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Annie’s Mailbox: Focus emotions on shaky marriage

Dear Annie: I have been married for four years. In that time, we have split up twice, and it wasn’t pretty either time. We have kids together. I pushed getting married when I became pregnant at 19. Then he claimed to fall out of love with me, stopped coming home after work and began treating me like his maid. So I left and took our child. He followed me and swore he’d do better. The second time we split, we fought so much that things were being thrown, and our throats were sore from screaming at each other. For the (now two) kids’ sake, I said we can’t keep fighting and left again.

Here’s the problem now. While we were separated, I fell deeply in love with a married man. We would talk about our troubled lives and build each other up. Every time I see him, the feeling is like thunder in my heart. But for the sake of our marriages and our children, we went back to our spouses. That was mainly his choice, and although I hung on his every word with disappointment, I agreed.

It’s been a year since my husband and I reconciled, and I stopped speaking to the other man. But I wake up with him on my mind, and he’s in my thoughts 24/7. What’s wrong with me? – Guilty Conscience

Dear Guilty: It’s understandable that you miss the way the other man made you feel, especially because your marriage still seems shaky. However, you have made a commitment to your relationship (and the other man has done the same for his), and you must try to find a way to redirect your emotional energy back to your husband. Problems within a marriage do not magically disappear.

Please get counseling, with or without your husband, and work on the issues that undermine your focus. Do it for your children, if not for yourself.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox @comcast.net.


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