Annie’s Mailbox for March 12, 2011: Boyfriend told old neighbor ‘I love you’ |

Annie’s Mailbox for March 12, 2011: Boyfriend told old neighbor ‘I love you’

Dear Annie: I am 55 and have been in a relationship with “Don” for two years. Don was trying to fix up a friend, so he called this woman who used to be his neighbor 20 years ago. He told her he had a girlfriend, but said nothing about the fact that I was standing right there. She ended the telephone call with, “Love you,” and he mumbled softly back, “Love you.” He didn’t want me to hear.

His defense was that he has known this woman for 25 years and she always ends her conversations this way and he just repeats it. He claims I am insecure. He says he only loves me and would never play mind games. He also claims this woman will always just be a friend and nothing more.

I told him that out of respect for me, he shouldn’t have said “love you” back to her. At least he shouldn’t have tried to hide it from me. What do you think?

— Doris

Dear Doris: We think you should let this slide and forget about it. Don mumbled because he was embarrassed to have you overhear something he used to say to an old friend and knew you wouldn’t like. He isn’t trying to hide an affair or rekindle an old flame. You can choose to make a fuss over this and create a problem or show Don what an understanding gal you are and let him off the hook.

Dear Annie: One of my personal goals this year is to become a more positive person. A suggestion I’ve come across repeatedly is to surround myself with happy, positive people.

Unfortunately, the person I spend the most time with, my husband, is one of the most pessimistic people I know. There isn’t a single aspect of life in which he doesn’t see the negative. Even activities we used to enjoy have become a source of frustration when they don’t go exactly as planned.

I have tried to discuss this with him and have even taken on the household chores that he despises in an attempt to lower his stress levels. Nothing helps, and now I am physically and emotionally exhausted. It is difficult enough to keep myself energized and upbeat without having to constantly do the same for him.

I love him and don’t want to see our marriage fall apart, but I fear that if something doesn’t change soon, he is going to sink into a deep level of unhappiness and drag me along with him. What else can I do?

— Positively Unhappy Wife

Dear Unhappy: Your husband sounds one step past curmudgeon. He may be depressed. Tell him he doesn’t seem to be enjoying his life, and ask him to make an appointment to talk about it with his doctor. He could use some help.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Emotionally Drained,” whose mentally ill husband is emotionally abusive. I am still married to my husband, and I am convinced he is mentally ill.

I stayed to raise the kids, who now rarely visit. It was not worth the emotional damage that was inflicted on them for the few positive things their father offered. Maybe her husband is a narcissistic egomaniac like mine, who criticized his kids’ athletic skills until they both quit sports. Maybe he is bipolar like mine, with mood swings and spending sprees that left us broke. Maybe he is just cruel. But I guarantee it is not going to get any easier if she stays. I used to love him, but now I simply tolerate him.

— Still Here Doing This

Dear Still Here: It’s never too late to change your circumstances. Please talk to a counselor and see what you can do.

Dear Readers: Remember to set your clocks ahead before you go to sleep tonight. And please change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

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