Dear Annie: My husband of nine years was married to his first wife for 30 years when she left him for another woman. She apparently was a lesbian, but he had no knowledge of it until their marriage fell apart.
His two adult kids blame him for the divorce. They also blame me because I married him a year after the divorce was final. We both have been treated shamefully by his children. My husband was totally ignored by his son on Father’s Day, and the year before, neither child acknowledged him.
I am sick of seeing how much this depresses my husband, yet I can say nothing to these self-centered “adults” about it. I have offered to step out of the family to bring peace, but my husband says no. Please help. — Heartsick in Vermont
Dear Vermont: Try to understand that these kids are hurting, and they aren’t mature enough to deal with their anger and sadness in a healthy way. There is nothing you can do about it other than be very patient and let your husband know how much you love and appreciate him. Please continue to reach out to these children when the opportunity presents itself. We hope they will come around.
Dear Annie: My wife’s 35th high school reunion is coming up. I was trying to think of a reason to get out of attending. But before I could come up with one, she told me I shouldn’t bother to go. She said she’d be with her two out-of-state girlfriends the entire time and I’d be bored silly.
I happen to know that only one of those girlfriends is attending the reunion, and she has a brother-in-law who graduated in that class and will be there, as well. My wife is gaga over this guy. She doesn’t know that I’ve seen how excited she is to open his Facebook messages on the reunion site. She doesn’t open anyone else’s.
I asked my wife if there was someone else she wanted to see, and she became angry and defensive. Instead of telling me to come with her and see for myself, however, she said, “Fine, I won’t go.”
I feel she is hiding something. What’s your take? — Unconvinced in Chicago
Dear Unconvinced: Reunions where classmates get together without spouses have been known to trigger affairs that otherwise would never have happened. Here’s our take: Your wife has a crush on this guy. She’d like to flirt with him and would be more comfortable doing it without you. But she isn’t willing to risk her marriage for the chance. Our advice is to attend the reunion with your wife, and be charming and personable. Let her see the other guy and get it over with so she isn’t resentful and you aren’t wondering “what might have been” for the rest of your life.
Dear Annie: My heart ached when I read the letter from “Washington,” who said after years of neglect by her husband, the feelings are gone. She is me.
I spent years trying to make my husband understand that communication is part of the intimacy of making love. It’s not watching a ballgame seven nights a week and then expecting to have sex. We tried counseling and Marriage Encounter. But my husband told me it was too much work, which meant I wasn’t worth the effort.
So, after 33 years, I gave up the fight. Our marriage died, and he let it. We do things together, but live like roommates. I miss being loved, but can’t bring myself to cheat. It’s too late to rekindle any romance. Counseling won’t help me, because there is nothing to fix. Everything is gone.
Instead of being lonely and depressed, I’ve made a life without him. I travel with my friends and have my own interests. I hope Washington does the same. She tried to make her marriage work, but it takes two. — New York
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.