Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married for 19 years, and my husband is a flirt. Early on, he would openly say teasing things to other women. After I complained repeatedly that he was being disrespectful to me, he stopped.
Now I find him staring at other women until they pay attention. It’s almost as if he is trying to make a connection. He’s an attractive man, and when he acts like that, some women believe he is interested in them, and they behave seductively toward him. I find this humiliating. I have tried to talk to him about it. At first, he told me I was jealous and insecure. Now he simply denies that he does it.
I get the noticing part, because I notice attractive men, but I don’t flirt or try to make a connection with them. I am beginning to resent my husband. When other men make eyes at me, I do not encourage them. Now I am reconsidering.
My husband will not go to counseling. Is this really normal male behavior? — Second Best
Dear Second: It is normal to look. It is not normal to respond in so exaggerated a manner that your spouse feels humiliated. More importantly, when you ask him to stop, he should make every effort to do so. Otherwise, he is being inconsiderate and disrespectful. Tell your husband you are going to see a counselor on your own so you can best determine how to deal with his behavior because it is seriously damaging your marriage. We hope that gets his attention.
Dear Annie: In a few months, I will be having a milestone birthday. I’d like to ignore it, but my friends keep talking about what we should do to celebrate. I sincerely do not want to do anything at all.
My friends think they are pleasing me, but they are making me miserable. The last time they did this, I went along with it, but I was quite resentful that they didn’t take me at my word. How can I politely convince them to not do anything? — No Celebrations
Dear No Celebrations: Not everyone enjoys birthday celebrations. Tell your friends that the best gift they could give you is to make a donation in your name to your favorite charity. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee they won’t try to surprise you anyway, so we suggest you make other plans on that day and be unavailable.
Dear Annie: This is the other side of “Numb in Nevada,” whose daughter-in-law cut them off from seeing the grandchild.
My husband and his mother were very close. To honor that bond, I allowed her into the delivery room for the birth of our son. She repaid me for that kindness by taking photos without permission, and now there are digital pictures of me in labor floating around the Internet.
When I came home from the hospital, she proceeded to criticize my housekeeping, insisted that my older children stay with a relative for another week and, despite the fact that I was breastfeeding, repeatedly tried to bottle feed the baby. I agreed to a baptism to make her happy, and she got into a fight with my mother and told her to leave.
Since she lived six hours away, we allowed my mother-in-law to stay with us frequently. I ignored her criticisms of my appearance, my children’s clothes, their behavior and my views on childrearing. I continued to be polite and respectful. I had to take antianxiety medication to make it through those weekends.
Now, I’m divorced, and the most enduring benefit is that I never, ever have to deal with her again. — It’s Not Always the Daughter-in-Law’s Fault
Dear Not Always: You sound like you made every effort to be kind and respectful toward a real barracuda. We salute you.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your 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 9.7.11