Dear Annie: My husband has always been very controlling. I feel as though he puts me in a box and only lets me out when he decides it’s necessary. He always has to know who I am talking to and where I am every minute of every day. He is obsessive when it comes to texting and calling me, and if I don’t respond fast enough, he gets upset.
He has a very short fuse, but has never hit or shoved me or done anything physical. He doesn’t believe I should talk about our issues with friends or family, only with him. But when I try, he says he isn’t doing anything wrong and that I’m the one with a problem. He won’t go for marriage counseling. A few close friends and some family members are aware of what goes on and agree it is not right.
I’ve tried leaving a few times, but always return when he claims he will change. But, Annie, I know he will never change and don’t understand why I haven’t just left permanently. Of course, money is part of the problem, and we have two small children. I work full-time and still can’t make ends meet. I understand there is state aid to help me, but was told the waiting list is long, and it would be a year before I could get into any housing. I can’t live with my family. There’s no room.
I’ve always been an optimistic person, but I’ve become depressed over this. I keep to myself a lot. I realize now that this is how my husband was raised. He needs to be the center of attention at all times, and his parents believe he walks on water. Is there any hope to make this work? — Any Light at the End of My Tunnel?
Dear Light: It can only work if your husband agrees to counseling so he can learn to loosen the chains. The fact that your husband hasn’t hit you yet doesn’t mean he won’t. Many controlling spouses become physical abusers over time. And abusers can be quite persuasive and charming when they need to be, which is why you keep going back to him. Please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 800-799-SAFE and ask for help.
Dear Annie: A friend of mine told me she is visiting family members in the Middle East for the summer. I wished her well and told her to contact me once she arrived. Three days later, I received an email from her stating that she’s made it! Yet, my gut instinct tells me that she’s no more than 10 minutes away from her house. When I hit “more” by her email, I noticed that her IP address is the same as it is when she’s home.
Is it possible for her to maintain the same IP address while overseas? — With Great Concern
Dear Concern: Unless you are amazingly tech savvy, hitting “more” did not give you her IP address. More likely, it gave you the IP address of her email provider, which would not have changed from her previous email, regardless of her location. That means yes, she can have the same IP address you saw whether she is home or in the Middle East. So, the more important question is: Why are you so determined to believe that your friend is lying? It sounds as if you begrudge her this trip.
Dear Annie: After reading the letter from “Can’t Please Mother” I had to write. My mother was the same. She never appreciated a gift and always returned it or gave it away. My father gave her some wonderful presents, but she was never grateful. One year, Dad gave her a shotgun for her birthday. He was delighted when she gave it back to him. He kept it. — T.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.