Dear Annie: Without trust, marriage is over
Dear Annie: I recently learned that during my entire marriage my husband has visited strip clubs, touched other women and had lap dances. He says he’s sorry.
“Andy” has never been the best husband or father, but I thought we had a good sex life. I have been an interested and enthusiastic sex partner. Now that I know about his past activities, however, I no longer enjoy sex with him and just go through the motions.
Andy and I have been to counseling, but my trust has been shattered. I get plenty of attention from men and now find myself flirting back. I just want to warn others that this kind of cheating behavior can ruin a marriage. – Wife of a Sneak
Dear Wife: They know that. What are you going to do about your situation? You can remain angry and keep punishing him. You can get a divorce and start over. Or you can find a way to forgive him so you can work on your marriage and make it better. What you are doing now is only going to make you both bitter and miserable.
Andy betrayed you. Is he willing to take his lumps and follow the counselor’s suggestions? Can he do anything to regain your trust? His actions must be completely transparent, and you must be willing to move forward. Otherwise, sorry to say, it’s over.
Dear Annie: I just returned from a family vacation with my siblings and their spouses. We are all in our late 50s and early 60s. The problem is my brother’s wife, who is an alcoholic.
When Mindy drinks, she becomes loud and argumentative and dominates all conversation. It was impossible for us to chat when she was in the room. She has been in and out of rehab for the past 35 years and has had several DUIs.
My two sisters and I have agreed that we will not include Mindy or my brother in any future family outings. I suggested we each write Mindy a letter telling her that we love her but will no longer support her addiction and don’t plan to see her until she is sober. My sisters are opposed to the letter, as is my husband. They feel we would be abandoning and possibly alienating my brother. What do you think? – Unwilling Enabler
Dear Unwilling: You can’t force Mindy to get sober, so if you refuse to see her while she is drinking, you won’t see her at all. Your brother will likely stand by her and not see you, either. That is entirely your decision, but you cannot insist that it be your husband’s or your sisters’ decision, as well.
Instead, consider a family intervention with a third-party mediator. And please try Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at (888) 4-AL-ANON (888-425-2666).
Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar are longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.