Dear Annie: I have been married to Jerry for 38 years. I have endured much pain, verbal abuse and humiliation.
He has had affairs, stolen from my parents when they were ill and continues to spend my hard-earned money on other women.
All he does is take from everyone, doing nothing to help out financially or otherwise.
I have forgiven him for all these things and thought we could have a normal marriage if I kept trying to make things work.
But the more time that passes, the worse he treats me. He talks down to me and has taught our son to do the same.
I’m at my wits’ end. I’ve been going to counseling for quite some time, and my counselor tells me Jerry is a classic cheater.
I’ve always ignored the rumors, but I guess I’m the laughingstock of our community. Jerry refuses to go to counseling, saying I am the problem.
He tells people I’m no wife to him and never was, even though I cook, clean, do his laundry and whatever else he wants, on top of being the breadwinner. What does he want from me? How much am I supposed to take? — Contemplating Divorce in the Midwest
Dear Midwest: Jerry wants you to take whatever he throws at you, but, honey, you don’t have to keep doing it. After 38 years, he’s not likely to change.
It will be difficult to extricate yourself from this emotionally abusive marriage, but we assume your son is grown and you are financially independent. Discuss the possibilities with your counselor and work on ways to liberate yourself. You deserve better.
Dear Annie: Is it appropriate for people to brush their teeth in a public restroom? I was at the bowling alley the other day and noticed a woman brushing her teeth in the sink of the ladies’ room. At first I thought she worked there, but I later noticed she was bowling, just like me.
I would never dream of using a public bathroom to brush. It does not seem very sanitary, and I did not like the idea of her spitting in the sink next to me as I washed my hands.
Are there rules of etiquette that apply to this? —Just Wondering in Indiana
Dear Indiana: Brushing one’s teeth and other forms of personal hygiene are best done in private.
There are times when it is necessary to use a public facility (e.g., just arriving at the airport on the red-eye and heading directly for a business meeting). This, however, doesn’t seem to be one of those cases.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from A Teen In Need and wanted to thank you for recommending RAINN. It is an incredible organization that helped me deal with the fallout of my daughter’s rape.
I am also a member of their speakers bureau, which has given me the opportunity to help others learn how to assist victims of rape.
I would like to address one area you skipped in your response.
Teen stated that she was pregnant and didn’t know how to address being called names and feeling completely unsupported.
I am an executive director of a pregnancy centre. Our centre, as well as others throughout the United States, works with completely nonjudgmental eyes.
Wherever these women are, emotionally and physically, we help them realize they are not alone. An unplanned pregnancy is a very difficult situation to face. Add the deep trauma of a rape onto that and it can understandably seem impossible.
— Someone Who Cares
Dear Someone: Thank you for the compassionate recommendation. We hope she will follow through.
Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.