Dear Annie: I feel betrayed by my husband, and he doesn’t seem to see the problem.
We have been married for 40 years. “Victor” always had a wandering eye and a problem being faithful. For whatever reason, I was never enough for him. He has no idea how much he has hurt me over the years. I put up with a lot, but now he has started watching pornography when he thinks I’m asleep. I know he’s masturbating, but if I ask whether he wants to have sex, he says “no,” and eventually, I fall asleep.
This makes me feel as if he’s cheating on me in my own bed. I’ve tried talking to Victor about it, but he thinks I’m the one with the problem. What do you think?
Dear Betrayed: You must ask yourself what you want out of this marriage after 40 years. Can you make Victor stop having affairs and watching pornography? Not unless he understands that it is a betrayal and decides he doesn’t want to hurt you anymore. That would require effort on his part, and likely counseling to help him navigate a new way to relate to you. If you think he would be willing, please suggest it.
You also can get counseling on your own and learn what you are willing to tolerate for the sake of remaining in the marriage if you choose to stay. In the meantime, contact COSA (cosa-recovery.org), a 12-step program for those whose lives have been affected by another person’s compulsive sexual behavior.
Dear Annie: I’ve been friendly with a neighbor for some time, as we are both cat owners. I recently let my cat outside briefly, and he came in limping as a result of a catfight. I immediately rushed him to my vet, who performed emergency surgery and presented me with a big bill.
When telling my neighbor of the expenses, he said I was foolish to have been so concerned about a cat. Annie, I was shocked to hear this from a fellow cat owner and have ceased speaking to him. He has made overtures toward friendship, and I’ve rebuffed him. Should I forgive and forget?
— Cat Lover Ed
Dear Ed: No one expects you to agree with everything your friends think, do and say. Yes, we are surprised that a fellow cat owner would seem so callous. But this is essentially a difference of opinion about how much money one would spend on an animal’s treatment. If you think this comment means your neighbor is an unkind, nasty person, you don’t need to stay friends. But if he is otherwise a good guy and you miss his friendship, please forgive him.
Dear Annie: “Conflicted Adoptee in Kansas” was hurt that her biological mother didn’t want to tell her other grown children about her.
Three years ago, my 70-year-old grandmother walked over to my mother, handed her a piece of paper and said, “Well, you’ve always wanted a sister.” Grandma had given up a baby girl when Grandpa was still married to his first wife. When she became pregnant again (with my mother), they finally wed.
At first we were shocked. Grandma was ashamed and embarrassed. My mother was excited to get to know her new sister, but they discovered that they really don’t care much for each other. In fact, no one in the family likes her, but we feel obligated to be nice and polite.
Grandma refuses to talk about it. The one thing she had written in the adoption records was that she didn’t want anyone in her family to know. I completely understand why some things are better left alone.
— Omaha, Neb.
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.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.