Dear Annie: I am in my early 50s and have been married for 34 years.
My husband is the only man I have ever been with. For years, I put up with his cheating because I was concerned about my children and our financial future. Now the kids are grown and can take care of themselves.
My husband has been with his current lover for almost three years. Initially, I let it go, but then he started treating me even worse than before. He would get angry if I went anywhere, but would never join me, so I stopped going out. Then he cut me off from any access to our money. I now have to ask him for whatever I need, and he gets to decide if I can have it or not. He also told me I can no longer open the mail.
I started to check up on him and keep track of his phone calls. It took a while, but I was finally able to get undeniable proof of his affair. This is the part I can’t deal with: His lover is his first cousin. I’m so tired of living like this. I think I know what to do, but would like asn objective opinion. I have no friends to ask, so please help me. — Suffering in the South
Dear Suffering: Aside from the history of marital infidelity, your husband is also guilty of abuse. Isolating you and controlling all the household money are key indicators.
Your children are grown. It’s time to get out of this mess of a marriage. Start by documenting his treatment of you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), and then talk to a lawyer.
Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old girl, and I think there might be something wrong with me. My moods change frequently, sometimes at the drop of a hat. I feel lonely a lot, and little things can drop me into a depression.
Recently, I’ve felt depressed again and was wondering what I’m supposed to do. I’ve never told my parents about this.
I once attempted to tell my friends, but they brushed off my pain and focused on their own problems.
I don’t know if I should tell my parents. I don’t want them to think I’m crazy or trying to get attention. What do I do? — Detroit, Mich.
Dear Detroit: A certain amount of moodiness in teenagers can be attributed to hormonal changes, which are common and no cause for alarm. However, when mood swings lead to severe depression, it can be a problem. Please talk to your parents. Ask them to make an appointment for you to see your doctor and discuss your concerns and rule out any serious issues. You also can talk to your school counsellor or nurse when classes start up again.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your response to “Numb in Nevada,” whose son and daughter-in-law cut off contact with the grandchild. “Numb” sounds like a woman with a sense of entitlement.
Without the slightest knowledge of what the writer’s wrongdoings were or of the conditions placed on reconciliation, you sided with the letter writer. Maybe the son finally has developed some “spine” and is standing up to a mother who clearly feels her economic clout entitles her to dominate the daughter-in-law.
The whole incident was started because “Numb” ignored a clearly expressed wish that she not show up at the hospital. She sounds like the mother-in-law from hell. — F.G.
Dear F.G.: She may be, but she still doesn’t deserve to be cut off from her son and grandchild. The son was the one who invited Mom to see the baby. Mom did not, in fact, see the girlfriend at all or interfere with the bonding process (the original requirement), so there was no reason for such an extreme reaction.
Grandparents sometimes overstep and need to accept boundaries. But the boundaries should be fair and should not deprive the grandchild of a family member’s love.
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.