Dear Annie: I am a 40-year-old divorced woman with six children. I’ve become involved in a dream-come-true relationship with “Joe.” After a year, he moved into my house. Joe has two children, and the fact that he accepted my six kids just shows how wonderful he is.
The problem is, a few days before he moved in, I discovered he was having sexually intimate conversations with women via his computer. They all live out of the country, so I know he hasn’t met any of them in person.
I am shattered that Joe isn’t the decent, respectable, trustworthy guy I thought he was. He has apologized repeatedly, but I don’t know how to deal with my trust issues, and I am disgusted every time I think about it. I want to feel the way I used to when I was so passionately in love with him. What do I do? – Love Fading Away
Dear Fading: If Joe is as wonderful as you say, you owe it to yourself to give him a chance to prove he can be trusted. Joe may have become involved with these women when he was single and lonely. Help him understand that in order to have a loving, faithful, honest future with you, he has to stop this type of communication and be transparent about his use of the computer. If he is willing to make the effort, either on his own or with professional help, there is no reason things can’t work out for you.
Dear Annie: My husband’s brother, “Jason,” and his wife never respond to our invitations no matter how many times we ask them. The most we can hope for is that Jason will tell his older sister, “Trudy,” and she will then inform us if he’s coming or not. It’s like we don’t exist. Trudy recently prevailed upon Jason to host an upcoming family party. She then took it upon herself to call my husband and his other siblings and give him this information. She added, since they will have this party annually, there’s no reason for them to call us each time and invite us directly. I disagree.
I have explained my feelings to both Jason and Trudy, but it keeps on happening. If you are hosting a party, shouldn’t you be the one to let your family know? What is the protocol? – Frustrated by Ignorance in Vermont
Dear Vermont: When it’s family, protocol is flexible. Yes, Jason and his wife should extend their own invitations and RSVP to yours, but Trudy has taken over this function and it doesn’t sound as if your husband or his siblings object. If you believe it will alter their behavior, you can refuse any invitation that isn’t personally issued and stop including those who don’t RSVP. But recognize that you are fighting an uphill battle that may cause additional family friction, in which case it’s probably not worth it.