Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 6:50 am
Dear Annie: I am the mother of an 18-month-old baby and have been happily married for 15 years. Since I am now a stay-at-home parent, I recently joined an online social networking system in order to reconnect with former co-workers. Many of my long-lost friends from high school found me and added me to their friend lists. We enjoyed remembering old times.
The problem is with one former classmate who initiated contact. At first, it was innocent enough. He asked what I’ve been doing since high school and commented about how cute my child is. Then it evolved into complimenting my appearance, which at first I thought was simple friendliness until the tone changed and he proposed we start an affair. I then blocked him from being able to view my online profile or contact me.
I’m not sure if I should tell my husband what happened. I love him with all my heart and soul and would never consider being unfaithful. On the one hand, I don’t want to upset him. The problem is, many of my high-school friends heard about the incident and word could get around. I don’t want my husband thinking I’ve been hiding something from him.
I also would like to warn others that just because you knew someone in high school doesn’t mean they are safe to talk to. — New York
Dear New York: You will feel better if you tell your husband, but don’t make it sound as if you are ashamed or worried. You did nothing wrong. Explain exactly what happened, and tell him you’ve blocked all future contact with this creep. Then let him know he is always free to look at any of the communication you have had with other classmates and co-workers. If you are completely transparent, he will have no reason to doubt you.
Dear Annie: I work for a business with about 500 employees. There is an upcoming weeklong training seminar that I want to attend. One of my female co-workers is also going. We will be staying in the same hotel.
My wife is dead set against this. She says it is inappropriate to travel with a female co-worker and will not allow me to go. Annie, it is important that I stay current in my field. Is it inappropriate for co-workers of different genders to travel to a conference? — Minneapolis
Dear Minneapolis: It is perfectly normal for male and female co-workers to travel together for business, and most behave appropriately. Some spouses who are overly worried buy their own ticket and go along. If your wife isn’t willing or able to do this, ask her to trust you (we assume you are trustworthy) and promise to call her as often as she asks. And be sure not to give her any cause for concern.
Dear Annie: After reading the letter from “Wife of a Sneak” and all the other letters you get about cheating, lying, devious spouses, I can’t help but wonder: Is marriage natural? I am a 28-year-old woman, married eight years with two children, and have been through many of the same scenarios. I have lost trust in my husband. We have been to counseling without much help.
So, after much consideration and discussion with friends, I’ve decided marriage should be a renewable contract for a term of five years. If you don’t want to stay in the relationship, you simply don’t renew the contract. The government could receive renewal fees, which would help the economy and be significantly cheaper than divorce. I know this idea goes against the church and state laws, but doesn’t it make sense? What do you think? — Changing with the Times
Dear Changing: An interesting idea, although we worry that if marriage came with a five-year renewal option, people wouldn’t bother to work on the problems that invariably crop up. And it certainly doesn’t provide stability for the children.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 7.27.09