Posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 8:59 pm
Dear Annie: My husband, “John,” and I have been married for 15 years. We have no children. For a number of years, we lived like roommates with no physical relationship.
A couple of years ago, John admitted he was in love with another woman. He said he wasn’t attracted to me and that he needed this other woman to be happy. I discovered this woman is a prostitute half his age. He refuses to stop seeing her and wants me to be “understanding” because it won’t last.
I asked John if he wanted a divorce. He said no, that he wants to stay married because he feels we have a good marriage and it’s financially beneficial since he doesn’t earn much money.
In the past couple of years, our sex life has tentatively returned, but it’s strained. He admits he still finds me unattractive, and I know he’s just using me when he can’t be with the other woman. I have accepted that my husband is a cheater who does not love or respect our marriage or me. I still love him, amazingly, but I, too, stay only out of financial convenience. We live in an expensive area and it is hard to find affordable housing.
I have zero self-esteem and feel ugly and worthless. I look in the mirror and see a dreary, unattractive middle-aged woman. Should I move out and just live out my life renting a tiny apartment and at least have some peace? — Feeling Worthless
Dear Feeling Worthless: Your husband has convinced you that you don’t deserve a better life, and this makes you reluctant to take action. Tell John you want him to go with you for counseling to see if the marriage is worth saving. If he refuses, or if counseling does not help, we recommend seeing a lawyer about a legal separation and alimony. Time apart will allow you to see how well you can manage. In the meantime, please see your doctor and be checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
Dear Annie: My parents are 76 years young and enjoy going out to eat with our children and families. Mom orders huge, expensive meals, then picks at the food and rarely eats. If we stop by the house at dinnertime, Mom says she’s already eaten and is full.
Mom is super thin and loves to be noticed for it. However, she’s now becoming a hypochondriac with ailments that aren’t there. She wants nothing more than for the world to revolve around her. How do we stop this game playing? I thought only young ladies get anorexia. What do we do with this feisty woman? — Healthy Son in Hebron
Dear Son: Anorexia may be more common in young women, but it can afflict anyone at any age, male or female. If your mother is anorexic, she will need intensive therapy. But it’s also possible she has developed other problems that interfere with eating — missing teeth, painful gums, gastric reflux, lack of appetite. Tell her she appears to be sick and you think she should see her doctor. Then phone the doctor and alert him or her to the problem.
Dear Annie: You are wrong about being paid to donate blood. Come to Lima, Ohio. They pay for your blood plasma and you can give twice a week. One of my girlfriends makes her house payment from her donations. A single girl has to make ends meet. She gets up at 5 a.m. and is one of the first ones to donate. She still has time for a quick breakfast before making it to work by 8 a.m. — Ohio
Dear Ohio: Several readers pointed out that many organizations still pay for blood and plasma donations. You are correct (depending on which state you live in). The Red Cross no longer pays for blood and we should have said so. Thanks for correcting us.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 7.25.08