Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I am married to a man four years my junior who seems locked into the idea that I am cheating on him. I am not, although I’d have good reason: He is hardly ever around and pays little attention to me.
We have two children, and I gained a lot of weight during the pregnancies. Recently, I began exercising and watching my diet to improve my health and have almost returned to my pre-wedding weight. I feel better about myself, as I had become depressed.
Now when I dress up, he assumes it’s not for him but to get the attention of other men. When we were dating, he kept pressuring me to lose weight, even though I was slim. He had little sexual interest in me once I became pregnant, but now he can’t get enough. He claims it’s unrelated to my weight loss. He says he “just figured out” that our love was meant to be. This isn’t our only problem. He also belittles my intelligence. When I make statements, he often challenges me or tells me I must not have understood what I heard.
I’m miserable, but everyone tells me I have to stay for the children and try to make it work. I don’t even know where to start in order to be happy again. I am 35 with two small children and feel stuck. Who would want me? — Trapped
Dear Trapped: We know we sound like a broken record, but please get counseling. He has worn you down and made you feel unattractive and worthless. You have two young children, and for their sakes, you should make every effort to see whether the relationship can be saved before giving up. It would be best if your husband goes with you, but if not, go without him. The right counselor will help you understand your situation and find ways to deal with it.
Dear Annie: My wife left me 12 years ago for the richest man in town. We have a daughter who is to be married in the near future. I am also remarried, and we have a young child.
My former wife is planning the entire wedding, and the reception will be an expensive endeavor, as they seem to have unlimited funds. Our financial situation is quite the opposite. Due to a workplace accident, I am on disability.
Am I obligated to pay half of the total wedding costs even though I have no say in the planning? I fear it will cause great hardship on my family. — Worried Dad in Iowa
Dear Iowa: You are not obligated to pay more than you can afford. Decide what amount you are willing to part with. Then inform your daughter that as much as you would like to give her the moon, this is all your budget will allow. (We strongly urge young couples to help pay for their own weddings and stop bankrupting their parents for one day’s festivities.)
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Sad Mom,” whose 10-year-old daughter was snubbed by a classmate having a birthday party.
I was in 5th grade when a boy in my class invited everyone to his birthday party except me. My mother then shared a secret. She said the boy’s parents were nice people, but the mother wanted to be much closer and my mom wasn’t interested. His mother chose this cruel way to strike back. Mom told me to say I had “family plans” as an excuse should anyone ask about my absence.
That fall, we threw a Halloween party. Mom said, “This is our chance to get even. We will invite this boy. Always take the high road.” I remembered that much longer than the pain of the original slight, and the older I got the prouder I was to have such a mother as a role model. — Lucky Daughter in West Lafayette, Ind.
Dear Lucky: Your mother sounds like one smart, classy lady.
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.
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Published in The Messenger 8.3.10