Annie’s Mailbox – 09.14.10

Annie’s Mailbox – 09.14.10

Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:00 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar

The Messenger 09.14.10

Dear Annie: I am 52 and have been married for 32 years, most of which have been platonic. We’ve stayed together for the sake of the children, who now live on their own. My husband and I get along fairly well, but I have no feelings for him, and there is no chance of that changing.  
For the past eight years, I have been involved with “Darren,” a man I am crazy about. He knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t leave my husband until all my children were out of the house. Now he is putting pressure on me to begin divorce proceedings. But I am uncertain about a future with Darren. He is controlling and has a quick temper and a total disregard for others. I am afraid he will cause friction with my children, and I am not willing to jeopardize my relationship with them.  
Darren also runs hot and cold. We get along great when it is just the two of us, but when other people are involved or when life takes a turn, he becomes difficult because he is unable to adjust to even minor adversity. He also is jealous and suspicious of everything I do and say, although I’ve given him no reason. He pops into my office whenever he wants, sometimes causing trouble with co-workers.  
Darren has participated in counseling at my urging, but he only attended a few sessions. I also had counseling, but it didn’t help. I don’t believe this relationship has a solid future, and I probably should get out. I am devastated to think of losing Darren for good, but it is also scary to think about giving up my home and security for something so uncertain. How do I muster the courage to break off with someone I love? — In Turmoil in Lancaster, Pa.  
Dear Lancaster: The excitement and escapism of your affair allowed you to overlook the controlling, unpleasant aspects of Darren’s character. Now that you can be available as a committed partner, you are seeing him more clearly. He will not make you happy. You have managed to tie up both your husband and boyfriend in unfulfilling relationships. Have the decency to stop dangling Darren on a hook, and let him go. He won’t like it, but there is no alternative that will work out better.
Dear Annie: I just returned from a weeklong family vacation, and once again, I am disturbed by the sleeping arrangements of my relatives. My large family rents several condos, so we have plenty of beds, couches and ample floor space.  
Here’s the creepy part: There are mothers sleeping with teenage sons, teenage boys sleeping with their sisters, dads sleeping with teenage daughters — you get the picture. It’s not happening behind closed doors, so nothing disturbing is going on. But why would a single dad have his adolescent daughter sleep with him rather than put her on the floor in a sleeping bag?  
I have teens of my own and wouldn’t dream of bunking down with one of my boys or having him share a bed with his teenage sister. Is this normal? — Icky
Dear Icky: No. It almost sounds as if your relatives are trying to prove how affectionate and close they are, but these kinds of situations can lead to inadvertent trouble. Hormonally developing teenagers should not be sharing sleeping space with relatives of the opposite sex, and we hope your family members will show more respect for their privacy.  
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Losing Money,” who asked if parents should pay for missed music lessons.  
If you skipped a doctor’s appointment, you would be charged. She has to treat this as any professional business. I began charging for lessons by the month, payable the first week of the month. Students would receive a credit only if they contacted me 24 hours prior to a missed lesson. Once I established this policy, parents were much more diligent about showing up. — B.  
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, 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


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