Life Advice



Ex Stealing Money?

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My wife left me a little over a year ago. She handled all the finances and was a stay-at-home mom while I worked to earn money. After six months of counseling and her refusing to budge, it was evident the marriage was over.

Upon review of my finances, I discovered that over the last four years of our marriage, she spent 55% of my take-home earnings without my knowledge. For what, I don't know. This amounted to $155,000.

She says it was spent on groceries, gas, gifts and other living expenses, while our family checking account shows those expenses were drawn from it. Another way to put it is this: Combining our family checking account and her spending without my knowledge, 90% of my earnings were spent before a single bill was paid. Is this plausible? Or does some malfeasance seem probable? -- Baffled By Checking Account

Dear Baffled: Good riddance. Consider yourself fortunate to be rid of her. It does sound like she might have been taking money for a separate account or spending it on things you didn't know about. I am sorry that you had to go through that, but now is the time for a new beginning. The best revenge is living well.

Take some time to heal from your divorce and try to focus on things that make you happy. You sound like a wonderful person, and I have no doubt that you will find someone who appreciates you and does not take advantage of your trust and kindness.

Dear Annie: My husband and I were best friends with another couple, but the wife was difficult to be friends with. She criticized many people, some of whom were our mutual friends.

It was uncomfortable to be around her at times, but we had so many common interests that I overlooked a lot of the negatives. Apparently, she had kept a mental list of the things she disliked about me, and when we had our final falling out, she recited all of my transgressions against her.


I told her that we were no longer friends, that I would remain cordial in public but nothing else. Since then, she has acted like I'm invisible. When I spoke to her just to say "hello," she would turn her back to me. Both she and her husband say "hello" to my husband but pretend I'm not there. It's awkward.

For the last two years, I've not spoken to either of them. We are around them often, as we have mutual friends and interests. Is my only response ignoring them, too? I would like to shock them out of their arrogant attitude. They really think they've done nothing wrong. -- Feeling Shut Out

Dear Feeling Shut Out: She sounds like a toxic person and not a friend to anyone. Believe it or not, the saddest part about her is how much she must dislike herself that she has to badmouth others and make lists of people's negative traits.

Your ex-friend would be a much happier person if she took note of the positive qualities of others. She is not likely to change, but you can make yourself a happier person by not sinking to her level. Make a list of good things about her. Only once, I promise. But after recognizing her positive qualities, see if there is a shift in the way she treats you. Whether or not she changes her attitude, my guess is that you will not bothered by her any longer.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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