Dear Annie: After 29 years in a rocky marriage, my husband had an affair with an employee that led to their living together for seven months. When he came home, he felt there was no need to discuss anything, saying it was out of his system, water under the bridge and that I was to get over it. That was six years ago.
This was hardly my husband’s first affair, but the real problem is, the woman still works for him and won’t go away. For years now, I have been unsuccessfully trying to “get over” her buying him clothes and calling him at home every day and twice on weekends. They discuss everything from what’s on television to projects he can help with at her house. She comes over when I am not home. When he broke his arm last year, she was his first phone call from the hospital.
My husband considers this woman his friend and insists he is just helping her out. He goes to her house to visit her friends when they are in town. He treats her like his best buddy and wants me to stay out of it. They go on out-of-town trips together, often passing through his mother’s town where they stop and visit. The woman takes gifts to my mother-in-law, who likes her, even though she knows everything.
I want this woman out of our lives. At the very least, I want her to stop buying his clothes. I have asked him to refuse her gifts, but he says he tells her if she is out shopping and sees any deals, to buy them. Please give me your advice. — Lost Wife
Dear Wife: Wake up, honey. Your husband is still having an affair — emotionally, if not sexually. Some women are willing to put up with cheating husbands, in which case, there’s no point complaining about the clothes. However, we hope you will consider counseling — for yourself — to help get a better handle on the situation and make some decisions about your future.
Dear Annie: Let me start off by saying I keep a very clean house. I have a relative who comes to visit and refuses to eat here. “Aunt Alice” brings her own bottled water and tea bags and usually declines any offer of refreshment, saying she’s either eaten already or plans to stop for dinner on her way home.
During a recent family emergency, Aunt Alice stayed overnight. I bought her a loaf of her favorite bread, but she didn’t touch it, saying, “I never eat bread.” I also left her a bottle of the wine she always orders when she’s out. She didn’t open it and told me, “I don’t drink that brand.” That’s so lame. She must think I’m an idiot.
Aunt Alice makes me feel like my house is contaminated. I wonder if she does this with other people or if I’m the only one. What gives? — Driving Me Crazy
Dear Driving Me Crazy: Aunt Alice may have a germ phobia and behave this way with everyone, but the only way to know is to ask her. Say, “Aunt Alice, I love you dearly, but I’ve noticed you won’t accept any food or drink at my house. It makes me sad. Is there a problem?” If she won’t open up, stop trying to figure it out and deal with her as she is. She can’t help herself.
Dear Annie: Your answer to “Sleep Deprived in Oregon” was right on. She said her husband suffered from back pain, leaving her to get up every night with their 4-month-old baby.
I’d like to add one additional thought. I am a physical therapist and have been treating back patients for over 30 years. I believe if her husband has the physical ability to make babies, there is no reason he can’t share in the care of that baby. — Just My Professional Opinion in Greensboro, N.C.
Dear Professional Opinion: You aren’t the only physical therapist who shares this opinion. Thanks to all who wrote.
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 1.3.08