Dear Annie: I had this vague feeling something was wrong with my marriage so I decided to look at my husband’s cell phone call log. Imagine my surprise to discover a text message from a woman. Her number showed up in three months’ worth of phone bills.
I showed him what I found and we talked most of the night. My husband agreed to let “Lena” know the relationship was over and said he would have no more contact with her. I believed him.
Ten days later, after having been told we had no money for Valentine’s gifts, I found a receipt for a $500 diamond bracelet. When I confronted my husband, he said he felt sorry for Lena because she didn’t have any jewelry. He told me he would not see her again and would let the jeweler call Lena to pick up the bracelet.
Two weeks after that, I discovered him holding hands with Lena at a local restaurant. Apparently, he decided to pick up the bracelet and deliver it in person. I confronted them, and they assured me it was just friendship.
I am so devastated, it physically hurts. I love my husband with all my heart and he claims he loves only me. I want so much to have faith in him. Do we have a shot at building back the trust in this 13-year marriage? — Kentucky Girl
Dear Kentucky Girl: You can rebuild trust, but only if your husband behaves in a manner that is completely aboveboard. He must stop seeing Lena, and that means no friendly lunches, no gifts of any kind, no phone calls, nothing. She doesn’t own any jewelry? Give us a break. Tell him as a condition of staying in the marriage, he must go with you for counseling — no excuses will be accepted.
Dear Annie: I have been separated from my husband for two years. There are six nieces and nephews on my husband’s side, ages 8 to 17. I’ve known these children all their lives and consider them family. For their birthdays and Christmas, I always send them cards and gifts.
My mother and sister think I should not buy them gifts anymore, as they are no longer “my family.” Am I wrong to still consider these kids my nieces and nephews? What do other people do?
Regardless of what you say, I will continue to do this because I want to, not because I have to. — Canada
Dear Canada: Good for you. If you are close to these children and consider them to be your nieces and nephews, then that is the relationship and you should honor it. It’s no one else’s business.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Frustrated Mother,” who complained that her son has high scores on standardized tests but is failing his classes due to incomplete assignments. One of your suggestions was that the mother ask his teachers to provide extra credit to make up for missing assignments.
I am a middle school teacher, and I would never offer extra work to students to make up for other assignments they have not completed. I accept late work, and he could make up old work for a reduced grade. Many parents do not realize that my job is not just to teach math and science, but also to teach social, communication and organizational skills, to name a few. Students need to realize the consequences of not being responsible for themselves. Teachers should not have to make up additional assignments for these students. — Middle School Teacher, Illinois
Dear Teacher: You make a valid point that students must learn responsibility, but homework can sometimes be tedious and repetitious, especially to students who are bright enough to be ahead of the material. We know a teacher’s burden is already great, but those caring teachers who can reach students by being flexible and creative make a positive impression that lasts a lifetime.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 5.14.08