DEAR ANNIE: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. It is our second marriage for both of us. Our kids are grown and gone, and we are retired. We are together usually 24/7, which is fine. He is somewhat insecure, and I do a lot to take care of him. I do all the cooking, pay the bills, etc. He takes care of me also.
The issue is, I have a sister who spends October through May in a southern resort area. Everyone in the family has been to visit except me. I have been hoping for years to go. I suggested it, and my husband has no interest in going. He told me to go by myself.
However, now that I am doing it (probably with another sister), he is very upset. He is acting terribly about this and acts as if I am leaving him. He is so angry and is being childish and belittling toward me. Am I in the wrong here?
— Wondering Wife
DEAR WONDER: While it’s normal for married couples to depend on one another and spend much of their time together, it’s so important for both parties to have interests and hobbies outside the marriage. You’re not wrong for wanting to visit your own sister with or without the company of your husband. Follow through on the trip and ask your husband to reconsider visiting, too, even if only for a few days.
DEAR ANNIE: After 45 years of what I thought was a loving and happy marriage, my husband told me he “is not in love with me” or “attracted to me” and “does not want to be with” me anymore.
A year ago, I talked him into going on vacation with me, my friend and her family member. A year later, I discovered he and my friend have been having “secret talks” on the phone for hours. After I discovered the phone calls, completely by accident, is when he made his proclamation. Never during our marriage has he ever acted this way.
During this year, I was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I couldn’t walk or hike as much as they could on the trip, and I was accused of being lazy. He said they both enjoyed the walks and hikes while I “purposely” sat on a bench. Also, they have “more in common;” he “enjoys talking to her more,” “being with her more,” etc. Plus, he’s sick of looking at me sitting in my recliner.
My “friend” lives three states away, and they haven’t been physically together. We tried counseling, and at the first session, when the counselor said it sounded like he was having an emotional affair, he got furious and refused to go back. He then moved to the other end of the house.
We’ve been separated now for two years. I’m miserable cohabiting in a house with someone I’ve been in love with for 51 years who doesn’t love me anymore. It’s absolute torture and doesn’t help my health issues at all. Please help, Annie!
— Can’t Afford to Move
DEAR CAN’T AFFORD: I’m so sorry you’re entangled in such a difficult situation. Not only have you lost a partner, but you’ve lost someone you thought was a friend — a double betrayal.
After two years of separation and no signs of reconciliation, now is the time to move forward with divorce. It serves neither you nor your estranged husband to continue sharing a home together and dragging out the inevitable. It’s only making you both more miserable and further deteriorating your well-being.
Depending on your assets and how you and your husband decide to proceed, you might consider looking into how to put the house up for sale. With that money, you can finally find your own place to call home again.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.