Dear Annie: My wife and I get along well for the most part, but not all the time. She is a control freak who insists on knowing where I am going and what I am doing every second.
She is also obsessed with money and needs to be in control of my spending. Recently, I helped a couple out because their furnace broke and they didn’t have the money for repairs.
I loaned them the funds they needed, and my wife got mad about it. I explained that it was during the middle of winter and they had just had a baby, but that didn’t matter.
They had borrowed money from both of their parents and still came up short. Yet my wife was furious that I had loaned them money, and she demanded that they pay me back right away.
I feel she is more in love with money than I am. I feel the marriage is over, and I want a divorce.
In the meanwhile, I have found a new love and am in a new relationship with someone who wants me and not money.
What do you feel I should do? I’m not sleeping.
My wife and I don’t even sleep together anymore. She has the bed, and I sleep on the chair in the living room. Any ideas on how to handle this?
— Lost Husband
Dear Lost Husband: You might feel lost because your wife is so controlling, but you went behind her back and had an affair. Before you met another woman, you owed it to your wife to have a conversation about why you wanted to quit the marriage.
The case you made against her certainly sounds compelling. Not helping a young couple and their baby out with their heat is certainly mean. Feeling like your spouse only wants you for your money is also a terrible way to feel in a marriage.
You could sit down and tell her that it is over and you want a divorce. Or, since you started by saying that you and your wife “get along well,” and you’re not sleeping — possibly because you feel guilty — you could try to patch things up with your wife by securing her promise to stop controlling and hounding you.
A marriage counselor might really help both of you.
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Dear Annie: My husband and I are having marital problems because of his adult daughter (my stepdaughter). I want to limit information that he shares with her about our finances, problems and life in general, but he refuses. I have dealt with the issue for many years, but recently the private information he told her was inappropriate.
We have been married for 25 years, and he said that if we are to remain married, he and his daughter are a “package deal.” He says I’m being unreasonable. Now he is not sure he wants to remain married because I have such strong feelings against her involvement in our business. I feel violated, but he thinks I am overreacting.
How do I handle this? I love him, but he refuses to respect my privacy — not to mention the fact that he prefers his relationship with his daughter over his marriage to his wife.
Thank you for any advice. I do have support from friends and family, but I am afraid I’ve lost my husband to my stepdaughter!
Dear Stepmother: I know that you love him, and you are correct that he should not share intimate details about your marriage with anyone. But don’t forget that his daughter loves him very much, and he loves his daughter, so instead of trying to drive a wedge through their relationship, maybe have more compassion toward the fact that they have a close relationship.
There is not a scarcity of love in the world. He can love you and his stepdaughter, but if you constantly criticize their closeness, you are shutting off love for all of you — your husband, your stepdaughter and yourself.
At the same time, if he is sharing personal information that she has no business knowing, then he needs to stop. For instance, if you are seeing a psychiatrist and don’t want people to know, that is none of your stepdaughter’s business.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.