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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: My husband, “Owen,” took early retirement so he could spend four months every winter in his camper, fishing someplace warmer. I had to continue working, as we otherwise would not have had enough money to pay the bills.

About five years ago, Owen decided to rent the camping site for the entire year and began spending more time there. He complained constantly that I was unable to join him, but somehow would not acknowledge that if I quit my job, he would not be able to do what he was doing.

Well, 18 months ago, Owen discovered a female fishing friend, and the two of them spent a great deal of time together. He also became verbally abusive to me. Finally, last fall, Owen admitted he and this woman had a “deep friendship.” He promised to break it off over the winter.

He left me in quite a state and didn’t return home for the holidays. I went into counseling, and was just starting to rebuild myself, when I found out I have cancer. Owen came home, but he left his camper and all of his equipment at the winter resort.

Now I am in the fight of my life, and even though Owen is here, it seems like he is just waiting for me to die. It upsets me to think this way, and I haven’t mentioned anything to Owen, because he surely would deny it.

The mental and emotional strain of having him around is unbelievable. Worse, from time to time, he lashes out at me about some “stupid” thing I did, and his words leave me totally devastated. Should I ask him to leave? – Sick and Hurt

Dear Sick: Have your counselor and your doctor talk to Owen and explain what he needs to do. If he is uncooperative, it might be best to ask him to leave.

Stress is absolutely the last thing you need right now, and it can interfere with your ability to stay strong. We hope there is someone else – a parent, sibling, child, close friend – who can provide emotional support. Also, please contact the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) for help and assistance. We’ll be thinking of you.

Dear Annie: I constantly get into physical fights with my sister, “Beth,” and I have lost several times. It is very embarrassing to be 17 years old and beaten up by a 12-year-old sibling.

My parents don’t know about most of these fights. Do I keep them in the dark while I put up with it for one more year until I move out, or do I tell them? My concern is that telling them will make my relationship with Beth unbearable. How do I go about preventing problems? – Western Bloody Nose

Dear Bloody Nose: You and Beth need a better way to disagree. She may be too immature to control her anger, but you are getting too old for this. Tell your parents about the fighting (without finger-pointing), and ask them to help the two of you work on conflict resolution. You also can discuss it with your school counselor, who should have some training in this area. Things should be better as Beth grows up, but it will help to work on a healthier relationship right now.

Dear Annie: I enjoyed reading the excellent response from Gordon Harper, M.D., about blood types. In his last sentence, he wrote, “caveat lector, sapeat lector.”

As a former classical languages teacher (and still a devotee), I was elated to see such an erudite response. However, it should be caveat lector, sapiat lector. This is a third-conjugation verb, not a second; ergo, it should be “iat” rather than “eat.” Please forgive my picayune pedantry. – Jack E. Custer, Louisville, Ky.

Dear Jack Custer: We love this arcana and are happy to let the scholars battle it out. Nice to know the Latin experts are reading us.

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