Dear Annie: “Don” and I have been married for 43 years. I thought we had a good marriage, but my trust has been shaken recently.
Don retired four years ago. He told me a former co-worker, “Lulu,” had emailed to ask to meet for lunch and catch up on the latest office gossip. It sounded pretty innocent to me, so I had no objection. Then my world turned upside down.
Last week, I ran into another of Don’s ex-co-workers, who informed me that Don and Lulu had been having lunch together a few times a week for the past four years. He said their obvious attraction was well known at the office.
Annie, Don never once mentioned these lunches to me. When I asked him point blank, he became quite upset and said there was nothing going on. I said I wanted the lunches and emails to end. He replied that he won’t initiate contact, but if Lulu emails him, he will respond. I find this unacceptable. Yesterday, Don said Lulu invited him to the office picnic. He plans to go, but said I shouldn’t attend because I’d be bored to tears. I told him if he attended this picnic without me, I would have to consider my next step. He thinks I’m bluffing. My best friend says I didn’t come down hard enough. She thinks I should move out and then tell our children, who have always admired their father.
What is your take on all this, Annie? — Nervous Wife
Dear Nervous: Don doesn’t want you at the picnic because he wants to be with Lulu (assuming there actually is a picnic). You should insist on going with him. Whether this is an affair or just a flirtation, Don is showing appalling disregard for you. Out of respect for your marriage, he needs to stop all contact with Lulu immediately. Try not to bring the children into this mess. Your next step should be counselling. Tell Don the marriage is in serious trouble, and ask him to come with you. If he refuses, go without him and figure out what is best for you.
Dear Annie: A few weeks ago, my older sister invited my children and me on a day trip. She also invited a bunch of other people and family members.
On the day of the outing, she stopped by my house and asked me not to come. She told me she had invited my ex-boyfriend, a guy I had dated for seven years. We split up two years ago because he didn’t have the ability to remain faithful. My sister insists they are not dating, and that may be true, but it has really hurt me that she chose him over me. Knowing she had already invited my family, why would she ask him on the trip? She claims she did nothing wrong.
My sister has always been my best friend. I am so upset about this. How does our relationship recover? — Miss My Sis in Pennsylvania
Dear Miss: Your sister was both rude and inconsiderate. Regardless of what she says about not dating your ex-boyfriend, she is definitely interested in him. That may not be a wise move on her part, but she’ll have to learn the hard way. Tell her you are hurt, ask her not to do this again, and then try to forgive her.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Fed-Up Mom,” whose 18-year-old son refuses to brush his teeth. We had a similar experience.
The lack of hygiene turned out to be the first warning sign that our son had mental illness. It took several years for more symptoms to appear, and by then, he was over 21 and we could no longer force him to get treatment.
I suggest these parents check with their local NAMI chapter about what to watch for. — Another Mom
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.