Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: Several weeks ago, something happened that keeps bugging me. My husband and I were riding in his car when I noticed a book he had been reading on the front floorboard. I picked it up and asked how he liked it. He said it was interesting and he was almost finished. I thought I might want to read it, too, so I flipped to the spot where he had marked his progress with a large card in an envelope. To my surprise, the envelope had his name written on it in a feminine hand with a fancy flourish. I asked what it was, and he said it was just his bookmark.
I am ashamed to say that an hour later I went back to the car to check it out, but the card and envelope had been removed and a blank piece of paper was in their place.
My husband and I have had marital problems based on his indiscretion with other women. I thought we had moved beyond that awful time, but now I am afraid he is again showing signs of fooling around. I hesitate to ask him about the card again. How can I regain confidence in our relationship and rid myself of the worry that is bugging me? I hate feeling like a mistrusting green-eyed monster. — Barb
Dear Barb: Spouses who have cheated in the past have a responsibility to be honest, transparent and forthcoming in order to regain trust. Your husband owes you an explanation. Otherwise, his behavior seems suspicious and undermines your marriage. Don’t let him off the hook. Ask him about the card. If he makes excuses (“I lost it”) or turns the tables and accuses you of being jealous or irrational, it’s time to see a counselor, with or without him.
Dear Annie: I’ve known “Patrick” since my last year of high school. He is the funniest guy you’ll ever meet, but he has always been a friend to me and nothing more.
My best friend insisted that Patrick liked me as more than a friend, but I didn’t believe her until now. Over the past several months, it has finally dawned on me that Patrick has strong feelings for me. All my friends pointed this out. They also said that Patrick had his heart broken before by someone who was painfully honest about not liking him back. He is often depressed because he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
I have tried to be a good friend to him, but that’s not enough, and now I think it might be making things worse. Patrick texts me and tries to contact me every chance he gets. I don’t want to hurt him, but I know it’s inevitable. How do I go about this in the kindest way possible? — Feel Guilty
Dear Guilty: First, recognize that you are not responsible for Patrick’s happiness or his ability to find a girlfriend. Then scale back the friendship. Be less available. Respond only occasionally to his messages, and don’t sound too chummy. Never make the first move to contact him. And consider introducing him to other women who might appreciate his personality. He sounds like a good guy who could use a little help with his social life.
Dear Annie: I take exception to “Frustrated in Florida,” who was angry with her 87-year-old father because he wouldn’t give up drinking altogether, even though she felt it contributed to his medical problems. With both heart and cancer problems, I feel qualified to respond.
At age 87, he doesn’t need any aggravation, which only serves to hasten the end. Let us enjoy each day. I’m thankful my children understand and will even present me with a bottle of tequila once in a while. — 85 and Counting
Annie’s Snippet for Earth Day (credit Barry Commoner, 1970): “We declare that the proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it.”
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, 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 4.22.11