Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married to the same man for decades. “Ralph” has always preferred the company of females, but lately, all he talks about are other women — their physical attributes, how intelligent and personable they are, etc. He tells me about going out to dinner with them (supposedly with a group of people). He states in business e-mails how attractive they are. He tells me how he flirts and teases. He is very obvious about looking at other women while he is with me.
I hear him on the phone speaking to them gently and softly, yet he never speaks to me that way. Ralph criticizes my thoughts, looks, opinions and feelings, yet when I question his behavior, he claims I am the love of his life and his rock. He tells other people that I am exactly what he wants. He denies adultery. He denies wanting out of our relationship. He states that whenever he is disrespectful to me, he doesn’t know why and feels bad about it. But his behavior doesn’t change.
I feel like I am living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What is going on with my husband? Is he cheating on me? — S.O.S.
Dear S.O.S.: We don’t believe Ralph is cheating, but it definitely sounds like a few screws are loose. Any unexplained change in behavior could indicate a medical problem, so first suggest that Ralph see his doctor for a complete workup. Then ask him to go with you for counseling. He is not behaving in a respectful manner toward the woman he supposedly loves, and you both need to find out why.
Dear Annie: Years ago, parents used to put up placards in their children’s bedroom windows to let firemen know where they were in case of fire. That proved dangerous because pedophiles also knew which bedrooms the children were in.
Now parents are putting up stick figures of their families on the back of the car windows, including how many boys and girls they have. Yesterday, I saw a car with two soccer ball emblems in the back window, each with the name of one of two girls. I assume those two girls were their daughters. To me, this is as dangerous as the window placards because any pedophile could follow the car home and target the children in the future. Should I be concerned for these children? — New York
Dear N.Y.: You have raised a valid point. Parents are eager to show off their children, but they should be mindful of the circumstances. Publicizing the fact that you have young children by displaying emblems on your home or car windows (especially with names) can invite trouble. While it is extremely unlikely that a pedophile would follow your car home, it is still a possibility that should not be ignored. It’s the same reason you don’t leave your front door unlocked, even if you live in a safe neighborhood. The chance of a break-in is remote, but not impossible.
Dear Annie: I can identify with “No Photo Op,” the woman who was handed an envelope containing pictures of her mother lying in her casket.
When my grandmother died, I was pregnant and lived 1,000 miles away and could not attend the funeral. Months later, I received a letter from my mother that contained photos of a trip she and my dad had taken. In the middle of those photos, I was horror stricken to find one of my grandmother in her coffin.
My grandmother was Irish and a lively person. That’s how I would like to remember her. But 31 years later, all I can picture is my grandmother in her coffin. Your advice to ask first was spot on. — Still Stunned in Vermont
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, 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.
Published in The Messenger 7.13.10