Don’t keep family secrets – destroy them

Please advise your readers not to hold onto any letters that contain family information or intimate details of a relationship that should remain secret.

Dear Annie: Please advise your readers not to hold onto any letters that contain family information or intimate details of a relationship that should remain secret.

I was cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house after her death and came upon letters addressed to “My dearest wife and son,” written while my father-in-law was away at war.

As I started to read, it was immediately evident that the letter was intended for his wife’s eyes only, as it contained not only graphic intimate details, but also some family information that was the opposite of what my husband had been told all his life.

Thankfully, I was able to destroy the letters before my grieving husband saw them, as he would have been traumatized by their content.

I am sure his mother never wanted anyone to read what I found.

Please, readers, don’t do this to your loved ones.

Remember, one day someone will be going through all your private correspondence. — Shocked in Missouri

Dear Shocked: We, too, are shocked that you took it upon yourself to decide what your husband was allowed to see and what he was capable of handling.

It would depend a great deal on the information. If, for example, the letter said your husband was the product of an affair, he is entitled to know his genetic background.

On the other hand, if the letter said Daddy regretted having a son, we can understand your desire to destroy it.

It might have been better to put those letters aside until some time had passed and then tell your husband you found some disturbing information, letting him decide whether to read them or not.

Dear Annie: I’m a 48-year-old female and have been dating a 52-year-old man for over a year.

“Jed” has yet to say he loves me. He says he likes me a lot and I’m his “baby.”

I see him every Saturday, we e-mail twice a day and he calls every night.

I’ve never been married, though I’ve been in several long-term relationships and am still friends with the exes.

Jed has been divorced three times and has an adult daughter.

He only gets along with the most recent ex-wife.

Jed is very loving when I see him, but sometimes I feel hollow after — like I’m the dessert after a dinner date.

Sometimes he’s friendly, then quiet, and occasionally he won’t call.

How do I find out where I stand? When I ask, he blows it off.

He told me his ex wants him back, but he’s not interested. But he’ll go over to her house to help her out occasionally. What do you think? — Third Wheel in California

Dear Third Wheel: The actual words don’t matter as much as his actions. A year is long enough to feel secure in the relationship.

If you feel “hollow” after a date, it does not speak well for the dynamic between you.

Either accept things as they are or move on.

Dear Annie: I think you’re the one who “fluffied” your answer to “Stunk Out, Turned Off and Not Laughing,” whose husband passes gas at the kitchen table.

He is being disrespectful of his wife’s feelings and then blames her for not accepting his boorish behaviour.

You said she can “make it an issue he will understand,” but she has told him repeatedly that it makes him less attractive.

He understands. He sounds immature, controlling and nasty.

Why should she leave the room? He should scoot his smelly bottom somewhere else (preferably the bathroom) and leave the kitchen table as a place to enjoy a meal. — Respected Wife in Woodland, Calif.

Dear Woodland: It is indeed disrespectful, but you can’t force someone else to behave as you wish.

You can, however, “encourage” them to modify the behaviour.

Some men think passing gas is hilarious. Telling him he’s less attractive is not as effective as walking away when he wants attention. He will get that message much quicker.

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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