Dear Annie: My wife of nearly 30 years and I are having some difficulties. Recently, she asked whether I wanted to go to Rome for a business conference. She thought we could see the sights afterward. I said yes, as I’m recently retired and have plenty of time.
However, a few weeks later, I was uninvited. She said I wouldn’t enjoy the weather. Last week, I discovered that she is staying an extra day with someone else. She made these plans long before she disinvited me. Yesterday, she told me that a woman from work is staying with her for an extra day. I’ve never heard this woman’s name before. These meetings are held once a year in different locations, but this is the first time she has stayed any extra time.
Additionally, over the past year, her behavior at work has changed. She has started wearing makeup and nicer clothes. She mentions taking walks with some guy or another and having coffee or lunch with some other guy. I’m sure taking a walk with Peter or having coffee with Paul and casual conversations with Larry are innocent enough. But I’ve noticed that these same guys only interact with attractive women like my wife.
My wife doesn’t see a problem, but I know how guys think. I worry that my wife is looking beyond me. Am I worrying about nothing? — Anxious in Davis, Calif.
Dear Anxious: The fact that your wife wants to be more attractive at work is not necessarily a problem. A lot of married people enjoy flirting for the attention and have no interest in pursuing things further. However, when your wife disinvites you to a trip to Europe and then stays an extra day, we would be concerned that she intends to party. Things can get out of hand when you are far away from your spouse and want to impress your work friends with how wild and crazy (and young) you are. It’s time to have an honest conversation with your wife about your concerns. If she refuses to explain herself, counseling is the next step.
Dear Annie: I have a big problem. I am only 49 and have been married twice. My first wife passed away 10 years ago in May, and I am still mourning her death.
My new wife of seven years doesn’t think it’s normal that I still think about my first wife all the time. Can you help me deal with her death so I can move on and live a better life? — Still Grieving
Dear Still: There is no timetable for grief, but if you haven’t moved much beyond your initial stages of mourning after 10 years, it’s time to seek professional guidance. It is normal to think about your first wife on occasion, but it is not normal to obsess over her, cry daily, turn her closet into a shrine or constantly compare her to your current wife. If you are doing any of these things, please ask your doctor to refer you to a grief counselor.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Two Scared Parents” motivated me to speak up. People don’t seem to understand that alcoholism is an illness. I am an alcoholic with many years of sobriety. I attend AA meetings and have been to Al-Anon meetings.
People whose loved ones have other serious diseases research to find out all they can about the disease. They are usually eager to learn in order to help. So why is it that when it comes to the deadly disease of alcoholism, the family complains, makes excuses and takes no action? They expect the sick person, the one who cannot think clearly due to alcohol in the brain cells, to be logical. When I ask, “Why don’t you go to Al-Anon?” they tell me it’s not their problem.
I realize it’s hard to understand that it is a disease. Please, dear friends, go find out all you can about alcoholism. Take action to help yourself. — Anonymous
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.