Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:03 pm
Dear Annie: My husband, “Frank,” retired three years ago, after more than 40 years with the same company. He frequently mentioned a co-worker, “Dolly,” saying how nice she was and what good friends they were. He wondered how she was doing. Once, he even said he missed her, but the expression on my face must have made him rethink that.
Last week, I ran into one of Frank’s former co-workers and asked about my husband’s relationship with Dolly. The co-worker said they seemed to have a strong attraction, but assured me it was probably just an office flirtation between two married colleagues. Then he said, “They only went out to lunch together a few times.” Annie, Frank never once told me he had lunch with Dolly.
Should I mention this encounter to Frank and tell him what I suspect? The other day he was texting when I walked into the room, and he immediately stopped and put his phone down. He was visibly shaken. When I asked who he was texting, he claimed it was his brother. Now I’m thinking of checking his email, something I never would have done before.
During our 40-year marriage, I always trusted Frank, but now I am uncertain about his affections. What should I do? — In Doubt
Dear Doubt: This could be an ongoing flirtation and nothing more, but at this point, your marriage is in jeopardy regardless. Please discuss this with Frank, openly and honestly. Tell him what you know. Explain that his behavior has eroded your trust. Ask him to go with you for counseling to talk about this with a neutral party. If he refuses, go without him and decide how best to handle this.
Dear Annie: The holidays are a difficult time of year for me, not because of loneliness, but rather the opposite.
I suffer from social anxiety issues, as well as problems with eating around others. I frequently find myself sitting in a corner trying to avoid people and food alike. I am often asked why I am not eating. I usually say “I’m not hungry” or “I’m trying to watch my calories,” but sometimes that fails to satisfy the person asking. Even though I’ve told my extended family and close friends the truth, they still insist I should eat something. How can I politely communicate my feelings while still being a grateful guest? — Me
Dear You: The fear of being judged by others or embarrassed in front of them is not an uncommon anxiety disorder and often manifests itself as an inability to eat in public. You can practice taking some food and moving it around on your plate if you don’t want questions. But if you are willing to examine your anxieties, you can work to overcome them. Some people have found success with behavior modification, hypnotherapy, counseling and/or medication. Please talk to your doctor about this, and also contact the National Institute of Mental Health at 1-866-615-NIMH (1-866-615-6464).
Dear Annie: I think you missed something in your response to “Not a NASCAR Fan,” whose husband drives like a maniac. She needs to call 911 from the car or home and report this wild driver. I certainly don’t want to meet him on the road. — Omaha Driver
Dear Omaha: Nor do we, but unfortunately, unless he is caught committing a traffic violation, nothing will change. Calling the police from home and saying that your husband is probably somewhere speeding and tailgating won’t do any good, and we don’t think she should be in the car with him.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email 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 12.27.11