Dear Annie: I dated “Tony” for a year before we married two years ago.
I thought I knew him, but shortly after the wedding, I discovered that everything about him was a lie. This included falsehoods about his financial situation, his family, his ex-wife, his children and his jobs. He lied about little things, big things, everything.
I have lost all trust in him. When I ask Tony why he deceived me, he goes into defense mode and says he did it to protect himself. He claims I only care about the money.
I feel trapped with a man I don’t know. Tony’s family realizes that we are having problems, but they are unaware of the lies. It would break their hearts. (He had me feeling sorry for him when he told me they were abusive — more lies.)
Should I stay or walk away? I care about Tony, but I am not in love with him any longer. — Married to a Fabricator
Dear Married: If Tony is a pathological liar, he needs therapy, but that works only if he recognizes the problem and is willing to get help. Offer him the opportunity to see a professional with experience in this area. If he refuses, we see no future for this relationship.
<b.Dear Annie: I am married to a nocturnal ninja. “Ralph” is quite active while sleeping. He flails about and kicks and punches. I’m a fairly sound sleeper, and we have a large bed, so until recently, this was only a minor annoyance.
However, while changing the bedding today, I discovered that Ralph has been ripping our expensive sheets to shreds with his toenails. Apparently the fabric had been worn thin from his nighttime dream marathons and kickboxing tournaments.
When I showed Ralph the sheets, he blamed the cat, but I assure you, no housecat could have caused this kind of damage. Ralph’s toenails are properly clipped, so I’m at a loss as to how to handle this. — Married to Edward Scissorfeet
Dear Married: (We love your signature.) Ralph could be suffering from parasomnia, a category of sleep disorders, and specifically, one that allows the sleeper to act out his dreams. It most commonly occurs in men over 50. You are lucky Ralph only tore the sheets. Some sufferers unintentionally cause harm to themselves or their partners.
Please urge Ralph to discuss this possibility with his doctor and, if necessary, get a referral to a sleep clinic for testing and appropriate treatment. Otherwise, we strongly recommend separate bedrooms. And sturdier sheets.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Heartbroken in Canada,” whose children ignore her on Mother’s Day. It moved me to tears.
I have not spoken to my mother for a year and haven’t seen her for two. Mom has always been very reserved, but in the past few years, she has become mean and hateful. Every communication turns into an excuse to criticize me. Forgiveness is a foreign concept to her.
My mother is 83 and widowed and often avoids people. Five years ago, she sent letters to my sister and me announcing that she would no longer be giving birthday gifts to us or to my niece, her only grandchild, because she needed to save her money. Fine. But she won’t even pick up the telephone to say “happy birthday.” Three years ago, when she knew I would be coming by, she refused to answer the doorbell or phone and finally screamed at me to leave.
I worry about her constantly, but I can’t call 911 every time she refuses to speak to me. Right now, she can handle her own affairs, but that could change at any time. — Heartbroken in Nebraska
Dear Nebraska: Your mother sounds difficult. Perhaps if you sent her this letter, it would help. And you can call Adult Protective Services if you think she is in danger. Otherwise, there isn’t much you can do.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.