Dear Annie: My wife and I are having marital problems. Our issues started when I caught her lying to me and talking privately on the phone to my best friend of 12 years — the same guy who was the best man at my wedding. After arguing for a few days, I asked her to make a sincere effort to go for counseling, and she agreed. I also asked her to stop speaking to my friend during the time we are trying to repair our marriage. She agreed to that, too.
However, this guy messages her on Facebook, and she still reads his comments. We went to our first counseling session, and I felt it went well. But when we got home, I realized that she was having doubts. She finally said she had not been in love with me for five years.
Annie, we have a beautiful 16-month-old baby girl. I want to repair our marriage for our child’s sake, as well as for us. What should I do? Can marriage counseling help if there’s no love? — Dying in New York
Dear New York: Marriage counseling can help if there once was love that can be recaptured, or if both parties are dedicated to making the marriage work. A compatible marriage doesn’t necessarily require passion for each other, only a commitment to the stability of the relationship. But you cannot do it alone. Please continue with counseling. If your wife wants to work on the marriage, she will come along and make the necessary effort. But if she is unwilling, the counselor will help you forge your own path.
Dear Annie: Would you please define “immediate family”? My granddaughter is getting married in May. She is inviting “immediate family only,” thus excluding my daughter (her aunt) and my daughter-in-law’s sister.
This is going to cause a lot of hurt feelings and might even create a split in the family. I am invited, but not my male friend of 14 years. I have talked to my son, the father of the bride, but he does not want to get involved.
Our side of the family is not as large as the groom’s. My ex-husband (the grandfather) will not be attending. Why can’t my daughter take his place? What about my daughter’s husband? My relationship with my granddaughter is very close, so I don’t understand this, and it’s causing tremendous stress. Please advise. — Gram
Dear Gram: “Immediate family” refers to the bridal couple’s parents and siblings. (If the bride and groom have children, they would also be part of the immediate family.) Grandparents are usually included as “immediate family,” but not aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws or other relatives. Your companion of 14 years should be invited because the two of you are an established couple. If your daughter is invited, her husband should be, as well.
Your granddaughter gets to determine her side of the wedding list. Although we understand how painful this is for you, as long as ALL aunts, uncles and cousins are excluded, it is equitable.
Dear Anne: The replies to “Your Husband,” who made excuses for his extramarital adventures, left out a third option besides suffering with no sex and having affairs. Masturbation can keep those guys who feel they will die of frustration from wandering.
I used to think of masturbation as cheating on my wife, but no longer. After 50 years, we are still partners in every other way, and we still hold hands in bed. I am not looking for a replacement “as long as we both shall live.” — Old Codger
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.