Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 11 years. We both were married twice before, and both of my ex-husbands left me for other women.
My husband recently re-established email, text and phone contact with his former fiance, who broke off their relationship nearly 20 years ago.
She is getting divorced, and he tells me he is “concerned” about her and “cares what happens to her.” I was upset about this and have let him know I will not tolerate it.
He said he would stop, but I discovered that he opened another email account and they have continued to communicate rather tenderly. She lives several states away, but I am convinced they are planning to get together when her divorce is final. He assures me this isn’t so, but has lied quite a bit already.
How can I believe what he says? How do I live with a man I love but no longer trust? — Worried Wife in Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: Your husband is not behaving in a trustworthy manner, so it is natural that you find it difficult to believe what he says. You have reason to be worried about the state of your marriage, and we recommend the two of you discuss this with the help of a professional.
Your husband must give up his friendship with the ex-fiance or, at the very least, make all contact transparent. Ask him to come with you to see a counsellor, who will make it clear that he is undermining the marriage. We hope it matters to him.
Dear Annie: My husband is fascinated by technology. When the iPhone first came out, “Todd” got one right away and has been devoted to it ever since. The problem is that he is constantly checking his e-mail, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Whenever I’m driving, Todd is online in the passenger seat. He uses his iPhone while we watch TV. He eats breakfast with it, brings it out at restaurants and uses it when we’re visiting family.
Every month, he goes out to dinner with some of his old friends, and one night I joined them. They said it was nice to have some adult conversation, because Todd is constantly on his phone.
Our eldest son has even told his father to stop “tap-tap-tapping” for a minute so he could talk to him.
When I point out his excessive online activity, Todd gets defensive, saying he’s looking stuff up for work, or that this is his way of having fun. I knew when I married him that he loved technology, but his obsession has gotten worse as the phones have gotten better.
I want my husband back. How do I get him to disengage from his phone and enjoy the time he spends in real life? — iPhone Widow
Dear Widow: Tell Todd that his phone has become an addiction, and ask him to compromise. Make a list of activities, and indicate when it is OK to use the phone and when it is not. Let him choose which times are most important to him, and then you pick what is important to you (e.g., when you’re driving, he can play with his phone; when you are eating a meal, he must turn it off). If Todd feels the process is fair, he may be more inclined to cooperate.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Don’t Know What To Believe” not to jump to the wrong conclusion. She was afraid her husband was cheating because his computer said “activated his profile” and “come find your partner.” Those phrases show up on my computer all the time.
It’s possible someone in my address book has activated his profile, and that information pops up in my inbox, but I just ignore it. If her husband said he has nothing to do with it, he is probably telling the truth. — K.G.
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.