Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Depressed Hubby

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My wife, "Nicole," had an affair with a co-worker last year. When I found out, I was devastated, and I still have emotional problems because of it. We have four children, so we worked it out the best we could.

Nicole continued to work at the same place with this same co-worker for a short time after I found out, and it was killing me every time she went to her office. A few months ago, she finally found another job.

Recently, Nicole's old boss called and asked if she could fill in temporarily. Nicole asked me if this would be a problem. I never demand things of her, but I did express my feelings that I hoped she could move on and let that past go. Frankly, I don't understand how she could even want to go back into that situation if she really wishes to hold our marriage together.

It's like this affair will never go away. I don't want her around this man ever again. Do you think Nicole wants to revisit a fantasy? Am I being unreasonable to ask her not to do this, or is she taking our relationship for granted? -- Depressed Hubby

Dear Hubby: Nicole probably thinks she can avoid temptation while helping her old boss, but she would be foolish to put herself in that position. More importantly, knowing how nervous it makes you, she should not give it the slightest consideration. Nicole owes it to you to do whatever is necessary to regain your trust.

Make it clear that if she decides to return to that office, you will make an appointment with a marriage counselor, because your relationship obviously needs more work.

Dear Annie: My sister-in-law lives a few blocks away and is very well-off. She throws large birthday parties for her four sons and invites tons of people. She hounds us to attend and makes a big deal if we don't.

My issue is this: She never sends a gift or card to any of our four children on their birthdays. When we throw a party, she always has an excuse not to show up.

I am tired of going to her parties when she is so thoughtless and selfish. My husband doesn't want to start anything, so he asks me to ignore her behavior and attend the parties. I've had five years of this, and that's enough. Even my children notice the disparity.


What would be a good way to approach her behavior without hurting my nephews? -- Frustrated In-Law

Dear Frustrated: You can't make your sister-in-law a more considerate aunt. Please continue to send cards and gifts to your nephews, whether or not you attend the parties. And don't let her browbeat you into showing up. If you keep repeating, "So sorry, we have plans," she'll eventually accept it. The key is to remain sweet and kind, no matter how angry she becomes. She'll look like a raving lunatic, and you'll be the picture of sainthood.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Depressed and Embarrassed," who suffered from mental illness and was on disability. People didn't believe anything was wrong.

I am a suicidal depressive and suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Four years ago, I had a major breakdown and decided then that I would no longer continue to hide. Most people do not understand mental illness, so I explain my condition to almost anyone who asks. Not everyone is receptive, but I owe it to every person with the illness to broaden the public's understanding of the affliction.

If "Depressed" is embarrassed about her condition, it suggests she has not yet come to terms with it. -- Depressed But Honest in North Carolina

Dear Honest: You may be right, but whether or not to discuss a personal issue is up to the individual. Additional pressure to talk about it won't help.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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