Dear Annie: What do you do when your husband controls the money? I’m 68 years old, and for the past 10 years, “Robert” has paid the bills and has hidden the checkbook from me.
Robert told me I need to pay my own bills. He has a retirement income, and he still works. I receive Social Security. I have always been thrifty, and although I have a debit card, I am only allowed to use it for necessary things like groceries. I pay for my clothes, haircuts, etc. I bought a new coat yesterday with my own money. Robert scolded me and told me to watch my spending.
Robert does not see how his controlling behavior affects me. Is coping all I can do?
— Craving Trust
Dear Craving: Controlling the finances can be a form of abuse. Hiding the checkbook also keeps you in the dark about where Robert’s money is going. There is no reason to tolerate such behavior. You are a full partner in this marriage and are entitled to see the checkbook, the bank statements and any other financial business that concerns you. If you are afraid of Robert’s reaction, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE.
Dear Annie: I’m in a quandary about my little girl. She believes her mom’s boyfriend is her father, but a DNA test proves that I am her true biological father. The boyfriend does not know, but just about everyone else does.
My daughter is now 6 years old, and I want to tell her the truth. Will I be doing more harm than good?
— Perplexed in Poughkeepsie
Dear Perplexed: If the little girl has a solid and loving relationship with the man she believes is her father, your sudden assumption of that role might be traumatizing for her. You also will be responsible for child support. However, if “everyone else” knows, it’s only a matter of time before the current boyfriend and your child learn the truth.
It is better if this information comes from her mother in a gentle and compassionate way, so Mom’s support is crucial in making this easier. Please ask the mother to come with you for mediation to see whether you can work on being a part of the child’s life. You can discuss it with your clergyperson or a trained counselor, or contact your local family court for a referral to a family mediation program.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “A Good Man Gone Celibate,” who has given up relationships because he can’t find any good women among the gold diggers, scheming manipulators, entitlement princesses, Toxic Thelmas and serial divorcees.
I don’t think it’s fair to blame all women for what is on the dating sites. Most of us are not like that. I own my own home and car and love the job I’ve had for 16 years. My kids are all grown and on their own. I have little drama in my life.
My girlfriends and I have been on most of these sites, and all we get are men who only want sex or those who want to marry you the first time they meet you. We are tired of this. It seems that most men don’t want to take the time to establish any kind of relationship that doesn’t end up in bed after a couple of hours of talking.
My profile says, “If you can carry a conversation for more than 10 minutes without using sexual innuendos or sending naked pictures, please contact me.” Needless to say, I don’t get a lot of contact.
I have been off and on these sites for six years. I, too, get frustrated and disgusted, but I will walk away for a while and come back with a different attitude. Also, Annie, if he takes your advice and chooses more wisely, he may find what he’s looking for.
— Lady with Morals
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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