Dear Annie: A few months ago, my husband mentioned that he’d responded to an email from a girl he used to know. I didn’t think much about it, but then I saw him composing an email, and every time I walked near him, he shielded it from me. He started spending more time on the computer, and I got curious. Finally, I checked his account and saw that he and this girl had been corresponding every day. There was nothing sexual, but there was a lot of flirting, and he encouraged her to keep writing.
I confronted my husband, and he insisted it was all innocent, that they were only friends and he had no intention of taking things any further. We talked about it, and I let him know how hurt I was. I said this is how affairs start. He promised there would be no more emails. I told him that would go a long way toward helping me to forgive and forget.
I thought he understood, but tonight he showed me an email he was sending her. I guess he thinks that makes it OK. But, Annie, he promised he would stop communicating with her, and I expect him to keep his word. I cannot understand why he would keep emailing when he knows how much it upsets me — unless he has feelings for her.
I want to trust him again, but how can I when he keeps doing this? I have loved him for 40 years and don’t want to lose him, but I don’t think I can live with this situation. — Desperate Housewife
Dear Desperate: Your husband doesn’t understand that this is a betrayal of your marriage. And although he may not have any real feelings for this woman, he sounds mildly infatuated, and the correspondence boosts his ego. He enjoys the flirting and wants it to continue. First, try revving up the action at home so your husband appreciates what he has. He needs more flirtatious attention from you. Then tell him the emailing needs to stop, because the next step is marriage counseling.
Dear Annie: Some time ago, I attended an event at a friend’s church. There was an empty seat at our table, so a solo man was seated with us. He seemed agreeable until he was finished eating. Then he took a flosser out of his pocket and proceeded to clean his teeth at the table. I almost threw up.
Would it have been acceptable for me to ask him to please go to the restroom to perform that ritual? If not, how else might I have handled it? — Turned Stomach
Dear Stomach: People are often inappropriate in public and either don’t realize or don’t care that others find it unappetizing. It would have been fine to say with a slight grimace, “Would you mind flossing in the restroom? It’s such a private activity, and some of us have sensitive stomachs.” Of course, there is no guarantee that he would listen.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Lake Effect Wife” hit home. In my 35 years of marriage, I have always done the household chores, shopping and cooking. There were several years when I also was the only one bringing in an income. I have never been able to get my husband to do anything.
When I ask why, he says, “It’s not important to me, but if it is to you, then you do it.” I cannot describe how this has crushed me. I couldn’t figure out how I chose a man who cared so little for me that he wouldn’t lift a finger to help. I always thought marriage was a partnership, but I’ve been going it alone for a long time. If I knew then what I know now — I’d Be Single
“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 www.creators.com.