Husband of one year a two-time cheater

Our 25-year-old daughter and her husband, “Buddy,” are having marital problems. “Kristen” told me things weren’t right between them, and I recently found out Buddy has been cheating.

Dear Annie: Our 25-year-old daughter and her husband, “Buddy,” are having marital problems. “Kristen” told me things weren’t right between them, and I recently found out Buddy has been cheating.

They have been married only a year. He’s on his second affair, although he says this woman is “just a friend.”

He likes to “hang out” at the other woman’s house, and when Kristen said she wasn’t comfortable with that, he didn’t care and went anyway.

Kristen found out that when she was on a business trip, this woman stayed in their house.

Buddy doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that. They want to work things out, and my daughter told him in order to do that he needs to drop all contact with this woman, but he refuses. He said he deleted her phone number from his cell, but Kristen checked and discovered that he simply listed her phone number under another name.

Kristen asked him to see a marriage counsellor with her, but he won’t go. He says they can work this out on their own. I told Kristen that if he won’t go, she should. What else can I tell her besides the obvious? — Yours Truely

Dear Yours: Kristen should think long and hard about staying with someone who doesn’t understand or care about his obligations as a husband. A man who cheats twice within the first year of marriage is not likely to change his ways on his own. But you are right that your daughter can benefit from counselling with or without Buddy. We hope she will take your advice.

Dear Annie: My husband and I are retired. “Freddie” is quite helpful around the house repairing things, but he has no male friends he can hang out with, so he spends most of his time watching TV.

Whenever I try to start a conversation, he belittles me, makes fun of me and says I never accomplished anything, even though I worked a full-time job for decades while raising four children. Everything has to go his way, and I must agree with whatever he says. Nothing I do is good enough.

Freddie has a very short fuse, and all of our conversations seem to end with an argument. I’m always walking on eggshells.

Of course, whenever we go out with my women friends, he is extremely attentive and pleasant to them.

He even had the nerve to ask me which of my friends would be most suitable for him. He likes to buy little things for my friends, yet pleads poverty when it’s time for my birthday.

I don’t think I can take any more. For my own sanity, it’s time for a change. What is your advice? — Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: Some men, once they retire, become depressed and need to prove that they are still desirable and valued. Freddie flirts with your friends because their attention boosts his ego. Belittling you makes him feel superior.

Try to get him active in organizations that will value his skills and experience. Check your local community center, church, YMCA, park district, hospitals and schools, and find out how Freddie can volunteer his services.

Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for “On Strike” to help everyone in the family contribute to the work at a family gathering.

My mother would write up various jobs on index cards, with tasks divided according to child and adult levels.

When you arrived, you picked a card. It was a given: Everybody contributed in some shape or form, everyone enjoyed the event because it was a group effort, and we all showed appreciation for everyone else for doing their part. — Miss Those Big Family Gatherings in Ohio

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