Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My wife and I just celebrated a bittersweet 25th wedding anniversary.
Eight months ago, a friend emailed that my wife’s college boyfriend, “Steve,” was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Their relationship only lasted a few months, but it was intense. He broke it off. She held on to those feelings for the longest time. Even while we were dating, she communicated with him. I was aware of this, but felt lucky simply to have her in my life.
When she informed me of Steve’s illness, I did not react well. I said I never liked him and wasn’t interested in knowing what was going on. Unbeknownst to me, my wife joined a cancer survivors website that Steve logged on to so she could follow his progress. She found out that he never married. The week Steve died, I saw the website address on her computer. She admitted what she’d done and also told me she had emailed to wish him the best.
I was floored by this information. I asked what he said in reply, and she told me, “Not much. It wasn’t like he proclaimed his everlasting love.” I haven’t been able to get that out of my head. Annie, it makes me believe it’s what she was hoping for — that he would confess he made a mistake breaking up with her, and that’s why he never married.
I am crushed. We have had a few blowups over this. Of course, she says she only reconnected with Steve because she felt bad for him. Am I overreacting, or will she always love this guy? — Tough Times in Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: Twenty-six years ago, your wife cared for Steve. When she learned he was seriously ill, she felt sorry for him, wanted to see how he was doing and sent her best wishes. This was a perfectly normal, compassionate response. Steve is certainly no threat to you now and probably never was. Somehow you convinced yourself that she married you only because she couldn’t have him. Please control your insecurity before you push her away completely.
Dear Annie: I live in a large town so I can be near the doctors I need. I am not married, I have no children, and my family members do not live in the area.
I am scheduled for brain surgery, and none of my family will be coming to the hospital, although my father said he might. I’ve spoken with a therapist about it, and he reassures me that it won’t be that bad. But can you imagine having major surgery with no person there for you? — Alone in Omaha
Dear Alone: This must be a terribly difficult time. Please call your family and tell them how much it would mean to you if someone could sit by your side. Sometimes they don’t know. Also contact your friends, who can be a huge source of support. Then ask your doctor if the hospital has a social worker on staff. You are probably not the only person in this position, and hospitals often have help available. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your answer to “Frustrated with Finances.” The bride is totally out of line to expect someone to rearrange three-year plans in order to attend a destination wedding.
I had a destination wedding eight years ago. I knew many people would be unable to attend, and it was OK. A few months later, we had a big party and showed the video of our wedding. It worked out perfectly, and there were no hard feelings. — Had the Perfect Wedding
Dear Had: You were considerate of your guests, and we don’t disagree that “Frustrated’s” sister is out of line. But if the couple is going to Hawaii anyway, attending could be done with a minimum of fuss — if they wish to do so.
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 11.7.11