Dear Annie: Last week, I made a shocking discovery while cleaning my bedroom. My husband had several pornographic tapes that he had recorded from the adult-channel network.
We work opposite shifts and see each other only on weekends. I had no idea he was keeping this pornography in our house. We've been married 30 years and have always enjoyed a healthy sex life. After this discovery, I can barely stand to have him touch me. I could never compete with the women in these tapes. I assume that when he is making love with me, he is actually thinking of all that pornography.
When I confronted him, he said he was only curious and did not mean to hurt me. I loved this man, but his "curiosity" has changed how I feel about our life together. When I am at work, I can't help imagining that he is at home watching this stuff. I am thinking of leaving him. Our kids are grown, and I can support myself. What do you say? -- Devastated Wife
Dear Devastated: We know this must have been horrifying for you, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.
It is not unusual for men to be interested in pornography, and it doesn't have to destroy your marriage (provided he isn't addicted, it doesn't involve anything illegal or indicate a sexual orientation of which you were unaware). Most normal men do not prefer pornography to their wives. In fact, some couples watch porn together as a way of "getting in the mood."
We suspect you are upset less about the porn and more that this was kept from you. It's as if your husband had a secret life, and it seems like a betrayal. Ask him to go with you for marriage counseling so you can work this out and put it behind you.
We think 30 years is worth the effort, don't you?
Dear Annie: I am the single mother of a 20-year-old daughter who works full time and no longer lives at home.
The problem is, "Vanessa" met a divorced man 30 years her senior and has been going out with him for a year. She will only tell me his first name, so I'm not able to contact him. I would like to talk to this man and break up the relationship, but I don't want Vanessa to turn against me.
I have tried a number of times to talk some sense into her, without success. How can I resolve this problem? -- Need Help
Dear Need Help: One of the hardest things about parenting is letting your adult child make her own mistakes. Vanessa knows how you feel about her boyfriend.
Beyond that, she gets to make her own choices -- good or bad. Maybe if you back off, she'll stop pulling in the other direction. If not, be there to pick up the pieces.
Dear Annie: This is for "Crunching Numbers in North Dakota," who asked how it was possible for a couple to afford a wedding these days. When my wife and I became engaged, I was a poor student, and she was a low-level office clerk. Her family had no money to help, and mine was adamantly against the wedding.
We had the reception in a local American Legion hall, picked lilacs from the yards of friends and family members, served champagne in plastic cups, and had home-cooked food. It didn't cost much, but a good time was had by all.
That was 25 years ago. It is the time, effort and love you put into the marriage, not the money you put into the reception, that makes it great. My only concern is that we have two teenage daughters, and I shudder to think of the cost of resolving any long-suppressed wedding urges my wife might be hiding. -- Life is Good in Boston
Dear Boston: You are the voice of reason in an age of excess. Thanks.
"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.