Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married for 17 years and am the father of two teenage boys. In the past few years, my wife and I seem to have drifted apart. We’ve had our issues before, but have always been able to work things out. Not now.
Recently we talked, and it seems she is just not romantically into me anymore. Actually, although saddened, I understand because the feeling is mutual. It also doesn’t help that she spends the majority of her time playing an online video game where she talks with another man in another state. They phone each other nearly every day.
I try to keep our sons out of our marital problems, but they are old enough to notice. They have said it’s weird Mom spends so much time playing and talking with this other man. I have confronted her about this extramarital relationship, and she says he’s just someone she plays the game with and that’s it. But I accidentally came across one of her e-mails to him that indicates otherwise. What do I do? — Just a Dad
Dear Dad: When neither spouse has a fulfilling connection at home, each is vulnerable to finding it elsewhere, and this is what your wife has done. Your decision now is whether you want to save your marriage. If so, it will require that you find a way to rekindle the romance that existed when you first met, and then you both will need to recommit to each other. Tell your wife how unhappy you are and ask her to go with you for counseling. If she won’t go, go without her.
Dear Annie: My 17-year-old daughter and her friends will be attending the prom and are then planning to stay at a friend’s cabin two hours away. There will be eight couples, and I am the only parent who disapproves because there will be no adult supervision.
Am I from a different planet? Why would parents allow their children to be put in this type of compromising situation? — Hopeless in Parenting
Dear Hopeless: Some parents believe if they say “no,” their children will think they are old-fashioned. So what? It’s a parent’s job to set the rules. Even for a trustworthy teen, eight romantically linked couples staying overnight with no parents around is a major temptation, especially if there are alcohol and drugs.
Any parent considering this should know the other teens and their parents. They should talk to their child about the potential risks and discuss troublesome scenarios. And every parent should reassure their child that if the situation gets out of control, they can call home and someone will come and get them.
Dear Annie: My oldest daughter died in November from drug toxicity — a nice name for an overdose, I guess. As people learn of her death, their first reaction is, “What did she die from?” I know this is a natural response, but it is a really hard question to answer. She did not start using illegal drugs until recently, and many people were unaware of her addiction. She gave the appearance of being a model mother.
It is a long and tragic story, and I am not sure if I will ever come to terms with it. Questions about her death seem intrusive. I don’t want to lie, but I also do not want to tell the truth. I am still so angry that I fear people will think I did not love my daughter. I did and still do. Please encourage folks to simply give their condolences. If the survivors wish to share the circumstance of their loved one’s passing, they can do so, but often it is a conversation they would rather not have. — Still Mourning
Dear Mourning: No grieving person needs to give out details to the curious. It is perfectly OK to say, “It is too painful to discuss.” We send our deepest sympathies.
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 4.24.09