Dear Annie: My wife and I have been happily married for eight years. This is a third marriage for both of us.
A few months back, my wife found that I had been visiting Internet porn sites. She became very upset and said this was the same as having sex outside of marriage.
This is something I’m not proud of and resolved not to do it again. Well, a few days back, in a moment of weakness, I typed in “nude beach.” She says this is the same as a porn site. I feel it isn’t, because it is a public beach.
Seeing how much pain I caused my wife, I won’t go to that site again. However, I would like your opinion. Is this the same as adultery? — No Cheater
Dear No Cheater: Deliberately searching out “nude beach” is a way to look for naked bodies without using the word “porn,” but the effect is similar. And while looking at naked bodies is not the same as adultery, it is still a betrayal if it hurts your wife and you have broken your promise to stop. And if you are interacting in real time with real women online, we would consider that a form of cheating. You seem to have a problem with pornography. If you cannot stay away from it, consider that you may have an addiction that requires treatment.
Dear Annie: My husband is a control freak in a way that I do not understand. For example, he takes me shopping to purchase expensive jewelry that I do not want but that he insists I get.
Recently, my dad moved close by. I told my husband I was going to visit Dad, and he became angry, stating that we don’t have the money to visit relatives. He said he would cancel the gas credit cards if I went. How should a sane person deal with this idiocy? — Confused in Connecticut
Dear Confused: If this is recent behavior, please ask your husband to get a complete physical from his doctor. Sometimes there is a physical or neurological reason for a bizarre change in behavior. Otherwise, consider that your husband may be trying to isolate you, the mark of a potential abuser, and using the jewelry to assuage your concerns. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 800-799-7233 can help you sort it out.
Dear Annie: I take issue with your response to “Tired of Rude Family in Carolina,” whose inconsiderate sister and niece refuse to inform the hostess when they are bringing an additional guest (usually the niece’s boyfriend) to dinner.
The uninvited boyfriend is probably unaware of these family dynamics. Why not seat him where the inconsiderate sister would have been, next to the niece, and put the sister on the piano bench with a paper plate? After a few times of putting the sister in the hot seat, she just might get it. — JM in Tennessee
Dear J.M.: We think if the boyfriend is always being shoved into an extra chair, he is well aware of the difficulty his presence causes. However, you are absolutely right that the sister should take the hit. Read on:
Dear Annie: If this sister brings an uninvited guest to dinner every time, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Just set an extra setting as a matter of course. For many people, there is a long held tradition of setting a place for Jesus. If someone extra shows up, they are welcomed, and that is the seat they are given.
Dear Annie: I would set up a card table and put place settings of paper plates, plastic utensils and two chairs. When the “late sis” arrived, I would drape a towel over my arm and escort them to their “reserved table.” I’d put a candle in the middle, just for a little class. — Florida
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.