occur when my wife has been drinking. She sometimes hits me and says things that aren’t easily forgotten. We don’t have much of a romantic life, either. It’s difficult to be a good lover after being scolded.
I don’t believe in divorce, but if I had any way to leave the marriage and make sure she’s financially fixed, I would. I suspect I am clinically depressed and fear I might lose control one of these days. What do I do? — No Name Please
Dear No Name: You are trapped with an abusive wife and recognize how close you are to reacting violently. Talk to a lawyer about a legal separation, which will enable you to provide financially for your wife while living apart. Then get some counseling, with or without her, and contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).
Dear Annie: I’ve been friends with “Robert” for seven years. Recently, he has started giving me unsolicited (and unwanted) advice about my life. He makes suggestions about my relationships, how I dress, what I eat and even tells me how to treat my family. I’ve asked him to stop, but he persists.
Is there any way I can get him to mind his own business without destroying our friendship? — Confused in New Hampshire
Dear Confused: After seven years, Robert feels proprietary toward you and thinks that gives him the right to dictate your behavior. You need to create some distance — don’t see him as often, don’t confide in him as much — so he is no longer close enough to be overbearing. If he still won’t stop, we’re afraid the friendship is over.
Dear Annie: I am consistently amazed at the number of women whose lives are apparently shattered because their husband/fiance/boyfriend had an affair.
I lived for many years in Europe and Latin America and have always been impressed with the mature and tolerant attitude of the women there toward this “congenital” flaw in the male psyche. Blatant promiscuity is inexcusable, but a discreet relationship is never cause to destroy either a marriage or the wife’s entire life, as happens in this country. Are American women so incredibly fragile that their lives simply fly to pieces when hubby flirts with some woman in a bar?
In case you have ever wondered, this is the reason so many American males marry foreign women when given the opportunity. — Danny in the South
Dear Danny: It doesn’t surprise us that you find those attitudes “mature and tolerant.” Some women want only the status of marriage and others want only the perks of an affair. But most American women expect their men to be grown up and responsible, which some men resent. Boys with attitudes like yours prefer women who demand nothing.
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 2.25.09