Annie's Mailbox: Husband’s friend stays over too often

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Dear Annie: For the five years I have been married to “Joe,” I have had the dubious privilege of enduring frequent, spur-of-the-moment overnight visits from his best friend of 40 years. Joe says “Derek” comes two or three times a week because he is too drunk to drive home. Derek is a married man with a family.

A few weeks ago when my husband’s snoring was too much, I slept on the sofa. Derek came through to use the bathroom, and I could sense him staring at me and hear his breathing. He stood there for quite some time. An hour later, he came back. I was so desperate to get out of the house that I went to work three hours early.

At first, I didn’t tell Joe because I was afraid he wouldn’t believe me, or that he would somehow make me feel as if I were overreacting — which is exactly what happened when I finally mentioned it.

I have repeatedly asked my husband to curtail some of these visits, but he won’t. Finally, two nights ago, I gave him the ultimatum — Derek or me. He countered with, “How about he comes once a week?”

I don’t really want to leave my husband. I have no place to go and have invested too much time and money in this relationship and in this house. Joe is a kind, generous, gullible person, and I believe Derek takes advantage of him. Derek’s marital problems shouldn’t become mine. Derek’s wife is aware of how unhappy I am, but she apparently likes to get him out of the house. Am I overreacting?

— The Bad Guy

Dear Bad Guy: Hardly. Overnight guests who drop by two or three times a week are intrusive. If Joe were single, he could do as he pleased, but he has an obligation to be considerate of the woman who is sharing his home. He may believe once a week is a reasonable compromise, but it’s still too often to put up with a man who watches you while you sleep. Tell Joe the only way Derek can fix his marriage is by going home and dealing with it. Then put your foot down, and tell him your compromise is once a month. Any more and you are staying at a hotel.

Dear Annie: A good friend of mine has a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. Her husband has a monthly subscription to Playboy magazine. She also enjoys the magazine. OK, it’s their business.

My problem is, she leaves it on the kitchen counter and lets her children thumb through it. She says the human body is beautiful and there is nothing wrong with looking at the pictures. I disagree. I don’t believe this magazine is appropriate for children. It is provocative and soft-core pornography. Am I a prude?

— Too Much

Dear Too Much: The photos in these magazines are intended to titillate and excite. They objectify women and can give young girls an unrealistic body image and teach them that their job is to sexually satisfy men. You might point these things out to your friend for her daughter’s sake, but beyond that, please stay out of it.

Dear Annie: You missed the boat when you told “Husband of a Sudden Bisexual” that his marriage may not be reconcilable if his wife is bisexual. Bisexual people are just as inclined toward monogamy as anyone else. Millions of bisexuals may be getting fishy looks from their partners over the breakfast table because of your claim. Please set the record straight.

— Happy Monogamous Bisexual

Dear Bisexual: We didn’t mean to give the impression that bisexuals cannot be monogamous. But a wife who cheats with two partners doesn’t seem inclined toward monogamy, and a husband who is surprised to discover she is bisexual may not be willing to reconcile. That was our point. Sorry it wasn’t clear.

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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