Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 9:34 pm
Dear Annie: I am a widower and recently got engaged to “Dyann.” We are planning on getting married soon, but a few things have me puzzled.
My wife-to-be told me she had been married and divorced. She had a child living with her who I thought was her only child. I’d been seeing her for a few months when I found out she had three other children who were living with their father. When I asked her why she hadn’t mentioned them, she said she didn’t like talking about that part of her life.
When we applied for a marriage license, Dyann put down that she’d been married twice before, not the one time I knew about. I also noticed she hadn’t been truthful about her age. I haven’t said anything about these falsehoods, but I think they’re odd.
Are these red flags I should be concerned about? — Confused
Dear Confused: Yes. Your fiancee is a liar. There may be understandable reasons for her fabrications, but she owes it to you to be completely honest before you make a legal commitment. You are going to be her husband. If she refuses to answer all your questions truthfully and to your satisfaction, it means she is hiding something from the person she plans to share her life with. This is no way to start a marriage.
Dear Annie: Four years ago, my grandfather died of a heart attack. At the time, he was married to his second wife, “Louise.” Louise took excellent care of him, but since the funeral, I have had no contact with her. I regret that.
Before my grandfather died, Louise created a picture collage of my grandfather standing next to his father, alongside all of Grandpa’s medals. I would like nothing more than to have that collage, but since I haven’t spoken to Louise for a good four years, it seems that asking for such an important memento would be terribly rude.
My husband says I was wrong to lose contact. My mother says I should write a nice letter to Louise and tell her what I want. Louise worked so hard to take care of my grandfather in his last days, and I don’t want to be disrespectful. Don’t you think it would be insulting if she suddenly got a letter from me asking for that collage after not communicating for so long? What should I do? — Loving Granddaughter
Dear Granddaughter: It wouldn’t hurt to reestablish contact with Louise whether you get the collage or not. Start by sending a letter. Ask Louise how she’s doing. Tell her you are sorry you lost touch after Grandpa died and hope you can remedy that. Follow up with a phone call to chat. Once you are speaking to each other again, it is perfectly OK to mention the collage, tell her how much you admire it and ask if she will make you a copy.
Dear Annie: “DPN” asked why men cheat, and you printed an entire column of responses from guys. I read in astonishment their excuses for having affairs. Are they for real?
I am in one of these marriages, and believe me, the real reasons we do not “put out” enough for our husbands is way more complicated than being “overweight” or “inattentive” or all the other hogwash. Men simply need to find a way to reconnect with their wives. Not whine, complain or cheat. But maybe that would be too much work for these poor fellows. They think marriage just takes care of itself and doesn’t require any effort on their part. — Michigan Corpse
Dear Michigan: You’re right that some men don’t want to do the necessary work to have a good marriage, but there are plenty of men who do — and whose wives still treat them poorly. Often, those problems can be fixed with counseling and communication, but, unfortunately, not always.
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.