Woman returns to abuse

A young co-worker came into the office last week with a horrible black eye.

Dear Annie: A young co-worker came into the office last week with a horrible black eye.

Her boyfriend had punched her in front of her young children and some of her friends.

She spent the entire workday worrying about the safety of her children and reading abusive text messages from the boyfriend.

I spent the day doing her share of the work and wondering what I would do if the boyfriend showed up.

She told me the friends called the police and they were looking for him.

That day, my co-worker vowed to never see the guy again, but they got back together.

I’m not going to ask for advice for her because she apparently isn’t listening to anyone.

What I’m wondering, Annie, is if you can help me deal with this girl. I know domestic violence is a complicated issue, but this seems black and white to me.

She’s in danger, and her children, even if they aren’t in physical danger, are learning some twisted lessons. I can barely stand to look at this young woman. Any advice? — Disgusted

Dear Disgusted: Those “complications” you mention can include the victim believing she deserves the treatment she is getting, thinking the boyfriend is the only one who will ever love her, and worrying that he may try to kill her if she leaves.

You cannot “rescue” this co-worker, but if you truly want to help, let her know she and her children deserve better, and encourage her to call the Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) (1-800-799-7233). We hope she will.

Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married 59 years.

Several years ago, our attorney advised putting everything except our house and my retirement investments into my wife’s name, which we did.

Right now, my only source of income is Social Security and the occasional withdrawal from my retirement account.

I use this money to pay our income taxes, all living expenses, including gas, phones, TV, auto, clothing, etc., and all real estate taxes except property my wife solely owns. My wife pays for nothing.

If she buys groceries and doesn’t use the credit card (which I pay), she puts the receipts on my desk and I reimburse her.

She uses her Social Security income to invest in stocks and bonds in her own name.

Is this the customary way for elderly people to divide income and expenses when their assets are roughly equal? — Feeling Pinched

Dear Pinched: Every couple works this out in their own way, and in many instances, if the husband has always been the main source of financial support, the wife would not anticipate a change.

Still, you obviously feel the arrangement is not equitable.

The two of you should discuss it honestly and work out a way to pool your resources, pay your bills and invest in mutually beneficial ways, while giving each of you an allowance for personal use.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dreamer,” whose husband is infatuated with a co-worker.

Eight years ago, our neighbour told my husband she was afraid of me. I couldn’t figure it out because I was always nice to her.

But if I said anything detrimental about her to my husband, he would defend her.

He no longer had any good words for me at all.

He criticized when he used to be supportive and kind. He blamed his lack of sex drive on his work.

It turned out the two of them were having a full-blown affair.

“Dreamer” might believe her husband is faithful, but she should look more closely.

I have been divorced for more than seven years and enjoy my life completely. My husband married the neighbour, and now all he does is complain about how stupid she is, and that she’s a rotten cook and he’s tired of eating cereal.

I must say, it’s very sweet to see “what goes around comes around.” — The Ex

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, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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