Dear Annie: My wife of 38 years recently reconnected on Facebook with the guy she was seeing before we started dating. She spent a lengthy amount of time catching up with him on the phone and then asked whether I would be upset if she met with him to discuss the past 40 years. I didn’t tell her “no,” but I did say I wasn’t crazy about the idea. She met with him anyway but didn’t tell me until I asked directly.
We briefly talked about their conversations, which included him saying that his wife told him their marriage would survive a one-night stand. Over the next two weeks, I discovered (via our cellphone bill) that he and my wife had had multiple long conversations. When I told her this upset me, she said she initiated the contact, adding, “I always cared for him and always had feelings for him.” She saw nothing wrong with her behavior, claiming I would feel the same about my old flames.
I was angry and hurt. I said I could not accept her being in touch with this guy knowing she still has feelings for him and that they have discussed intimate matters. Although I did not forbid contact, I made it clear that she was crossing a line and jeopardizing our marriage.
To my knowledge, she has not met with him again. However, she insists there is nothing wrong with messaging him on Facebook. I am still bothered to know she is routinely in touch with this man. What do I do?
-- Losing My Patience
Dear Losing: Your wife is flattered by this man’s attention, and he makes her feel young again. This is a powerful draw, but it doesn’t mean she is looking to have an affair. However, it is a betrayal for your wife to continue to be in contact with a man for whom she has feelings and who has made it clear that he is open to an affair. It is also disrespectful to you. If she cannot understand what a threat this is to your marriage, please ask her to go with you for counseling.
Dear Annie: My 34-year-old daughter is a cyclist and is incredibly dedicated to her sport. She is good at it but not great, and I think she has sacrificed more than is healthy. She is currently unemployed and homeless because she won’t take time away from her bike. When I bring up how concerned I am, she refuses to discuss it.
This is taking a toll on my mental health. I’ve been told that my daughter has some kind of eating disorder, but I think more than food is involved. I think she’s addicted to endorphins.
Is there a support group for parents similarly concerned about their athletically obsessed children? I cannot possibly be the only one.
-- Heartsick Mother
Dear Mother: Over-exercise is connected to eating disorders because both are about body image and control, and both involve compulsive behavior. In some instances, exercising is a way to purge food from the system, which is a form of bulimia. There are physical dangers in this, as well as mental health issues. Please contact the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (anad.org) and ask for help.
Dear Annie: I had to laugh when I read the letter from “N.Y.,” whose 17-year-old son is terrible to travel with. I can’t think of anything more embarrassing for a 17-year-old boy than being seen swimming or shopping with his family. And if I sent a flight attendant to check on my son, he would be mortified.
We include our children in vacation planning, which makes it more rewarding. We also try to find a friend of our son’s to come along. If the adults want to see museums, we try to find nearby activities for the kids.
Our best vacations with kids have been a houseboat with a ski boat included and a condo in the mountains where the boys could snowboard. Ten days at a relative’s house would be unbearable for most teens. And I would never leave a 17-year-old home unsupervised for 10 days. Perhaps one of his friends would take him, despite “the way he dresses.” Seriously?
-- Mom of Four
Dear Annie: I can relate to “Native New Yorker,” whose voice is gravelly. My Southern accent was so pronounced and slow that when I moved west, people could hardly understand me. Wanting desperately to blend in, I sought the services of a speech therapist.
Her counsel began with a reminder that our voice makes us unique in a world of millions of people. She said to embrace the difference, adjust the tempo, think before you speak and enjoy the power of communication. For the record, I find “hoarse and gravelly” very sexy.
-- Back in Jacksonville, Texas
Dear Texas: No one need be ashamed of his or her speaking voice. Thanks for expressing it so well.
P.S.: Happy Canada Day to all of our readers up north.
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