Dear Annie: Thirty years ago, my husband had a long-term affair.
At the time, he was 30, and she was 16.
He planned to leave me, and our two young children, but he changed his mind and supposedly broke off the affair.
Last year, I found out he had a daughter with this woman. The girl is now 17.
Four months ago, I came home from a short trip to discover he had moved out because he wants to spend more time with his daughter.
I told him I would welcome the girl into our family, but he said he no longer wants to be married.
He refuses to let me meet his daughter, who now lives with him in his newly renovated home.
Our own children want nothing to do with him, and he doesn’t understand why.
He still stops by for breakfast and coffee most mornings and often comes over for lunch or in the evening to visit.
Do you think he will eventually come back to me, or should I tell him to get lost so I can move on with my life? — Frazzled
Dear Frazzled: Your husband has a set-up that works for him — free meals and visits with his wife, and none of the responsibilities. He has no reason to change it.
You cannot make him behave the way you wish, so if this arrangement works for you, fine.
Otherwise, we recommend a legal separation until you figure out what is in your best interest.
You don’t have to rush into divorce. One step at a time.
Dear Annie: I recently married my longtime boyfriend.
My father-in-law is fun to be around and loves to be the life of the party. The problem is, every other word out of his mouth takes the Lord’s name in vain.
I cringe every time I hear it and don’t understand why he swears so much in this particular way. I’ve tried telling him nicely that I don’t like cursing, but nothing seems to make a dent. Any suggestions? — Not a Fan of Cursing
Dear Not a Fan: Dad has a bad habit that will be difficult to break, particularly if he isn’t willing to try. Ask your husband to tell his father that you are very sensitive to the swearing, and suggest he try to substitute less offensive words when you are around.
You also could employ a sense of humour and exaggeratedly cover your ears and look shocked when Dad swears so he notices when he’s doing it.
We can’t guarantee it will help, but at least you will have registered your disapproval.
Dear Annie: Like “Adopted Child,” I, too, was adopted as an infant. At the age of 25, I had some medical issues, so I called the home that handled my adoption to see whether I could get some medical information.
It turned out my biological mother was looking for me. Although my parents were not happy about my contacting her, I did it anyway. For five years, I thought we had a good relationship. But apparently, my birth mother blamed me for ruining her life.
She purposefully got pregnant to trap my biological father into marriage, but he wouldn’t do it. I was born with a birth defect caused either by a beating he gave her or her attempts to abort me. The defect was repaired at birth, but I carry a hideous scar as a constant reminder that someone wanted me dead. Worse, my biological mother lied to help my ex-husband gain custody of my daughters during our divorce, because she wanted me to suffer the loss of a child as she did.
Meeting this woman was the biggest mistake of my life. Adopted children should be content with the parents who raised them. — Another Adopted Child
Dear Another: Your story is horrific, but fortunately, it’s not typical. Frankly, your biological mother sounds mentally ill. We are sorry you had to go through such heartbreak.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.