ANNIE’S MAILBOX: Hubby seems to be getting paranoid

By Kathy Mitchell

and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My husband and I can no longer communicate effectively with each other, and our eight-year marriage is suffering as a result.

It’s like we are living in two separate worlds. In his, no one is trustworthy, including me. We are all out to get him.

He sees signs of intentional disrespect from others where there are none, and when some minor issue doesn’t go his way, he has a temper tantrum like a 2-year-old.

He is verbally abusive.

He’s also convinced that the economy will collapse soon, so he’s started stockpiling food.

We spent a year in weekly couples counseling with absolutely no positive progress. I have been unable to get him to go to counseling on his own.

I cannot live like this anymore and am thinking about a separation. We each have grown children from previous marriages, and they are on their own.



Dear Illinois: Your husband seems a little paranoid. Has he always been like this? If it is a relatively new phenomenon, or if he is getting worse, please ask him to see his doctor for a complete checkup. Sometimes these problems are neurological in origin and can be treated. They also can be signs of incipient dementia or a reaction to medication. If that is not the case, however, and your husband is unwilling to work on the marriage, you may need to separate for your own mental health.

Dear Annie: I was recently invited to attend a friend’s confirmation. Since I do not drive, my friend’s family offered to pick me up and take me home from the church. However, when the confirmation was over, the family drove to a nearby restaurant for brunch.

No one had mentioned to me that there would be a brunch afterward. I had only enough money for a cup of coffee and was very embarrassed. People kept asking me why I wasn’t eating, but I felt it would have been rude to say that I was caught by surprise and couldn’t pay for a meal.

I’m sure someone would have offered to pay for me, but that would have been even more awkward.

I went home hungry, and the others went home perplexed.

I think my friend should have told me about their plans instead of assuming I would know. Now, I never go anywhere without plenty of cash. I think people who issue invitations should make it clear what activities are included and who is expected to pay for what. In this particular situation, did I do the right thing?

Puzzled about Propriety

Dear Puzzled: Yes, although it also would have been OK to simply say that you left your wallet at home and would repay anyone who covered the cost. When someone else is providing transportation, it is helpful to know where you are going. If a meal is included, those expected to attend should be informed. However, most people assume others either have cash or a credit card with them at all times, as you have painfully learned.

Email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Creators Syndicate

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