Dear Readers: Today is Memorial Day. We know for many, this is simply part of a long weekend. But we hope you will keep in mind the reason behind the holiday — a day to remember those servicemen and women who have died serving their country. Please honor our fallen heroes by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of veterans. It is also customary to fly the flag at half-staff until noon.
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Joseph” for 40 years. Joseph has always enjoyed building birdhouses, which he sells at flea markets or gives away. Since his retirement three years ago, he has been building them constantly. When he’s not lost in the basement building, he’s on Facebook or checking email. And when he’s not doing that, he’s watching TV or sleeping.
We don’t share email accounts, and we don’t have the same taste in television programming, so we are rarely in the same room. We share nothing, and we seldom talk. We have two married children who live in different states, and we see them a few times a year. I feel like a widow.
Here’s the problem: I recently ran into an old friend, and he invited me to lunch. I never would have done this in the past, but I’ve been so depressed lately, I decided to go. Annie, it was wonderful. We talked, laughed and caught up on old times, and I truly felt like someone was interested in me.
When I got home, I told Joseph about my lunch date. He became upset and jealous, which surprised me. He demanded that I never have lunch with this man again. But, Annie, I’d like to see him again. I’m not looking for an affair, but it was just so nice to talk to someone. I think about that lunch all the time.
Joseph has become even more distant since then. Is it true that when one has a bad marriage, an affair is sure to happen? What should I do?
— Feeling Alone
Dear Feeling Alone: Meeting this man again could definitely lead to trouble — not only because your unhappiness makes you vulnerable to an affair, but because your husband would never trust you again. It is obvious that you are feeling lonely, and it would help if you could express those feelings to Joseph. In the meantime, we recommend you occupy your time and meet new people through volunteer organizations, local theater productions, choirs, political groups, book clubs and other activities. If none of that helps, please consider counseling — with or without your husband.
Dear Annie: “Michigan” wrote that she is concerned about losing her two sons when they grow up and marry. I am one of three daughters-in-law. We are all in constant contact with my in-laws. In addition to family gatherings, my husband and his brothers all visit their parents on their own from time to time. The wives encourage these visits, as we are all very close to our “second mom and dad.”
My own father was the eldest of three brothers, and they spent many holidays with their mother, along with their wives and children.
Please assure “Michigan” that boys do not have to disappear from their parents’ lives, but that their choice of bride will probably have some bearing on the future relationships. She should continue to make her children feel loved, and hopefully they will choose a wife who will also want to nurture that connection.
— Also Grew Up in Michigan
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, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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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