Dear Annie: My husband, “Jonas,” and I own a small antique store that we have successfully operated for five years.
We have no kids and have always been very close. However, for the past two months our love life has been a little rocky. Jonas has not shown any interest in sex even though I have given him every opportunity. Of course, we both have two full-time jobs with the antique shop on the side, so there’s not much time for intimacy.
We recently hired extra help at the shop so we’d have more time together. One day last week, I walked in after hours and heard noises coming from the upstairs storage area. When I bravely investigated with a baseball bat, I opened the door and, to my horror, saw my husband and the recently hired stock boy having sex. When Jonas saw me standing there, he had nothing to say.
Annie, I am distraught but still in love with him. Jonas and I went for counseling, but he stopped after two sessions, saying there was no problem. I continued on my own. I have confronted him about the incident, and he says he doesn’t know why he did it. I recently moved into our guest bedroom and have been avoiding Jonas until I can find a way to forgive him. In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined this. We’ve been married 20 years. Should I stay with him or get a divorce? Could this mean he is homosexual? — Distraught and in Love
Dear Distraught: Yes, Jonas could be homosexual. At the very least, he’s bisexual and his attraction to men is not likely to disappear. Since you don’t know how many extramarital encounters Jonas has had, please get checked for STDs. Then ask him once again to go with you for counselling, and if he refuses, we hope you will keep seeking help. You have some tough decisions ahead.
Dear Annie: My dear friend “Susan” wants to come visit me this summer and stay for two weeks. The problem is, Susan is such a chatterbox that I don’t think I can even take two days of her.
I know this sounds harsh, but I don’t want her visit to be miserable for me. The thing is, she never used to talk so incessantly when we were younger. Should I say something or just keep my mouth shut? — Stressed About Summer
Dear Stressed: You are not obligated to host Susan for two weeks if it’s more than you can take. It’s perfectly OK to say, “I’d love to have you, but I can only spare a few days.” Since her constant talking is a recent development, you also might gently inquire whether she’s seen her doctor lately, is depressed or lonely, or is suffering from a hearing loss and covering it up with a multitude of words.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Florida Sister,” whose brother managed to get his hands on the family heirlooms. I applaud your efforts to encourage the siblings to talk before taking legal action. Although courts are equipped to declare “winners” and “losers,” all will lose money over the fight, and the family bonds may be lost forever just by taking the brother to court.
Another option is help from a professional mediator, trained and experienced in the process. Mediation can be very useful in a situation like the one described. If a family has little or no money, a community mediation center might help. Otherwise, people can get advice about how to select a mediator from the Association for Conflict Resolution, an international professional organization at acrnet.org/referrals. — Jane Beddall, M.A., J.D., Connecticut
Dear Jane Beddall: Thank you for the suggestion and information. Mediation can often resolve such issues without necessitating a legal battle.
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.