Dear Annie: I have been married for 36 years. Eight months ago, I learned that my husband had been calling other women, one in particular, for the past two years. The calls included text messages and pictures.
The woman he was mostly in touch with is someone I know. She is married. My husband would call her multiple times, and each call would last nearly an hour. In addition, they would text each other 40 times during the day.
My husband refuses to explain why he started calling her and will not tell me what they talked about. This has led to some terrible fights. I don’t know what to do. I love my husband very much and was devastated to learn about these calls.
He says they did not have a sexual affair, and I want to believe him. I have gone to counseling. He went once, but when the counselor asked him to talk about the phone calls, he became angry and stomped out. I suggested going to a different counselor, but he says he doesn’t need to.
I have forgiven him, but I am haunted by images of them together. I would like him to respect our marriage enough to tell me the truth, but I have no idea how to get him to open up. Am I being too demanding?
— Lost in the Country
Dear Lost: You are not wrong. Your husband doesn’t want to take responsibility for his affair (physical or emotional) and has made you believe that you are not entitled to the truth. But he has an obligation to be completely transparent about his motives and behavior. Since he refuses counseling, please continue on your own and work through this in whatever way is best for you.
Dear Annie: I am really concerned about my husband. He became unemployed at the beginning of this year when we were expecting our second child.
Right now, he is selling cars to get by, but the hours are brutal, and the pay is inconsistent. He went back to school to study computers and network security and applied for a job with a computer company. This is an exciting opportunity for him.
The company asked to schedule an interview. My husband told them he is busy this time of year, but would be available as soon as he has next month’s schedule and can check the dates. He left his cellphone number for them to contact him, and now we are just waiting. It has only been a few days, but I am so stressed about this. By saying he was busy, did he take himself out of the running for an interview?
— Mrs. Concerned
Dear Concerned: No. Your husband shousld call the company as soon as he knows his schedule. The fact that he is busy with another job could actually work in his favor. There is, of course, a possibility that the company will hire someone else in the meantime, but that could have happened regardless. Concentrate your thoughts on a positive outcome. Good luck.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Kids First,” who took a cruise with her in-laws. She was upset when she had to leave and discovered that her husband and in-laws went out drinking and took the 12- and 14-year-olds along to watch. I think she should lighten up.
These were adults having a good time on vacation. Also, these kids are not toddlers. If Mom sits down and talks to her children about her feelings, they will learn to be responsible. She shouldn’t shield them from life.
Dear D.: We agree that the best way to teach your children to hold fast to the moral standards you set is to teach and explain, not avoid and shield. But it helps when those relatives and friends the children look up to do not deliberately undermine the parents.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. 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. 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.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.