Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for more than 50 years and once had a very enjoyable and compatible sex life, even though my husband didn’t want any children and refused to discuss it.
After 27 years of wedded bliss, my husband had major surgery. He developed erectile dysfunction and became afraid of dying. Our sex life ended. But he was depressed and began drinking heavily, especially when he retired early for health reasons.
Recently, while going through some paperwork, I came across a handwritten note with a great deal of sexual innuendo, and it was not directed at me. This totally shocked me. The note was written about 10 years ago. I asked him to explain the note, and of course, he denied he wrote it and became very agitated, claiming he always has been faithful in our marriage.
After being an understanding wife all of these years, I now question whether he can be trusted. What should I do? He will never go to a marriage counselor. — Upset in Illinois
Dear Upset: This note is 10 years old and doesn’t say very much. Your husband is not likely to admit to anything, and in fact, there may be nothing to confess. Either forgive his failings and concentrate on the good marriage you claim to have had, or get into counseling for yourself and decide what your next move is. We think the note is not evidence of a betrayal, and you should let it go.
Dear Annie: My 50-year-old son was just divorced for the second time. I love both of his exes as friends, and they are nice women. But he told me that I am not to speak to them anymore.
I never thought his divorcing his wives meant they divorced the rest of the family. I love my son, but I don’t like his demand. What is your advice? — Nantucket
Dear Nantucket: We dislike it when people issue demands to others about who their friends can be. Are there grandchildren involved? If so, inform your son that it is necessary to maintain a civil relationship with his exes for the sake of the children. Otherwise, determine what the consequences will be. If your son threatens to cut off contact with you if you communicate with his exes, you might choose to stop.
Dear Annie: I’m writing about the letter from “Heartbroken,” whose fiance broke off their engagement after he discovered that she kissed another guy while drinking and dancing in a bar. Good for him. She is not ready to be married or in any type of committed relationship. She is selfish, disloyal and lacking in self-control.
In bars and clubs, the atmosphere is highly sexual, and in my opinion, just going there is a form of cheating because you’re looking to flirt. My guess is she did more than just kiss this guy, but that was the only part her fiance found out about. She probably doesn’t feel obligated to be more honest than that.
We have lost an understanding of what makes a true, loving relationship. It is built on trust, loyalty, sacrifice, kindness and a love that makes us want to protect our partner from hurt, a love that builds them up and gives them the confidence to be better.
”Heartbroken’s” fiance saw the writing on the wall. If he isn’t enough for her in the honeymoon stage of their relationship, how will she behave in five or 10 years, when their lives have fallen into the daily grind that happens in all long-term relationships? What scares me the most is that she and so many others feel that what she did is no big deal. — All About Respect
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.