Dear Annie: I’ve been married to my lovely wife for nine years, and to this day, I can’t get past her gambling habit. It is causing major problems in our marriage.
Once or twice a week when she gets that itch to head to the casino, she loses all the money she earns in our account and then accumulates bank fees and overdraft charges. I’m fed up with her habit and have mentioned that this must stop. She has promised me many times that she will quit, but she hasn’t been successful.
Once I let her go to the casino and told her to spend only a certain amount, and she ended up gambling away $1,000, which she never replaced. I was upset and didn’t speak to her for a few days.
I will be deploying overseas soon, and I’m afraid to leave her to handle our financial affairs. I want to ask my brother to put her on an allowance to pay our bills, but I know she will be upset and ask me to move out. I don’t want to do that. What should I do? — Totally Fed Up
Dear Totally: Your wife has an addiction. Stopping will be impossible unless she admits she has a problem and agrees to get help. Some addicts voluntarily list their names with casinos to prohibit admittance, although it is not a guarantee.
We urge you to separate your accounts so she cannot access money needed to run the household, and put your brother in charge of paying the bills. She may become angry, but your marriage will not survive her continued gambling and the potential loss of your savings. Please contact Gam-Anon (gam-anon.org) for additional information and support.
Dear Annie: Your advice to couples about affairs has a very negative female bias. A little flirting and an affair or two is normal behavior for both men and women.
Your usual advice is to get counseling or break up the relationship. I would advise them to just ignore it. They could have many years of a happy relationship with each other. Why don’t you suggest that alternative? — D.
Dear D.: Most of our readers aren’t big fans of that alternative, whether male or female. If both partners agree that affairs are perfectly fine within their marriage, we have no objection. Or if one partner chooses to overlook the other’s philandering, the couple might stay together, although they are not necessarily happy. In most cases, however, affairs are sneaky betrayals full of lies, and one partner loses out on the intimacy and trust that keep a marriage solid. The partner who cheats may believe the marriage is sufficiently happy, but our mail says otherwise.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Finally at Peace,” who now focuses on the grandchildren they are “close” to instead of mourning the ones they are not.
My husband and I have four beautiful, successful and intelligent children. When our oldest was an infant, my mother-in-law told me that she was not available to babysit, so we didn’t impose. It was difficult to watch Grandma and Grandpa travel many miles to babysit for their other grandchildren and attend their plays and ballgames, while showing little interest in ours, no matter how many times we invited them. When we had them over for Sunday dinner, we had to listen while Grandpa bragged endlessly about his other grandchildren.
Our children have been taught to treat their grandparents with love and respect, but kids catch on to favoritism. I suggest that those grandparents examine their own behavior to see whether they need to change. I’m still hoping my in-laws will realize what they are missing. — Hope To Be a Better Grandparent
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.