Hus­band looks at pho­tos of women, revisited Dear An­nie

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS -

MON­DAY, FE­BRU­ARY 26, 2018

Dear Read­ers: Re­cently, I printed a let­ter from “Never Gonna Be Good Enough.” She was fed up with her hus­band’s look­ing at tit­il­lat­ing pho­tos of women on­line and was cu­ri­ous about how other read­ers have ap­proached this is­sue in their mar­riages. The diversity of opin­ions is re­mark­able.

Dear An­nie: You in­vited read­ers to re­spond about hus­bands’ “fre­quently look­ing at women.” Many women have com­plained about this to you. Could it be that most men are by na­ture at­tracted to view­ing beau­ti­ful women with­out any in­ten­tion of be­ing un­faith­ful to their wives? Per­haps this is some­thing wives (and girl­friends) just need to ac­cept as nat­u­ral and some­thing they shouldn’t get of­fended by. — Re­al­is­tic and Hon­est Man

Dear Re­al­is­tic and Hon­est Man: I ap­pre­ci­ate your hon­est per­spec­tive. Read on for a vastly dif­fer­ent one.

Dear An­nie: Your ad­vice to “Never Gonna Be Good Enough” is worse than use­less. He’s never go­ing to change this habit that gives him plea­sure, no mat­ter how much pain it causes his wife. To an­swer her ques­tion, no, this is not just the way men are. It’s the way he is. A man who truly cares about his wife and sees her as an equal part­ner in their re­la­tion­ship does not treat her this way. A nar­cis­sist who lacks em­pa­thy and cares only about his own needs and de­sires is “never gonna be good enough” to be a real hus­band. There is no mid­dle ground that would work for both as you sug­gest. There is only to­tal ca­pit­u­la­tion by the wife (and its at­ten­dant mis­ery). My ad­vice: Sweet­heart, pack your bags — or his — and get out of this toxic re­la­tion­ship be­fore you start to ac­tu­ally be­lieve that you are to blame for your hus­band’s ju­ve­nile, cruel, abu­sive be­hav­ior. — Old Enough to Know Bet­ter

Dear Old Enough to Know Bet­ter: I think the fol­low­ing let­ter ad­dresses the same is­sue to which you speak — the hus­band’s ap­par­ent lack of concern for her feel­ings — but with a bit more hope for re­demp­tion. Take a look.

Dear An­nie: I won­der why this man feels the need to tell his wife that she is be­ing ridicu­lous for feel­ing in­se­cure about his look­ing at pic­tures of women on the in­ter­net. Maybe it’s an at­tempt, al­beit a clumsy one, to re­as­sure her. But it’s dis­re­spect­ful to judge some­one’s feel­ings when she comes to you with a concern. I’m think­ing that she might be more in­clined to feel bet­ter af­ter a gen­uine (and gen­tle) con­ver­sa­tion about it.

Maybe look­ing at pic­tures of pretty women makes him happy. Why not just say so while re­as­sur­ing her that he doesn’t find her any less at­trac­tive be­cause of it? A sim­ple “I’m so sorry, be­cause it isn’t my in­ten­tion to hurt you, and the is­sue isn’t that you’re not enough” would be a nice start. In fact, look­ing at those pic­tures may be en­hanc­ing his at­trac­tion to his wife. (We men are a lit­tle more com­pli­cated than we let on some­times.)

If he’s smart, what he won’t say is that his wife is be­ing silly for feel­ing a lit­tle hurt or in­se­cure or any­thing else. Ever. — Greg in NYC

Dear Greg: Agreed. And I think the fol­low­ing let­ter un­der­lines your point.

Dear An­nie: What she should re­ally be con­cerned about isn’t her hus­band’s ac­tions. It’s his re­ac­tion. Some men like to look at women in that con­text; some don’t. But a sig­nif­i­cant other is ex­pected to be un­der­stand­ing of his or her part­ner and to make com­pro­mises. Re­spect is the one bound­ary all re­la­tion­ships should have in com­mon. — Re­spect Is the Name of the Game

Dear Re­spect Is the Name of the Game: have said it bet­ter my­self.

Dear An­nie: My prob­lem isn’t new. I’m sure many women have ex­pe­ri­enced it. I love deeply a man I’ve known for 15 years. He’s been in and out of my life, but my heart’s been in­volved all along. Lately, I feel like a con­ve­nience to him. I feel he’s con­stantly on the prowl. He al­ways brings up other women un­der the guise of talk­ing about his “friends.” He la­bels us as “friends,” but I have been so much more.

He’s wanted to be with me in the past, yet when I have em­braced the re­la­tion­ship, he has made plans with other peo­ple. I can’t win. He sees him­self as a great man and is un­will­ing to apol­o­gize for any wrong or short­com­ings. He’s got more ex­cuses and tall tales than any­one I know. I do care about him, but I’m so con­fused. And when I try to share my doubts with him, I get blown off.

I have less­ened my con­tact and have opened other op­tions. But how do you just end 15 years of all of this — the hurt, sup­port, hope? Do you think he’s a nar­cis­sist or a so­ciopath? How do you have a re­la­tion­ship with some­one who only cares about him­self? I guess I couldn’t you don’t — but then how do you get your heart free? I just want real love; is that so wrong? I feel stupid, but I still can’t help but feel hope­ful. I’m strong and then weak. — Be­fud­dled Door­mat

Dear Be­fud­dled Door­mat: To your many ques­tions, there is only one real an­swer, and you al­ready know what it is. You need to drop this man like a bad habit. None of this “stay­ing friends” busi­ness. He’d ma­nip­u­late you into hop­ing for more. You need to quit him cold turkey. Block his num­ber; block him on­line; avoid places he hangs out; dis­tance your­self from mu­tual friends.

He’s not go­ing to like it. Af­ter all, you’ve pro­vided him val­i­da­tion for 15 years. You can bet that at some point, he’ll try wrig­gling his way into your life to get you back on the hook. Work on build­ing up your self­es­teem — through new hob­bies, more time with friends or ther­apy — so when that day comes, you won’t take the bait.

Dear An­nie: I have a ques­tion about sym­pa­thy cards. In many obit­u­ar­ies, it says, “In lieu of flow­ers, make a dona­tion to (an or­ga­ni­za­tion).” If I do this, should I men­tion it on the card to the fam­ily? What is the proper thing to do? — Carolyn in Con­necti­cut

Dear Carolyn: Many on­line dona­tion forms will al­low you to in­clude both your name and the name of the per­son whom you’d like to com­mem­o­rate with your con­tri­bu­tion. If send­ing a check, you can add an “in mem­ory of” note on the memo line. If you’d like to be sure the be­reaved will be no­ti­fied of your con­tri­bu­tion, call and con­firm it with the or­ga­ni­za­tion, or men­tion it in the card. That’s per­fectly fine.

Dear An­nie: I think you missed some­thing in your re­sponse to “To Tour or Not to Tour,” and that is the pri­vacy of the 16-year-old daugh­ter. Nei­ther you nor the mom men­tioned whether or not the daugh­ter’s bed­room and bath­room are part of the “top-to-bot­tom” tour. This daugh­ter may just be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “em­bar­rass­ing-mom-itis,” or she may not want to ad­mit to her house-proud mom that she wants her space to be just that: her space. — Sym­pa­thetic in Mary­land

Dear Sym­pa­thetic: You’re right. I may have missed the di­ag­no­sis. “To Tour or Not to Tour” should try leav­ing her daugh­ter’s bed­room off the tour to see whether that quells the symp­toms of em­bar­rass­ment. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to:

dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com.

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