Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I’m 27 years old and live with my parents, who are both in their mid-50s. A few months ago, my dad was forced to quit his job.
The problem is, I have proof that my father is cheating with an ex-co-worker. I’ve met this woman. I did my own investigating and was able to get names, numbers and photos. Every time Mom leaves for work, Dad locks himself in his room and gets on the phone. His girlfriend has called here a few times and hung up on me. The disturbing thing about it is, she is even younger than I am.
Dad is always finding excuses to leave the house. One time I followed him and saw him in the parking lot on his cell phone. He often has “lunch meetings” with “friends,” but never has anything to say about them when we ask.
My mother has her faults, but she doesn’t deserve to be cheated on. My father is really good about pretending and doesn’t know I am aware of his double life. I want to confront him and give him an ultimatum — this girl or us. I also want to tell my mom, and my brother agrees. What do you say? — Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck: You are not in a position to give Dad that particular ultimatum. Leaving the marriage is your mother’s decision. The one you should be giving him is this: Stop seeing the other woman and get counseling with Mom, or you’re going to spill the beans. We have no doubt you will follow through.
Dear Annie: My 66-year-old husband suffers from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The diseases have advanced to the point that simple tasks are extremely difficult if not impossible. Consequently, we have to constantly endure thoughtless and hurtful comments from friends, neighbors and even family accusing him of being lazy because they see me doing the lion’s share of physical labor around our home.
These callous and uncaring individuals have no clue what it’s like to suffer with these debilitating diseases. I’ve watched my husband, who used to work two jobs and could pick up 160-pound bales of hay with each hand, slowly deteriorate until now it’s a challenge for him to tie his shoes or get out of bed.
On a good day, he will try to help out, but what takes me 15 minutes will take him an hour to accomplish at the price of agony for several hours afterward. On a bad day, well, I’ve found him sitting in a chair with tears running down his cheeks begging for the pain to go away, just for a little while.
What angers me most is the lack of sympathy from doctors, who often bluntly say there’s nothing they can do. Instead of hope, they hand my husband another prescription for painkillers and tell him to get exercise.
Millions of people are just like my husband. Is there help out there? Why isn’t more being done for these people? — Frustrated in Elgin, Ore.
Dear Frustrated: We understand your dissatisfaction, but there is only so much a doctor can do. Pharmaceutical companies would love to develop a miracle drug — they’d make a fortune — and they have been trying. You can find information and support through the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) at 1-800-283-7800.
Dear Annie: I had to respond to your reply to “Broke,” whose husband uses his parents’ credit cards. Three parties involved in a marriage is definitely one too many.
My deceased husband commonly ran to his mother and borrowed from her or used her credit card. Then, when the bills were post-due and the loans hadn’t been repaid, she would come to me for the money. Of course, a big fight would ensue, with me wondering why he didn’t come to me first. — Gal in Texas
Dear Texas: Your husband’s attachment to his mother seems to have fueled this particular problem. Thanks for weighing in.
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 2.27.09