Dear Annie: I’m in my 40s and have been married for 20 years. We have two children. Our marriage has been OK but not totally fulfilling. For the past five years, I have been in contact with my ex-fiancée.
I have thought about getting divorced a number of times but have never gone through with it. I love my wife, but not the same way I love my ex. Whenever I speak with my ex, I am my happy old self. She is the most caring, sweet, romantic person I’ve ever met, and I know, without a doubt, that our lives would be happy if we were together. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. We treat each other the way people should be treated.
My children do not have the best relationship with their mother, so I don’t think a divorce would be all that traumatizing for them. I just don’t want to hurt her. I have spoken to her about the things I’d like changed, but she only complies for a short while, and then things go back to the way they were.
Is this just a midlife crisis? Should I settle and stick with my current life or take a chance on a new one?
— Wanting No Regrets
Dear Wanting: So why didn’t you marry your ex-fiancée? It’s not uncommon to fantasize about a wonderful life with someone you don’t actually live with. The mundane responsibilities, raising children, doing housework, paying bills — all of those things are unromantic and unexciting. It takes work to make a good marriage. Don’t simply tell your wife what you want her to change. Maybe she’d like you to change, too.
We commend you for not wanting to hurt her. So please give your marriage a chance before you bail. Ask your wife to come with you for marriage counseling to see whether you can work through some of those things that are making you unhappy.
Dear Annie: My husband recently passed away after 40 years together. It’s been heartbreaking.
While going through his desk, I found a checkbook for our joint trust account. He had written in it that he wanted to leave all five of our children a sizable amount of money. I have no problem with four of them, as they are all employed and responsible adults. However, the fifth “child” is 58, unemployed, and living on his veterans benefits and disability so he can smoke medical marijuana.
I have already written checks for the first four kids, but I am dragging my feet about the fifth. It was my husband’s wish that they all be treated equally. Am I being disrespectful to my husband’s memory by not getting a check out to my son? I’m afraid he will blow it all on weed.
— An Anxious Mom
Dear Mom: We think your son is probably as responsible as he’s going to get. Certainly your husband knew this. Talk to your son. Explain that he has money coming to him, but you are concerned that it won’t last very long. Ask whether he’d like you to pay it to him in installments or put it in a trust for his long-term benefit. He may actually prefer an arrangement like this, but if not, please give him the money anyway. What he does with it is not your problem.
Dear Annie: Perhaps the owners of vacation homes whose guests leave photos of their own families in the home could start guest scrapbooks. A large scrapbook would provide room for visitors to note when they were there and perhaps mention a few of the more interesting things they did while enjoying the generous hospitality of the owners. This would provide a nice memory book for both the owners and guests, as well as providing an appropriate place for guests to leave their family photos.
— Barbara in Ventura
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.
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