Dear Annie: I am a married mother with two children, both in high school. But I am in love with a man who is not my husband of 21 years. “Harry” is my first love, and he came back into my life unexpectedly. He is also married.
Neither of us is passionate or loving toward our spouses anymore. We both feel that we are growing apart from them. I am waiting for my children to finish high school before I make any final move.
My husband still seems to believe we can be a happy couple, but I don’t agree. He is unaware of my affair, but I can tell that he feels that I’m growing more distant from him every day.
An additional problem, however, is that Harry seems to go through fits and starts about leaving his large family for me. But his marriage is based on a lie. Do you have any suggestions on what we should do?
Dear Massachusetts: Yes. You should stop lying and cheating and being disrespectful to each other and to your marriages. If you are unhappy with your husband, get counseling or get out. But do not rely on Harry to “save” you. We suspect he enjoys the affair more than he would a divorce, and that you enjoy the romance and intrigue more than working on the day-to-day responsibilities of a real marriage.
You’ve invested 21 years and have two children. Please see whether there is something worth salvaging, and if so, take the energy you are giving to Harry and put it into your marriage. You’d be surprised what a little genuine effort can do.
Dear Annie: I plan to ask my girlfriend of seven years to marry me. I put the ring I wanted on layaway. It’s a nice simple band with a big stone.
However, when we were talking about rings, she mentioned that she’d love a giddy, girly ring with smaller stones and a lot of design. She doesn’t know about the ring I’ve already picked out.
Since I’m the one who has to buy the ring and do the asking, I feel I should get to pick the style. We can choose the wedding bands together. And if she changes her mind about marrying me, she doesn’t get to keep the ring, right?
— A Little Help
Dear Little: No about selecting the ring, but yes about returning it. Your girlfriend, not you, will be wearing this ring for a long time. If you’re smart, you will let her pick the style she prefers. Otherwise, she may resent wearing it. You get to decide the price range. And if she breaks the engagement, she should return the ring. But as your first lesson in marriage, please learn to listen to the other person and be accommodating when you can.
Dear Annie: “Perplexed in Pennsylvania” was upset that her friend never remembers her birthday. If her entire relationship is based on that, she needs a new friend.
”Janie” and I have been friends for 35 years, and I have correctly remembered her birthday perhaps five times. We have not seen each other in almost 10 years because we live a thousand miles apart, but we communicate nearly every day. It might be an hour-long phone call or simply a text that says, “Thinking of you today.”
One day a few years ago, I woke up and thought I had missed her birthday (again), so I sent her a text saying, “Hope it was happy.” The next morning, I realized her birthday wasn’t until the following month. We are not best friends because I can remember her birthday. We are best friends because she knows I am an idiot and she loves me anyway. Isn’t that what friendship is? Caring about someone despite their flaws? If you are truly her friend, it shouldn’t matter whether she gets your birthday right.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please 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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