Dear Annie: Six months ago, my husband, “Vern,” told me he didn’t love me anymore and wanted me out of the house. We were living in Texas, so my son and I flew to Chicago with $3 in our pockets. Luckily for me, I have wonderful parents who took us in.
A month later, I discovered Vern had been carrying on with a woman half his age. He is 53. She is 28. I confronted both of them and found out he’d told her that I had been dead for two years.
We are now divorced, and Vern is having problems with the girlfriend. He calls me constantly, talking for hours about how much he misses her and that she never has any time for him. They fight and argue a lot, and he isn’t sure if she still wants to be with him. He wants my opinion and advice.
I’ve told Vern to find a counselor to talk to because I definitely am not the person he should be confiding in. He keeps saying that I am his best friend and he hasn’t anyone else to talk to.
How can I get through to Vern that it upsets me to hear these things, and that I don’t want him calling me unless it has something to do with our son? — Two-Year-Old Corpse
Dear Corpse: We think Vern is going through a midlife crisis and the girlfriend is going to dump him. Then he may want to reconcile with you, so be prepared.
Some divorced couples maintain a friendship for the sake of their children, and are willing to discuss personal, nonchild-related issues. However, if this is too much friendship for you, either hang up when he starts talking about the girlfriend, or screen his calls with an answering machine.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Cleanliness Brings Comfort,” who found it difficult to visit her daughter’s messy house. I, too, am a professor with children, and my mother could have written that letter.
I work 60-hour weeks and do grading and reading at home. My husband works the same long hours, and we simply do not have time to manage everything, nor do we make enough money to hire help. I feel guilty about the mess, but sometimes a gritty floor is the price of getting tenure and keeping one’s job.
It is difficult to succeed in this career while caring for a household. That daughter also may be depressed, but if she thinks her mother is judging her, she is unlikely to confide her real concerns. A little understanding and support could go a long way. — Busy Professor
Dear Prof: We wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for backing us up.
Dear Annie: Can I put in one more word about the guy who wore the same shirt 18 days in a row? Albert Einstein purposefully purchased numerous duplicate white shirts, brown jackets, black trousers, black socks and black shoes. He said with all the exciting and wonderful things to ponder in the universe, he didn’t intend to waste one minute of his time thinking, “What shall I wear today?”
When I taught middle school P.E., I adopted the same philosophy and created a blue-pants-and-grey-polo-shirt “uniform.” I figured if a smart guy like Einstein thought it was effective, it was good enough for me. I found it very liberating, and as a bonus, my students could always pick me out on the field. — Milton, Florida
Dear Milton: Perhaps E=mc2 really means “Einstein wears Doubles of Multiple Clothes.” Thanks for writing.
Dear Readers: Remember to change your clocks back one hour tonight and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Sweet (and safe) dreams.
“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.