Dear Annie: I’ve known my husband for 16 years, and we have been married for the past seven. He is basically a good man, but he has an awful temper and also is an addict.
I’ve been patient with him because of the terrible childhood he had (his mom died when he was a toddler), so the problem with addiction is understandable. He cleaned up a few years ago and things were great until he relapsed. With his temper on top of the addiction, he can be verbally abusive. He says the most awful things about my family and me, and sometimes he does it in front of my children.
If I even mention that he has a problem, we end up arguing. He’s often in a bad mood. My youngest son has health problems, and I had to quit my job a couple of years ago, so now there also is the stress of financial hardship. I try not to fight in front of the kids and sometimes end up crying myself to sleep. I want to keep my family together, but don’t know how much more I can take.
— Hurt and Confused
Dear Hurt: You need to stop making excuses for your husband’s temper and his inability to remain sober. A lot of people have had rotten childhoods, but they don’t end up as addicts and abusers. Tell your husband the marriage is in trouble. You can find low-cost or free counseling through your clergyperson, United Way, the YMCA, local hospitals, university psychology departments and graduate school counseling departments, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (aapc.org), 9504A Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-2303, and the American Counseling Association (counseling.org) at 1-800-347-6647. Get going.
Dear Annie: My wife of 39 years has given me great happiness. During our working years, our sex life was good, but after retiring, it was even better. That is, until I had a major medical problem that resulted in severe erectile dysfunction.
The ED left me depressed and without interest in sex. My wife was depressed, too, and climbing the walls. We tried pills, shots, pumps — nothing worked. We tried being creative, but nothing was as satisfying. Finally, my urologist suggested a penile implant. Now our sex life is great again. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Please tell your readers.
— Happy Again in Sarasota, Fla.
Dear Happy: We are glad you’ve found a way to enjoy intimacy with your wife again. There are many treatments available for erectile dysfunction, and we salute you and your wife for working through this together until it was resolved.
Dear Annie: “Miserable in Missouri” resented her mother-in-law’s dropping in once a month or so. She is a perfect example of what is wrong in America. We have begun to treat our families and older relatives as nuisances instead of precious gifts.
Her mother-in-law is a “lovely person” who has come to her home unannounced four times in three months, and she is ready to scream about it. It sounds to me as if “Miserable” is the one with the problem.
If Mom is lonely, comfort her. If she needs your company, talk to her. I am not against boundaries. I just think this woman needs to have a little more compassion instead of being so selfish.
I am in my 40s with a good job, and I have children, which means I’m busier than she is, and I welcome my mother-in-law any time. If we are in the middle of something when she drops in, we include her. If we need to keep working, she either makes herself busy or comes back later. She is my husband’s mother, and I need to give her my respect and love. Period.
— Gracious Daughter-in-Law
Dear D-I-L: You sound like a saint of a daughter-in-law, and we hope your husband and his mother appreciate you.
Happy Kwanzaa to all our readers.
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, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.