Dear Annie: I have been married for three years. Two months after the wedding, I discovered that my husband was cheating with several women. Worse, he confessed that he wasn’t using condoms, and by that time, I was four months pregnant. I was crushed to learn that he was putting our unborn baby’s life at risk.
After that horrible ordeal, we tried to work on our marriage, but I never regained trust in him, and the love I had felt dissipated. Now I’ve discovered that he is cheating again. I can’t even stand to be intimate with him. To kiss him is torture.
I no longer love him and am contemplating leaving. Can you give me some guidance? — My Trust Went Out the Window
Dear Trust: First, if you are still sexually intimate, please use protection, because you cannot trust your husband to do so. Then speak to a lawyer. You need to protect yourself financially. You also need to work out custody, support and visitation arrangements that are in your child’s best interests. Then we hope you will seek counseling to help you understand that your husband’s serial cheating and risky sexual behavior are not your fault and that you deserve better. A good counselor will guide you to move forward with your life without holding onto bitterness and anger.
Dear Annie: My friend and I like to take books out of the library and often carry them to work in order to read at lunch.
The problem is, other co-workers start talking to us even though they see us reading. Sometimes they stare until we look up and engage. We always close our books and take part in the conversation, but it eats up our entire lunch break. I know it’s rude to read at the table when others are talking, but this is the only time we have and the only place other than the bathroom or our cars. And it’s not as if we don’t speak to our co-workers at other times.
These same people read the newspaper, do puzzles and spend time on their phones with no interruption from me, so why do they insist on interrupting people with a book? Are we being rude, or are they? — Reading on My Own Time
Dear Reading: It is rude to read at the table when others are already there and attempting to engage you in conversation. But it is equally rude to crash a table where someone is reading and interrupt them, although these co-workers may assume you read because you have no one to talk to.
You could tell them, “I’d love to talk, but I really must finish this book, and this is the only free time I have.” You and your friend could post a little sign at your lunch table that says, “Reading Room.” You could look for another place to read within the building that is not occupied by people you know. You could go out for lunch to a nearby coffee shop. Or you could read at home.
Dear Annie: This is a response to “BH,” who was irked that her boyfriend’s unpleasant ex-wife invites herself to family events. Many years ago, a dear friend taught me that we can achieve peace by changing our own attitude when we find ourselves dealing with an unpleasant person.
I was bemoaning the latest outrageous behavior by an uncle I couldn’t avoid when “Lenora” interjected, “How sad you must be for him! He must be a deeply unhappy person and have many struggles in life.” Rather than be annoyed, I should feel sorry for him. It completely reoriented my outlook.
This mindset, which I call radical compassion, does not require that we like the person, but it does enable us to maintain our own calm politeness and avoid the pitfalls of trying to force others to make changes they may resent. — More at Peace
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.