Annie's Mailbox: A 76-Year-Old Mother of Two
Dear Annie: My wife of 30 years is a manager at a large company. Over the past several months, she has been working with a divorced male colleague who is constantly texting, phoning, emailing and Facebook messaging her.
At first, I thought nothing about the invasion of privacy. But when the contact was after business hours and on weekends, I began to wonder if there was something else I needed to be concerned about. I have asked my wife to keep her contact with him to business hours, but she insists their chatter is work related and there is nothing going on between them.
The two of them have been assigned a major project that will take at least three years to complete and will involve a small amount of travel. Our relationship has always been solid, but this is getting to me. What do you recommend? -- Concerned
Dear Concerned: This work relationship is ringing all kinds of bells in your head, justified or not, and those fears can damage your marriage. Tell your wife you need reassurance, and this involves transparency. Ask her to share the texts and emails (past and present) from her co-worker. She should have no reason to hide them from you. But please don't overreact to mildly personal banter. A lot of that is perfectly normal in a work relationship, and if you trust your wife, you should have no cause to doubt her fidelity.
Dear Annie: I love reading Annie's Mailbox. But I strongly feel that you did not sufficiently help "Cut Off in Montreal." He said he's been married 21 years and that his wife withholds sex any time they argue. She also refuses to discuss it.
While all his problems are probably legitimate, your answer failed to note the most important reason that his wife is likely frustrated with and resentful of him, and as a result, cannot engage in sex with him. The fact that she brings up old grievances shows that she is extremely unhappy. Most women I know associate sex with love. Could it be that she does not feel cherished or cared for when she is suffering? That he doesn't listen to her when she is sad? That she needs to be cuddled or cajoled? That he's never said, "Come here and let me give you a hug"?
Sometimes a man feels "attacked" when his partner complains when, in fact, all the woman is looking for is a bit of nonsexual affection. You cannot have sex with someone you resent or feel insecure with. She is not withholding sex to punish him. She does it because she feels no tenderness from him.
Please address the fact that his wife most definitely feels unloved. She is angry, frustrated and resentful, because he does not cherish her. At least that is how she sees it. -- A 76-Year-Old Mother of Two
Dear Mother: You could be right, although you are making a lot of assumptions. Many men do not realize how much emotional caring a woman needs in order to feel loved. However, if you are right, the wife needs to clearly communicate what her emotional needs are so that her husband understands. (After 21 years, he's not going to figure it out on his own.) The major stumbling block is that his wife is unwilling to make the effort and refuses to discuss it.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.