Dear Annie: It’s been almost a year since my husband and I separated. We were married for 12 years, and for most of them, we lived like roommates. Our only real fights were triggered because I kept telling him I wanted a more intimate relationship.
He was not willing to invest more in our marriage. He seemed comfortable, although not in love with me. I realized things wouldn’t improve, but all my other needs were met, we were good friends and, most importantly, we had a son. I decided to stick with it as long as I could because I had been married before and didn’t want to go through another divorce. Suddenly and abruptly, however, he left me for someone else.
The thing is, my ex’s brother, “Rex,” and I started talking about the situation, and as we began calling each other more, we confided that there had been an attraction between us since the day we met. I have fallen in love with this man. He seems like my soul mate. Rex, on the other hand, says he cares about me and wants to be with me, but won’t allow himself to fall too deeply into this relationship because it feels like he is betraying his brother. He also knows his family will not accept our being together.
Do you think these obstacles can be overcome? Could we be happy together? — Jane in Arizona
Dear Jane: People can learn to accept what is inevitable, and “betrayal” apparently runs in the family. However, it would require that Rex completely support the idea and make a firm commitment to the relationship, and he obviously is reluctant to do either. Also, brothers can be a lot alike, and whatever attracted you to your ex-husband may also be what makes Rex so appealing. So be careful what you wish for.
Dear Annie: I am a 48-year-old male, recently retired from a civil servant position after 25 years. I now work part time in the evenings, four days a week.
Ever since my retirement, my wife has been extremely nasty to me when she gets home from her full-time job. Her first question is always, “So, what did you do today?” as if all I do is sit around watching TV. I do some things around the house, like make the bed, do the dishes, etc., but she acts as if she expects me to be tearing out walls and replacing carpeting.
I think she is jealous of my situation; plus, she is starting to have some menopausal symptoms (she is 48). I am running out of patience with her attitude. What should I do? — Sick and Tired
Dear Tired: Women often have the same complaint when they stay home with children and their husbands ask what they did all day. If you work fewer hours than your wife and aren’t caring for dependent family members, you should be doing more of the housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and meal preparation. The fact that your wife is nasty may mean jealousy or hormones are preventing her from keeping a tighter lid on her anger, but it doesn’t make it less valid. It’s time to open the lines of communication so you can discuss each other’s expectations.
Dear Annie: “Curious in the East” asked how children react when Mom is the one who leaves the marriage.
I always thought the phrase “it felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders” was simply a figure of speech, until Mom announced she was leaving Dad for another man and a real, honest-to-gosh weight literally lifted from my shoulders. Whoa!
I had no idea how much the stress in our home was affecting me physically until that day. I just wish she had left him years before. We all would have been much happier. — Kansas
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, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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 3.26.08