Annie’s Mailbox: Miserable in my 4th marriage |

Annie’s Mailbox: Miserable in my 4th marriage

Dear Annie: I am in my 60s, in good health, and have been married five years. This is my fourth marriage and I find myself miserable. My husband is good to me, and I know a lot of women would eagerly trade places. But I am ashamed to say I do not love him, nor have I ever loved any man.

I am most certainly straight and have three children by a previous husband. I am simply the type of person who prefers being alone. However, I am much better off financially being married. Are there other women out there who feel like I do? Please give me some insight.

– Unhappy in Louisiana

Dear Unhappy: There are many women who have little interest in marriage, but there is tremendous social pressure for them to marry and have children regardless. Also, too many women define their self-worth in terms of their ability to snag a husband. And if a woman wants children, it is more complicated to support and care for them alone.

Being in love is not the only criterion for a satisfying marriage. Your husband is good to you. Do you treat him well? If so and he is happy, discuss your preference for spending more time alone. He may be more accommodating than you think. And if he is not happy, he deserves to be with someone who will love him and show it.

Dear Annie: One of the married women in our social group chose not to have children. Whenever she hears about someone else’s child having problems with the law, drugs or some other sad situation, she always says, “It just makes me realize how lucky I am.”

Those of us who love our children and are proud of them are offended by this remark. What do we say to her?

– Louisville

Dear Louisville: It sounds as if your friend needs to reassure herself that she made the right choice. Simply say, “You know, Doris, some of us have wonderful children, and we feel fortunate and grateful that they are part of our lives. I wish you could appreciate that.”

Dear Annie: You can add one more response to the letter from “Trying My Best,” whose boss criticized her hair after chemo treatments. Nine years ago, my wife lost her battle with cancer. She also endured harsh, unfeeling treatment at work. The week we learned that additional treatment would not prolong her life, she came home in tears because of a particularly nasty comment from a co-worker.

The next day, I accompanied my wife to her office and asked the supervisor for permission to address those co-workers. The supervisor was clueless about what had been going on. I said, “My name is Jay, and I’m Jena’s husband. I love her with all my heart, but we found out this week she is dying, and there is nothing more that can be done.” The silence was deafening. I took my wife’s hand, told her I loved her and said if she didn’t want to work there anymore, she could come home so I could take care of her. With tears in her eyes, she replied, “Let’s go.”

By the time we arrived home, our answering machine was full of kind messages from her co-workers. The supervisor came by a week later to see how she was doing and informed us that three employees had been fired for “creating a hostile work environment.” She also gently chided Jena for not bringing it to her attention.

My wife died in my arms six weeks later. She had forgiven them, and so have I. To all the survivors out there, take heart. Every day that goes by will give you a little more strength to get through.

– Still in Pain But Moving On

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