Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am a 26-year-old woman, recently engaged to my live-in boyfriend. The other day, I came across an online conversation he had with an ex-fling of his. I know I shouldn’t have snooped, but the word “marriage” came up and I got curious. In the conversation, he said she would always have a piece of his heart and told her that “in another universe,” he would have married her.
I feel completely betrayed. My boyfriend says the conversation was private and was meant to bring him closure so he could continue to move forward comfortably and confidently into our marriage. And besides, it was none of my business and I could not possibly understand. I am furious. I feel this was inappropriate and hurtful. I no longer trust him and am having a great deal of difficulty moving beyond this.
My last three boyfriends all cheated, and one was also physically abusive. I suffer from extreme PTSD. My therapist told me it was a miracle that I was able to take steps toward trusting another person. Now I am back at square one. Am I foolish to stay with my fiancé after he did something like this, knowing it would hurt me? Or could this, in fact, have been a conversation to gain closure, as he said? — Boston
Dear Boston: We are inclined to give your boyfriend the benefit of the doubt, although he should not have kept his correspondence a secret. You and your fiancé need to have a long talk, perhaps with your therapist, about how fragile your sense of security is and how he needs to be transparent in his dealings in order to cement the trust between you. If he is open and honest, it will bolster your confidence in the relationship and you will not feel the need to snoop.
Dear Annie: I shower daily, but do not use a washcloth. I prefer to suds up my hands and wash my entire body that way.
My sister tells me that unless I use a washcloth, I am not cleaning myself well enough. I do not agree. I feel sparkling clean after each shower. What do you say? — Clean as a Whistle in Upstate New York
Dear Clean: As long as you are getting to all the nooks and crannies of your body, you are doing an adequate job. Most folks find that they are more thorough when they use something other than their hands, hence the washcloth. This is also why some people install bidets and use detachable showerheads.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Confused,” who wants to hyphenate her name, but her fiancé is opposed to it.
The women in my family have a tradition of using their maiden names in place of their middle names. This custom started with my great-great-grandmother. I went from being Jane Anne Doe to Jane Doe Smith. My daughter, Louise Mary Smith, became Louise Smith Jones when she married. In addition to allowing us to retain a part of our identities, it has simplified tracing our genealogy, making us aware of the maiden names of the women in our past.
This is an easy way to keep our maiden names without the cumbersome process of hyphenating them. It is not a new idea — Mary Todd Lincoln did it, as did Martha Custis Washington and other historical female figures. I’m proud to have my maiden name as part of my legal name, and my husband and I are quite pleased that our daughter has continued this practice. I hope this may be of some help. — Kay in Indy
Dear Kay: We think this is a splendid idea and helpful for family trees. (However, as a historical aside, “Custis” was not Martha Washington’s maiden name. It was her first husband’s surname. George was her second husband. Her maiden name was Dandridge.)
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
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 12.14.10