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.
Dear Annie: Who is responsible for the headings on your column? The one I read the other day said, “Son can’t get pass his anxiety issues.” If it is someone on your team of editors, please tell them the correct word is “past.” — C.W.
Dear C.W.: Normally, we would direct editing questions (and spelling mistakes and other such errors) to our editors. However, we receive so many questions about the headings above our column that we would like our readers to know that the headlines, good or bad, are written by someone at your local newspaper. This is not an easy assignment. We think these folks do an outstanding job, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. Of course, that doesn’t mean an occasional mistake doesn’t slip through. If the mistakes happen frequently, you can write or phone your newspaper and mention it.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Concerned Grandparents,” who complained that their daughter and her husband are poor housekeepers.
I have high standards of cleanliness, but am completely unable to attain them. My mother-in-law is horrified that our home is not pristine. I have five children. Imagine the clutter: shoes, coats, sports equipment, you name it! We also have pets and farm animals. We do not have many closets, and we do our best to have organizational systems. There is certainly no mold or bugs, but life is exhausting, and we are trying to enjoy some of it.
”Concerned” says that her daughter does not invite people into her home. I wonder whether the daughter got tired of being berated and stopped inviting the in-laws. That’s what happened to me. I would recommend that “Concerned” be more understanding of the situation and perhaps take the kids for an outing so that the parents have a chance to organize without mess-makers underfoot. My kids are learning to clean, but it certainly isn’t up to my mother-in-law’s standards. — Busy Mom
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.