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Spying on spouse reflects lack of trust

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am married with two very young children. I recently found out that my husband, who is 45, has been e-mailing his old college girlfriend, “Patrice.”

Patrice’s husband recently left her and her children. My husband hasn’t once mentioned that he corresponds with her. I know because occasionally I’m curious enough about his bad moods to go and check his BlackBerry.

Patrice initiated the e-mailing and started out writing about her loneliness and how terribly unhappy she is. However, with each lengthy, daily e-mail, she becomes more flirtatious and happy that he writes (and calls) her, and it’s only been two weeks. She invites him to see her and signs off with “big kisses” written over and over, saying she wants to embrace him. My husband’s responses don’t actually encourage a romance, but he certainly wants her to keep writing.

I believe the fact that he is indulging her (secretly) is not healthy for our marriage. I would rather not confront him, because he would simply change the password on his BlackBerry, and I’d be in the dark. Any advice? – Wife and Mother

Dear Wife: It doesn’t sound as if Hubby is cheating with Patrice, but he obviously enjoys the flirting and the flattery. Regardless, any time a woman resorts to spying on her husband, it means there is a trust issue in the marriage. Even if your husband is innocent, your constant snooping undermines the relationship because it means you are hiding things from each other. Please, before this goes any further, get some outside help and ask your husband to go with you. Say it’s because you are feeling insecure and want to strengthen your marriage.

Dear Annie: I am a mom who works outside the home. I enjoy exercising to stay in shape, so I get up early to jog outside. The problem is that a neighbor has taken it upon herself to join me. She shows up nearly every morning, and frankly, I find it quite annoying. She can’t keep up with my pace and yaps the entire time.

I want this time to myself. I love being outdoors and shouldn’t have to change my routine. How can I get this woman to stop intruding on my exercise time? – Ready To Turn in the Shoes in Wisconsin

Dear Wisconsin: Many people like to exercise with a friend because it makes the time go quicker. Your neighbor has no idea that you are annoyed by her presence. Tell her, “I wish I could chat, but my morning jogs are so time- constrained that I really have to get moving. Maybe we can see each other later.” Either that or run faster.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “T.G. in Simi Valley, Calif.,” who has encountered difficulty when taking her 81-year-old mother out to eat. I’d like to offer advice. My family has a similar problem with my 89-year-old grandfather. When we take him out, we ask for an appropriate table when we make the reservations. Otherwise, we try to take those meals a little earlier in order to avoid the rush, and sometimes I’m sent ahead to the restaurant to secure a table.

Most restaurants are happy to give us a table near the door when I explain why we need one, and a minor schedule adjustment makes the whole trip much easier and more enjoyable for all of us. – K.T. in Omaha, Neb.

Dear Omaha: Thank you for offering your experience on the subject. A little planning can alleviate a great deal of inconvenience.

Dear Readers: Today is Flag Day and the 26th annual Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance at 4 p.m., Pacific time.

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