Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years. Our problems started to surface in the past six months. My husband said I had a “bad side,” so I went into counseling because I didn’t like that part of my personality.
After my counselor mentioned PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), I did a lot of research and started taking supplements. I also saw my primary care physician to rule out a hormonal imbalance and depression. She prescribed an antidepressant that I can take on an as-needed basis.
Here’s what’s bothering me. What if it’s not me? What if it is really the relationship that needs fixing? You would think after 19 years of living with somebody there would not be any secrecy or withholding of information because one of us is afraid of how the other will react. But now I fear I’ve damaged our marriage beyond repair. What can I do?
— Moody in Kansas
Dear Kansas: You can stop jumping to conclusions. If you have a hormonal imbalance, PMDD, depression or other treatable condition, medication will help enormously and your husband should be thrilled. If there are other problems in the relationship, they won’t disappear because you are afraid to talk about them. You must have the courage to communicate honestly so these issues can be dealt with.
Long-term emotional upheaval can be corrosive to a marriage, but you have an opportunity to make things better. Please ask your husband to come with you for counseling so he can understand what is happening and you can work on it together.
Dear Annie: Recently, a terrible thing happened in our state. The body of a young woman was found on the beach in front of a landmark hotel, and a convicted felon is being held for her murder. From her pictures, she looked like a bright young woman, the type any family would be proud of.
I imagine her family is grief stricken that a life so full of promise was snuffed out. I don’t mean to blame the victim, but young women far from home are often under the spell of a beautiful and exotic island. I think they lose all caution and feel free to do things they would think twice about before doing back home.
The man the authorities arrested had been released from prison the day before the body was found. He was probably looking for a vulnerable and unsuspecting girl out for a good time. Drugs and casual sex were involved. Now the young woman is gone forever. What a tragedy.
Winter vacations are coming up, and next summer, high-school seniors will celebrate graduation by traveling far from home. It is my wish that teachers and parents will spend some time warning them to be cautious of those they meet. We want them to have a wonderful time, but more than anything, we want them to return home safely.
Dear Honolulu: Thank you for reminding our readers to warn their children that they are not invulnerable and that they need to understand the risks so they can take the necessary precautions. Our condolences to the parents of that young woman.
Dear Annie: Like “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” my husband and I are recovering alcoholics. When we told our friends and co-workers, we stopped receiving invitations to events because people assumed we wouldn’t attend.
Sobriety takes time. Eventually, “Rock” will be able to be comfortable in places where alcohol is served, but until then, he is wise to keep away. What we found helpful was to tell co-workers ahead of time that we could only stay for a short while, and then enjoy a soda and leave. This way, we make the attempt to socialize but have given ourselves an out if we start to feel the urge to drink.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.