Dear Annie: I have been married to my second husband for six years. While we were dating, he was romantic, thoughtful, caring, hardworking - everything I was looking for. I could count on him to be there for me and help with the stress of being a single parent.
Through the years, I have discovered he is not that guy. He is insecure and controlling. He demanded the passwords to my e-mail and bank accounts, looks at my cell phone call logs, had a tracking device put in my car to monitor where I went and even showed up at my work picnic to secretly observe what I was doing.
My life is an open book, but he had it in his mind that I was cheating on him. He found nothing because there is nothing to find. I have been faithful to him since Day One. He has gone for counseling, and it helped some, but he still gets angry if a man looks at me for more than a second or talks to me too long. He gets upset if someone says I look younger than my age or that he looks older. He yells, blows things way out of proportion and accuses me of behaving inappropriately. I am really getting tired of it.
His insecurities come from his past relationships. Do you think he will ever get over this nonsense? If he doesn't, he will certainly drive me away.
- Good Wife from Iowa
Dear Iowa: Your husband displays traits of a potential abuser and could become dangerous. He needs therapy on an ongoing basis in order to learn how to let go of damaging behavior and embrace healthier responses to his insecurities. If he is willing to work on this and you see definite improvement, there is hope. Otherwise, he is likely to get worse and so is your marriage. Be careful.
Dear Annie: When my widowed father developed some health issues, I drove halfway across the country to bring him to my home to take care of him. It was supposed to be temporary.
It has now been six months, and Dad shows no desire to return home. Worse, he smokes in our house, is disrespectful to my husband and me, and drinks every day to the point of passing out. He refuses to get a job or contribute to the household. I don't want to put him out on the street, but what else can I do?
- Texas Tina
Dear Tina: If your father is able-bodied, there is no reason he needs to live with you, especially if he smokes, drinks, refuses to help out and generally makes you miserable. Drive him back home, or suggest he put his house on the market and use the proceeds to rent an inexpensive apartment. He's probably depressed and would benefit from counseling and A.A. We hope you will look into that for him, but make it clear you will no longer enable his self-destructive behavior.
Dear Annie: "Baby Mama," the 19-year-old who wants to have a baby, is all that is wrong with today's society. She doesn't seem to realize having a baby will rob her of her youth. Phhhhhht! Gone. And forget any further education - which means menial jobs with low pay and another child in a poor home. How will she afford this baby? Every 19-year-old I know can barely afford a running vehicle.
She wants one because her friends have one, as if a child is the latest cell phone. Talk about immature. She wants a child without any real commitment from her boyfriend. Do these women ever think about consequences? Pregnancy is a huge decision, not to mention a huge responsibility. Get married. Get settled. Mature beyond craving "wants" that involve another human life. Sheesh, I can only shake my head.