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Dear Annie… Unwilling to Change

Dear Annie: My husband has a long history of being unfaithful to me. He says that it isn’t cheating because he can’t help himself. I’ve forgiven him five times.

Recently, I discovered that he’s been going to a website where a girl talks to him on a webcam. In exchange for their virtual time together, he buys her jewelry, clothes and other presents.

He sends her photos from his own life: For instance, pictures from when we watched fireworks with the grandkids — except the pictures are only of the fireworks, and he doesn’t mention that he was with his wife and grandchildren.

I never usually pay attention to the phone bill, but this month I looked — and I found out he’d sent and received more than 17,000 text messages. He was exchanging texts with women he’d met on a dating site.

He said that it isn’t cheating since he’s not having sex. But I think the emotional cheating is worse. I am at my wit’s end.

Should I just divorce him and walk away? Please help.

— Mrs. Undesirable

Dear Mrs.: I refuse to call you that “U” word because your husband’s behavior is no reflection on you. If anything, it shows that he has issues around his own desirability.

Perhaps he’s so insecure he must constantly seek the validation of women he hardly knows — and/or he’s suffering from sex addiction. (You can learn more about that at https://saa-recovery.org.) However, the root of his problems is irrelevant if he’s not willing to seek a cure.

If your husband shows no willingness to change his behavior, then leaving may indeed be the best course. Listen to your heart, and find out what it desires.

Dear Annie: I really need your insight. I have a male best friend. He’s been married a while now, but he’s said before as though he feels I’m really his wife. I think the world of him. I love our long conversations. And I notice that he never brings up his wife around me.

What should I do?

— Burning in North Carolina

Dear Burning: Stop, drop and roll on out of this man’s life so you can get on with your own.

He is using you to avoid working on his marriage. And why would you want to be with a man who treats his wife that way?

You deserve to be with someone who gives you his all, and I promise he is out there somewhere.

Dear Annie: I wanted to respond to the letter from “Excuse You,” who complained that her new boyfriend burps constantly after eating.

My husband of 36 years also had that problem for the first 20 years of our marriage. I also thought it was just a rude habit, but then I read it could be a symptom of acid reflux or an inefficient digestion of food (indigestion).

I gave him a good probiotic from a vitamin store every day for a couple of months to build up the “good” bacteria in his gut and I could see the difference within the first two weeks.

The good bacteria are necessary to break down the food and are destroyed when taking antibiotics. He continues to take probiotics, but only a couple of days per week as he is not a very healthy eater. The burping is gone, and we are much happier for it.

— Joyce

Dear Joyce: Probiotics have indeed been shown to sometimes help improve a range of digestive and gastrointestinal issues, of which acid reflux is one. I would urge anyone to first speak with his or her doctor before deciding on the best course of action.

Dear Annie: I am really tired of all this negative news about “broken” families. I raised my two children, and we were not “broken.”

It is time for single parents (mostly mothers) to band together. I could have made three times as much as I did had I taken those jobs that took me away from my children. We just lived on what I made, not on what we wanted.

However, I was home every night; saw that they did their homework and knew how to clean the house and do laundry; took them to Sunday school and church every Sunday; taught them how to be kind, helpful and honest.

When you are a single parent, it is your responsibility to do many of the things that two parents do. Mothers can pool hours with children, swapping time in order to not have to hire babysitters. Just do not give up. It is a 24/7 job, 365 days a year for 20 years. As a parent, you owe it to your children.

Many of the children from two-parent homes never had the sleepovers, pizza parties and ball games that I did

Do not have children if you do not consider that you may become a one-parent family and are not ready to do 250 percent of what two-parent families can but may not do. My children were NOT from a “broken” home.

— Not From a Broken Home

Dear Not From a Broken Home: You sound like a wonderful mother with the right values. I agree the term “broken home” is not fair. Homes are homes, and so long as there is lots of love, and good values, there is nothing broken about a single mom.

Dear Annie: I am very hurt. I met my husband on a dating site, and we have been married for four years. Recently, I looked at his phone and discovered that he has texted women thousands of times.

The other day, when I saw his text message to another woman, I said that I cannot take it anymore. He said that texting is not cheating. Is that true? I am thinking about filing for divorce.

— Fed up With Texting

Dear Fed Up: You’re right, and he’s wrong. Whether his activities are physical or not, your husband is placing texts to these women above your feelings and cheating on you psychologically. This emotional betrayal has the same flavor as cheating because he is doing something with other women behind your back.

Before you file for divorce, talk to him. Express how much it hurts when you see all these texts with someone else and that you would like to be that close with him.

I would also suggest couples counseling. Best of luck.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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