Dear Annie: I’m a very sad woman. I work and take care of my home and kids. My husband and I had trouble getting pregnant with the second child and after months of trying went to a fertility clinic. It was a difficult time, and I was not giving my husband all of the attention he needed.
One day, he was at my friend’s house, and a female acquaintance of hers was there. This woman was in the middle of her own divorce, and she and my husband began a conversation. She told him if he wasn’t happy, he should divorce me and be happy for himself, instead of worrying about his wife and kids. My husband filed divorce papers while I was pregnant. Now the two of them are together, and he thinks I don’t know.
What kind of woman thinks this is OK to do? I have two small kids and love my husband with all my heart. I know I have things to work on. Where is the respect for women out there?
— Broken Heart
Dear Broken: While we agree that women shouldn’t go after married men (and vice versa), you are blaming the woman when it is your husband who strayed. He wanted an excuse to get out of his responsibilities, and she was simply the match that lit the flame.
Please see a lawyer immediately so you can protect yourself and your children. Then ask your husband to go with you for counseling to see whether you can reconcile. But if he is determined to get out of the marriage, the counseling will help you develop coping strategies for the future. Your children need you to be strong and capable.
Dear Annie: As a working mom, my schedule is tight. For several years, I have enjoyed a periodic lunch with a non-working friend where we catch up on our kids’ activities and discuss books or movies.
Twice during recent lunches, her cellphone has rung, and in mid-sentence, she has picked it up and commenced chatting with the caller. I could understand if it were an emergency call from her son’s school, but I end up sitting there staring in silence at my lunch while she cheerfully talks about a trip to the beach.
My husband thinks I should tell her that I find this disrespectful and rude, as well as insensitive to my time constraints. Instead, when she calls to set up a lunch date, I simply say that I’m too busy. I no longer think this “friendship” is worth my time. Am I wrong to cut her out of my life over this?
Dear Disrespected: It depends on whether she offers anything other than an absentee luncheon date. You are angry and looking to punish her. Decide whether you want the friendship to end or whether you simply want her to put down the cellphone. There is nothing wrong with asking her to make your lunch a “phone free” zone so you can concentrate on each other. If she refuses to turn off her cellphone and answers a call in mid-conversation, feel free to get up and leave, saying, “Obviously, you are busy. Perhaps I’ll see you another time.”
Dear Annie: I am responding to “Outcast Sister,” who cares for her mom. It is terrible of her sisters to complain because she is getting paid for this. No one realizes how time consuming it is to watch a loved one.
She should tell them to take a turn watching Mom, driving her to the doctor’s, and doing the laundry, housekeeping and bathing, and see how much time and effort it takes. I am one of 10 kids who took care of Mom on weekends when the caregiver needed time off. Her sisters should be grateful that she is willing to take this on instead of hiring a paid stranger. God bless her.
— Enraged Reader
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.