How do I get over the past?

have known my husband for nine years, and we’ve been married for the past three. Unfortunately, it has not been a stellar relationship.

Dear Annie: I have known my husband for nine years, and we’ve been married for the past three.

Unfortunately, it has not been a stellar relationship.

My husband has a mental health problem that he dealt with by abusing drugs, which resulted in physical, emotional, mental and financial abuse toward me.

We are now separated.

To his credit, my husband is receiving counselling and attending support groups, and has been put on proper medication for his mental health issues.

He is no longer abusing drugs. I am also in therapy to deal with the trauma and hurt.

My husband would like to work things out, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again, let alone go back to someone who caused me so much pain.

My question is, would it be safe, after receiving proper help, to return to him? If so, how do I get over the past?

It’s only been six weeks since we separated, and healing doesn’t seem possible.

I still love my husband, but I don’t think that’s enough.

I’ve brought this up in therapy, but have not come to any conclusions. Have others been in similar situations, and has it worked out for them? — Arizona

Dear Arizona: If your marital problems stemmed from your husband’s drug abuse, and if the underlying causes have been addressed and drugs are no longer an issue, there is hope for your relationship.

Naturally, you cannot simply assume he’s better. You will have to see him in action over a longer period of time, so please don’t rush into any decisions.

Get to know him again, and take your time.

We are sure our readers will weigh in with their own experiences, and we will print the best ones.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have different interests, but we are generally happy as a couple. One of our differences is politics.

My problem is, my husband receives political emails from one particular friend whom I dislike and whose political views are very one-sided and abhorrent to me. My husband then forwards these emails to others.

I guess I shouldn’t even read them, but I do, and then I get upset. My husband says to get over it.

I’ve signed up for a different mailbox, but it seems inconvenient.

What do you think? — Offended in Oklahoma

Dear Offended: We think your husband is entitled to open whatever e-mails he chooses, and you should have your own mailbox so you stop becoming upset over his friends’ political views. (And vice versa.)

It may be inconvenient, but it is practical and will avoid unnecessary arguments.

Dear Annie: I’ve noticed that when someone writes you about an office problem, you often recommend contacting the human resources department.

In most cases, that would not be my recommendation, especially in these times of layoffs and unemployment.

I am recently retired, but have some experience as a first-line manager for a large respected company.

Here is what typically happens: The employee has a problem of some kind and goes to HR expecting to get resolution.

HR then contacts a middle manager in this employee’s chain of command. HR expects the management team to resolve the situation and respond back to HR.

Many times, the management’s response is to be angry that someone “turned them in.” Maybe short range it might be resolved, but long range, as one middle manager used to say, “Sometimes the guillotine comes down slowly.”

My suggestion in most of these cases would be to try diplomatically to resolve the issue directly with the person they are having trouble with. — Been There, Experienced That

Dear Been There: We’re sure your experience is typical at some companies, but not all. Depending on the work-related problem, employees have limited options. They can put up with it, try to diplomatically resolve it (although that is not always effective), report it to HR or quit. Sometimes there is simply no “best” solution.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.