Dear Annie: A few years ago, my wife went out of town for a conference. A month after she returned, I was on our computer and noticed that she hadn’t logged out of her email. My curiosity got the best of me, and I saw that she had traded emails with an old boyfriend. I then discovered that the two of them had met while she was at the conference. One of her last emails to him said, “I still have feelings for you.”
On the advice of a marriage counselor, I was direct with her about it. She claimed nothing happened and that they only met for dinner and said she would never contact him again. She also was angry that I had invaded her privacy.
Last year, my wife and I hit a rough patch. I got suspicious of her behavior and checked her cellphone. I saw that she had exchanged multiple texts with this same guy. Again, she claims nothing happened, the texts were innocent and I had no right to snoop.
My wife knows the password to my email, and I never lock my cellphone. All of my communication is an open book. Meanwhile, she now locks her phone and has multiple email accounts. I understand the need for a little privacy, but I don’t believe you should be hiding things in a committed relationship. My wife is angry that I don’t trust her, and I’m having trouble dealing with this. Any advice?
— Broken Up
Dear Broken: We don’t trust your wife, either. She promised not to contact this man again and then did so and hid it from you. She locks her phone and has multiple email accounts to which you apparently do not have the passwords. Worse, to deflect blame, she accuses you of snooping. There may not have been a sexual affair, but it definitely sounds like an emotional attachment. Please go back to your counselor and ask your wife to come with you. The two of you need a refresher course on how to make your marriage work and regain trust.
Dear Annie: I own a small casual restaurant in a small town. People order at the counter and then take their food to a table to eat.
In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed more people bringing in food from other establishments and eating at our place. I don’t understand why people think it’s OK to take advantage of an eating establishment like this. Don’t they realize that the owner is paying for the incidental items they use, such as napkins? Don’t they see that they are taking up space that could be used by people who are actually helping to pay the bills incurred by the restaurant? Am I looking at the situation in the wrong way?
— No Free Lunch
Dear No: We suspect most people have no clue that this is an inconvenience to you. There are some establishments that allow people to sit for extended lengths of time without ordering, but we know of none that encourage you to bring your own food. Most restaurants require a minimum order to justify the use of the space. We suggest you implement this policy with a sign at each table and at the cash register. You may have to approach flouters with a bill, but word will get around.
Dear Annie: This is for “Tired,” who does all the cooking for the holiday meals and then gets stuck with the cleanup, too. I have a good friend in the same situation. She is on good terms with all of her family members, but they never helped or knew what to do. So she wrote up duties, put them on little pieces of paper and placed the pieces into a nice dish. When each guest arrived, they picked out a paper and read their duty for that meal. They loved it, and she was not so worn out.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], 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.