Distance didn't end her calls
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years. Although we've had our share of ups and downs, we have always been committed to making our marriage work.
Last year, my husband had an affair with a subordinate at his office. It lasted about four months and ended when she moved across the country to be closer to her ailing mother. He said it would have ended sooner, but he knew she was leaving and decided to just let her go away and never see her again. When he refused to visit her at her new home, she threatened to contact me and his boss, and sue the company. At that point, he decided to come clean with me so I would not be blindsided.
That was 14 months ago. Since then, he has remained in contact with her. She calls a few times a month, although he does not call her except to return a call on occasion. The initial contact was supposedly to keep him from getting fired. She no longer is threatening that. Since day one, he has been promising me that the calls will end, and now he says that will happen "when she moves on."
I am tired of being lied to and am considering divorce. I can get over the betrayal of the affair if it would just end. My husband says the calls are simply a visit with an old friend and I am making too much of them. Am I a fool to throw away a good marriage over a small thing like an occasional phone call? Fed Up with Lies
Dear Fed Up: Your husband needs to break off contact with this woman immediately. It is not his job to see that she "moves on." It's his job to save his marriage. The longer he stays in touch with her, the more he undermines your trust and bolsters her belief that the affair will be rekindled. Insist on counseling. Your husband owes it to you.
Dear Annie: My 54-year-old father is depressed again. Dad has had bouts of depression and anxiety that can be traced back to his childhood. He's made a few suicide attempts and has been placed under observation at hospitals. He is overweight, and when he's really depressed, he doesn't bathe or go to work for days or weeks on end. His wife is in her 60s and cannot support the family on her income alone.
My stepmother and I understand the general causes of his depression, and we want to help him get better, but we are at our wits' end. Dad can be difficult and is incredibly resistant to encouragement to do rational things even when he's healthy, and it's worse when he's depressed.
My stepmother has talked about having him put in the hospital (at least for a temporary suicide watch), but I worry that would devastate him even more. How do we help him without going crazy ourselves? California Girl
Dear California: It sounds as if your father needs to be in counseling and on medication, and many depressed people are unwilling to seek such help. Please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at (800) 950- NAMI (800-950-6264), and ask for assistance. They will direct you to local resources that can help you.
Dear Annie: I'm one of the many culprits who have often asked kids and grandkids for a wish list. I now send my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids a two-column list. One side is for "Gifts To," where I list names of people they ought to think about, and the other column is "My Wish List." In this manner I hope to somehow equalize the idea of gifting and getting. By the way, my wish list for little kids always says "a hand-colored picture by you." Let's always try to make lemonade! Grandma Judy B.
Dear Grandma Judy: An interesting, and sweet, solution. Those who want a wish list should feel free to ask for one. It is, however, inappropriate to send one at random to any person who you think owes you or your child a gift.
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