Dear Annie: I’m a mom and have been married for nearly six years. But for the past few years, my husband and I have not been on the same path. We can’t communicate without fighting, bickering, arguing, etc. Our sex life has been nonexistent. And I have tried talking and suggesting that we do more things together. I have even tried losing weight because I thought maybe the problem was that I was no longer attractive. I tried everything that I could think of. And some days, I just lay in a different room, balled up and crying.
About a year ago, I started a new job and met a man with whom I clicked almost instantly. Eventually, this co-worker gave me his number and asked if I wanted to go fishing sometime. That night, I told my husband that another man had offered me his phone number and wanted to take me fishing. I hoped he would see that he needed to step up to the plate before something happened. Instead, he flipped out and started accusing me of trying to control him. He started throwing things around the house — something he does a lot when things don’t go his way, often leaving me with bruises and/or him with bruises due to my trying to defend myself. His tantrum that night was the final straw. I decided to take my new colleague up on the fishing trip.
We became close friends but never did anything physical. Then, one day, I found out my husband had been exchanging racy messages with women online. That’s when I decided to go ahead and give my body to this new friend. It was nice. It made me feel like a woman again, not like a jacket that’s sitting in the closet waiting to be worn.
We continued seeing each other and sleeping together for a few months. But last month, after a night out with him, I confessed everything to my husband. He was upset, of course, but in due time he came around and said he wanted to work things out. Well, that was three months ago, and my husband and I still haven’t been intimate. I see no signs of things changing between us. In fact, they’ve gotten more distant, and I’ve noticed he now uses a lock code on his phone and computer.
My lover, meanwhile, is waiting in the wings for me to make my decision. — Between a Rock and Hard Place
Dear Between: More than anything, I’m concerned about your husband’s physical aggression. No matter your differences, it is unacceptable for him to hurt you or even knowingly endanger you as he does when he hurls things around the house in a rage. But rather than further engage him right now, I encourage you to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for guidance in planning your next steps. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Oh my. I think we should take a closer look as we pass by this train wreck.
That night, I told my husband that another man had offered me his phone number and wanted to take me fishing. I hoped he would see that he needed to step up to the plate before something happened.
No, no, no, no, no. That’s not how relationships work.
His tantrum that night was the final straw. I decided to…
Oh good! She decided to leave him!
… take my new colleague up on the fishing trip.
Oh my. Okay. I didn’t see that coming. Sort of an unexpected plot twist. Um… wow.
We became close friends but never did anything physical.
So, it was like a platonic thing? Okay, I’m on board.
Then […] I found out my husband had been exchanging racy messages with women online.
Okay. I’m sure that was upsetting.
That’s when I decided to go ahead and give my body to this new friend. It was nice. It made me feel like a woman again, not like a jacket that’s sitting in the closet waiting to be worn.
Oh, dear God. You’ve got to be kidding.
So, apparently the letter writer sees her body as a commodity that should be appreciated and used. I have no words. Weirder, I got the sense that she didn’t have romantic feelings for her lover. So… she just wanted to feel sexytimes again? If you’re going to have an affair, you should at least do it with someone you’re in love with. It’s like indulging in chocolate cake if you hate chocolate. If you’re going to pack on the calories, you should eat something sweet that you love! Don’t waste it! (Yeah, I’m being a bit sarcastic.)
I confessed everything to my husband.
Couldn’t the letter writer have made someone up instead of dragging her coworker into this mess? She could’ve avoided the whole affair by simply pretending to have an affair. Ugh.
I see no signs of things changing between [my husband and me]. […] My lover, meanwhile, is waiting in the wings for me to make my decision.
This is tawdry and disturbing. Her lover ought to run screaming or, better yet, jump in the pond with the fishies.
But what’s really alarming is that Annie Lane saw the violence as her (Annie Lane’s) ticket out of having to give actual commentary on the situation. “Oh, he’s violent! Call the hotline.” I’m not saying I disapprove of the hotline. Not at all. I’m just saying that it made it too easy for Annie Lane to give advice. It would be like if someone wrote in about being suicidal and described their problems in great detail, and Annie Lane was just to say, “Oh, you’re suicidal! Call the crisis line,” without adding any insight or commentary into the specifics. [Facepalm.] She’s always taking these absurd shortcuts.
It gives her a way to pad her column by outlining the letter writer’s issues and then cutting to the chase with obvious advice. It’s advice-giving 101. What do you do if someone has a violent spouse? Show of hands! Yes, you in the back row. That’s right! You tell them to call the hotline! Score!
The concept of advice giving has evolved, but Annie Lane is behind the curve. Here’s the rest of today’s column:
Dear Annie: April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. While I’ve seen some friends and family really helped by AA, for others, a different approach is needed. I hope you will print these recommendations in your column.
One is SMART Recovery (https://www.smartrecovery.org), which offers a network of resources and is not just focused on alcohol abuse but addiction in general. LifeRing Secular Recovery (https://lifering.org), like AA, is an abstinence-based anonymous organization that provides safe meeting spaces. Then there are also programs for people who have a nonsevere drinking problem but would like to cut back on their drinking or take a break: Moderation Management (https://moderation.org), CheckUp and Choices (checkupandchoices.com), and One Year No Beer (https://www.oneyearnobeer.com). Wherever people are, there are tools available.
So, yet again, we have one of her readers writing her column for her. “Wherever people are, there are tools available.” That reminds me of the episode of The Golden Girls where Rose’s coworker, a newscaster, said, “This is Jerry Kennedy saying, goodnight. And remember, wherever there’s news, I’ll be here.” [Groan.]
Again, I’m not opposed to alcoholism resources. I’m just appalled that Annie Lane is so incompetent at giving advice that she strains every day to find public service announcements written by her readers and/or letters asking for advice that’s so obvious that anyone could give it. A few days ago, a reader wrote a passionate PSA about checking your brake lights, which… I could be wrong about this, but my lights get checked every time I get an oil change. Isn’t that a common experience for almost every driver? You change or top up your oil, the mechanics check your lights and fluid levels.
Anyway, the reader’s PSA also included counting carpet tiles to help with the six feet of social distancing. I’m not making that up! Ohh, geez, Annie Lane’s just not that great of an advice columnist.