Dear Annie: I have been married to “Rocky” for a year. We are in our mid-40s, and it’s a second marriage for both of us. We are so much in love, but Rocky is jealous and insecure.
I know he had a painful childhood and has emotional scars from his first marriage. (His ex-wife had several affairs.)
All this has left him with little trust. The problem is, I had an affair during my first marriage. It was only after years of neglect and a husband who refused to listen to me. Afterward, I felt so ashamed.
I learned a valuable lesson that cheating is never the answer, no matter how bad the circumstances.
I was upfront with Rocky about this when we met. I wanted a relationship built on total honesty.
But whenever Rocky is angry, he throws my past in my face, calls me names, claims I still have feelings for my ex and thinks I’m flirting with his co-workers.
He accuses me of checking out other men and talking to guys on the phone, even though he has access to my phone records and can see it’s not true.
Last month, I locked my keys in my car and had to wait an hour for the tow truck.
Rocky insists I secretly met someone and refuses to check out my story with the auto club.
Our arguing has gotten so bad that we have become physical. I admit I pushed him when he got in my face, called me a liar and worse, and accused me of things I’ve never done. We went for counseling, and it was suggested that we have individual counseling first. Rocky agreed, but we haven’t done it yet.
I love this man with all my heart and would never hurt him. How do I handle such an insecure person? I don’t want a divorce, but I don’t want to spend my life defending myself. — Tired of Living in the Past
Dear Tired: Rocky isn’t simply insecure. He shows signs of being a potential abuser. And if both of you are getting physical, the situation could escalate quickly. Unless Rocky recognizes that he has a problem and works on it, things will not improve.
It’s good that he is willing to get counseling, so take advantage of his pliability while you can. Get a referral immediately. Otherwise, get out.
Dear Annie: I would like to send a request to all grocery store managers, checkout clerks and baggers on behalf of all the little old ladies like myself.
Please do not overfill those reusable grocery bags. Most of them seem to have a capacity of about twice the usual plastic bag, which means that unless you are packing light items, they will be too heavy for many of us to lift.
I am not shy about asking to have them repacked, but that slows down the checkout line, which can be annoying for everybody. Thanks very much. — A Little Old Recycling Bag Lady in Arizona
Dear Arizona: Some people like to have those bags filled to the brim so they have fewer to carry. Smart baggers will ask the customers what their preference is before throwing everything in. But smart customers will tell the bagger in advance if they prefer their bags (recycled or otherwise) on the light side. Try it.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Unhappy Parents,” whose young daughter is bullied. Many years ago, my daughter had the same problem and this is what we did:
I taught her a humorous retort and made her repeat it over and over until she had it memorized with all the appropriate expressions and gestures.
The next time she was bullied, she said, “Your behavior is so needlessly aggressive and immature, I can only assume you are not a prime example of mental health.
You might consider counseling by a professional.” Mind you, this was in third grade.
The teacher was flabbergasted, the whole class stood still, and there was never any bullying in that class again. — A.H.
Dear A.H.: We are duly impressed — and glad it worked.
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.