Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 26 years. “Cliff” had a midlife crisis after seeing photographs of himself at our daughter’s wedding. I knew he took the aging process hard, and I tried to help him through it. But then I discovered he was seeing another woman. She’s been married three times and has cheated on all of her husbands. Her bed wasn’t even cold when she started seeing Cliff.
I had an emotional breakdown, which put me in the hospital. Through counseling and supportive friends, I got my life back on track and have accepted the end of my marriage. I filed for divorce, went back to school and changed my career.
Meanwhile, Cliff has put up every roadblock possible. He canceled a settlement hearing and then asked me to reconsider getting divorced — not because he loves me, mind you, but for financial reasons. He did say, however, that he made a huge mistake and realizes how good he had it with me.
Cliff is living with his girlfriend and her two teenage daughters, which he can’t handle. He admits there is no future with her, but is confused. He knows I still love him, but I refuse to share him with another woman. How can he believe he can have his cake and eat it, while expecting the one who was loyal, humiliated and hurt to endure it?
I don’t believe Cliff is sincere in wanting to be with me. I think it’s about the money. I am scared to start over at 48, but I can do it and hope in time to stop loving him. Taking him back would be throwing away all I’ve gained. But I’m torn. Should I try to save this marriage? — Confused in Indiana
Dear Indiana: Some men who go through a midlife crisis learn to appreciate what they left and return to their very forgiving wives. But Cliff is still living with his girlfriend, which sends a clear message that he is not ready to make a commitment to you and may never be. You have made yourself strong enough to be happy without him. It’s time to let him go.
Dear Annie: Two months ago, the guy I loved died in an accident. I’ve been really depressed ever since and have become scared of the dark. My friends and family members are being supportive, but I don’t want to overburden them.
Actually, I don’t know what hurt more — his death or finding out at the funeral that there was someone else in his life. I’m back in school and can’t function. Any advice? — Still Hurting
Dear Still: Your reactions are completely normal for someone who is going through the grieving process. It might help for you to speak to a counselor at your school, or ask at any hospital if they offer grief counseling. Our condolences.
Dear Annie: You told “Crowded by the Ex” that it was “over the top” for the ex-wife to see “Crowded’s” husband off at the airport. But apparently it’s OK for the ex to drop off birthday gifts and visit her former in-laws in their home. That is nuts!
The man is basically enjoying the company of two wives. If he is such good friends with the ex, why did they get a divorce? I don’t blame “Crowded” for being upset. Being friendly to an ex-wife on neutral turf is one thing. Welcoming her into your home is another. Get real. — Omaha
Dear Omaha: We were surprised at the amount of hostility directed toward ex-wives. Many ex-spouses are friends, especially if they have children together. It’s a healthier relationship than being adversaries. Dropping off a birthday gift once a year and stopping by to see visiting former in-laws don’t seem excessively intrusive to us, but a great many readers assumed the ex had ulterior motives. Perhaps so.
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, 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 10.25.10