Annie's Mailbox: Husband is hiding his sexual past

Dear Annie: I am 28 years old and very much in love with my husband of 11 months. "Mitch" is kind and caring, and I have no doubt in my mind that he loves me. Our sex life is amazing. He is attentive to my needs, and every aspect of our relationship is fantastic. He knows everything about me, yet I'm sure he is keeping secrets. I know without a doubt that he has had sexual encounters with men in the past.

Most women wouldn't be so accepting, but it doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the lying. I have confronted Mitch on several occasions, only to be faced with anger, denial, accusations of mistrust and so on. I know he doesn't want to hurt me, but I hate that he has to lie about it. I'm not sure whether the denial means he's embarrassed by his past actions or still having secret encounters with men.

I don't want to lose him, but if I continue to bring up the subject, he will keep lying and that will be the end of our marriage. How can I get Mitch to open up and share his past with me? I trust him. All I want is for him to trust me.

- In Love

Dear In Love: There are several things going on here. First - why are you so certain Mitch has had homosexual encounters? Perhaps he isn't in denial. Perhaps he is telling you the truth. Second - if you are correct, it means Mitch is bisexual and any extramarital trysts, past or future, gay or straight, put you at risk of contracting an STD. Third, you must stop badgering him. Your constant demands that he "open up" are driving him away. And it's obvious that you don't, in fact, trust him because you believe he is keeping secrets and aren't sure that he's not still sleeping around.

Tell Mitch you are having some trust issues and would like him to go with you for counseling.

Dear Annie: My beautiful 34-year-old sister has been developing some sort of pigmentation on her face. It started right after she had her first baby eight years ago, and now she develops some discoloration on her face every summer.

I have seen her crying about this. At work, she has to meet many different executives, and this is affecting her everyday activities. She has seen dermatologists and gone through laser treatments, but nothing seems to work. She has East Indian skin. I love my sister dearly and can't stand to see her suffering like this. Please help.

- Vancouver, Canada

Dear Vancouver: This is not an uncommon problem among those of Asian extraction. It tends to appear after pregnancy and can be aggravated by birth control pills. There is no cure, but your sister can minimize her condition by avoiding the sun and wearing sunscreen even in the winter. You also can recommend she speak to a board certified plastic surgeon for additional suggestions.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Your Faithful Readers," who didn't want a funeral. When I was younger, I thought funerals were barbaric rituals to make mourners suffer more. After my mother died, however, I was comforted to know so many people cared about her and our family. I heard many stories I would never have known had these people not taken the time to come to the funeral. It was both cathartic and heartwarming.

Now, I make it a point to go to the funeral whenever it's someone whose family I know. I tell them what their loved one meant to me or simply express my sympathy for their sorrow. A joy shared is twice a joy, and a sorrow shared is half a sorrow.

- A Louisville Reader

Dear Louisville: You've made some excellent points about the importance of funerals, and we thank you.

Dear Readers: Today is Administrative Professionals Day. If you have assistants who make your job easier, let them know how much they are appreciated.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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