Hus­band stuck in prison of a mar­riage

Chicago Tribune - - A+E - By Amy Dickinson askamy@amy­dick­in­ Twit­ter @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I’ve been mar­ried to my wife since 2003. In 2011, I found her tex­ting and flirt­ing with a friend of mine. We ul­ti­mately broke up. It was pretty much a mu­tual de­ci­sion.

I met an­other woman who was ev­ery­thing I dreamed of. I moved to­ward di­vorc­ing my wife. I wanted to move on with my life. Trag­i­cally, three years af­ter falling in love, my fi­ancée died ... right in front of me.

It turns out, my wife never filed the di­vorce papers, so we are still mar­ried. We have two sons (born be­fore the breakup). Con­cerned for the well­be­ing of my sons, I worked things out with her, and we got back to­gether.

Fast-for­ward to to­day. I feel like I’m serv­ing a jail sen­tence with this per­son. My old­est son is on his way to the Marines, and my youngest is on his way to sixth grade.

I am mar­ried to a self­ish, un­emo­tional woman who doesn’t seem to have any love or com­pas­sion for me. There is no com­mu­ni­ca­tion, no in­ti­macy, no any­thing! I’ve got just over five years to go un­til my youngest will be 18. My plan is to move out the day af­ter his birth­day.

I’ve tried ev­ery­thing I can think of — from talk­ing to her di­rectly to talk­ing to her mother. I’m afraid she’s cheat­ing again, but I have no proof. She just seems to­tally not in­ter­ested in me. I love her, but my love is not re­cip­ro­cated.

Should I ride this out un­til it goes down in flames — or stick to the plan of just stay­ing un­der the radar un­til my son turns 18 and then leave and ghost her?

It feels like I’m just here to help with bills and kids. That’s it.

— Lonely Man

Dear Lonely: You sound de­pressed and very sad. You say you are stay­ing in this prison of a mar­riage for your sons’ sake — but you and your wife lived sep­a­rately once be­fore. Your pre­vi­ous breakup lasted for sev­eral years, and your sons were in the pic­ture dur­ing that pe­riod.

My point is that when you were mo­ti­vated to leave the mar­riage pre­vi­ously, you did — and you found love with some­one else.

Many par­ents in empty mar­riages say they are stay­ing to­gether for the sake of their chil­dren, but chil­dren don’t nec­es­sar­ily ben­e­fit from liv­ing with two par­ents who don’t want to be to­gether.

Your five-year plan sounds like a tough haul. Ses­sions with a mar­riage coun­selor might not bring your wife back to you, but you would at least have the op­por­tu­nity to come up with a work­able plan for ei­ther stay­ing to­gether or part­ing peace­fully.

Dear Amy: When I go to the gro­cery store, I no­tice other cus­tomers not wear­ing their masks cor­rectly (not cov­er­ing their noses). The cashiers are the same! This gives me anx­i­ety.

I want to say, “Hey, you’re not wear­ing your mask right!” but I hate con­fronta­tion.

Also, they have mark­ers on the floor to in­di­cate where you should stand so you are six feet apart, but three times, I have had some­one stand way too close to me as I waited in line. It just freaks me out! I let them get in front of me, and I scoot back to six feet.

What is the best way to ask some­one to back up?

I am just fear­ful some­one will curse me out if I ask them to back up or to wear their mask cor­rectly.

— Anx­ious

Dear Anx­ious: In or­der to min­i­mize your own risk and anx­i­ety, you should make choices to shop at places where em­ploy­ees com­ply and dur­ing times when there are the fewest other cus­tomers.

No, I don’t think you should call out an­other cus­tomer for wear­ing a mask in­cor­rectly (be­cause this in­volves them and their body). But yes, you should def­i­nitely ask some­one to space them­selves fur­ther from you (be­cause this in­volves you and your body): “Hey, could you do me a fa­vor and step back a lit­tle bit?”

Dear Amy: “Ex­as­per­ated Mom” com­plained about not be­ing able to get her teens to help around the house.

I come from a fam­ily of 12 kids. You can imag­ine the pile of shoes left around the liv­ing room.

One time, my mom de­cided to put all the shoes in her and Dad’s bed­room, and we could re­deem them for 5 cents a pair. (It was a long time ago.)

— Good Mem­o­ries

Dear Mem­o­ries: Looks like they re­ally were “cheaper by the dozen!”

Copy­right 2020 by Amy Dickinson

Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

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