Dear Annie: “Audrey” and I have been together for 21 years, married for 16. The past couple of years, however, have been stressful.
While camping with friends, I walked into our RV to see Audrey half-naked with another man. She told me she was just flashing him. A few months later, I was working out of town, and when I called home, Audrey just happened to be cutting that same guy’s hair at her home salon. She told me he had already left, but I heard him coughing in the background. I called a friend, who checked our driveway and discovered this guy’s truck parked there. It was still there at midnight.
When I confronted them separately, they both gave me the same story: He got his hair cut and went home at 9:30.
Once I told them I knew better, they both protested that nothing happened. The next time I was out of town for work, I came home to find a man’s sweatshirt in our laundry. Audrey denied knowing whose shirt it was.
We have been in counselling both separately and jointly.
I seem to be the only one who wants this marriage to work. Audrey goes to bars and concerts without me. She usually springs these events on me at the last minute, so it is hard to find a babysitter and one of us has to stay home — me.
I have forgiven Audrey for everything, although I haven’t forgotten. When do you know it’s time to throw in the towel? — Stressed Out in Wisconsin
Dear Stressed: We think Audrey already bought new towels. She doesn’t seem to have much interest in behaving like a married woman. You have children, so it’s worth the effort to get back into counselling and see if you can do anything to effect change. But sorry to say, without Audrey’s co-operation, it doesn’t sound promising.
Dear Annie: My friend “Jenna” is a homebody. We are in our early 20s, and she avoids bars and clubs. All get-togethers must be planned well in advance, and she often cancels at the last minute. But I’ve always been respectful of her preferences.
Recently, we planned a dinner with a friend we hadn’t seen in months. An hour before, Jenna texted me and cancelled, saying she “didn’t feel like it.” I tried to convince her to change her mind, but she would not budge. I was furious and hung up.
A month went by and I sent her an email telling her I was hurt by her last-minute cancellation and because she didn’t call to apologize.
She insists I am wrong for trying to convince her to do something she didn’t want to do, and then hanging up on her. Any thoughts? — Ditched in Montreal
Dear Montreal: Neither of you handled this well. Not everyone is Miss Social, but repeatedly canceling plans at the last minute is more anxiety than preference. Jenna sounds as if she may be developing some agoraphobia, which can become worse over time. Please be a good friend and talk to her about this. For information, contact the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (adaa.org), 8730 Georgia Ave., Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “Ill and Lonely,” who is battling cancer and feels abandoned by her friends and relatives. I hope they will step up and support her, but sometimes this just doesn’t happen, and I am writing about an alternative.
I belong to a marvelous organization called Chemo Angels, whose purpose is to bring support and cheer to people undergoing chemo.
A volunteer is paired with someone struggling with cancer treatments. The program is free, and there is no obligation to maintain contact. — Angel Carin
Dear Carin: Thank you for the recommendation. Interested readers can check out Chemo Angels (chemoangels.net) at P.O. Box 1971, Julian, CA 92036.
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.