Dear Ann: My husband of 20 years recently took off for California because he "needed to get away." This is not the first time he has packed up and left. It's his usual pattern after we have had an argument. He stops speaking to me, becomes depressed and anxious, and then, disappears. Since he left, he has e-mailed me every day poetry, love letters, and so on, but never a word about coming home and working things out.
Last week, I e-mailed to say that I am sick of his nonsense and want a divorce. Now, he says he is sorry. He insists he loves me, and says he is getting counseling in California. He has tried counseling several times before, but never sticks around long enough to make any progress. He assures me the counseling will work this time, and is pleading with me to give him another chance.
Please tell me, Ann, am I crazy to stay in this nutty relationship? My therapist and all my friends say I should get out. I can afford to be on my own financially, and there are no children involved. What do I owe the man with whom I have a rocky, off-again, on-again 20-year relationship? Grand Junction, Colo.
Dear Grand Junction: You do NOT owe him your sanity or your peace of mind. Since you have a therapist, you don't need any additional input from me. Your therapist knows a lot more about the situation than I do, so please listen to him or her. I would ask only that you put yourself first for a change. P.S.: Please drop me a line, and let me know how you're doing.
Dear Readers: I just learned that the letter signed "Ginny in the Midwest" was actually someone else's life story. Ginny's letter described how she met her future husband when he showed up accidentally at her mother's funeral. He had gone to the wrong church, and thought he was at the services for his aunt.
It turns out that this story was written by Robin Lee Shope and first appeared in the Christian Reader in 1999. Several readers have let me know about the author of this piece, and I am pleased to give her credit for a romantic and charming tale.
Dear Ann: I have a dear friend I will call "Susan." She has been dating "Edwin" for 15 years. Every so often, they make plans to get married, but something always comes up, and the wedding never takes place. Invariably, Edwin is the one who postpones the nuptials.
I have told Susan to get out of this dead-end relationship and to stop wasting valuable time on this man. However, she is 36 years old, and feels it is too late to find someone else. She wants to start a family, and knows that her biological clock will not run forever.
Please don't tell me to mind my own business. Somebody needs to shake up this girl, and tell her to wake up and smell the coffee. Ann, can you think of any way I can help her? A Dear Friend in Texas
Dear Friend in Texas: Your girlfriend was 21 years old when she started to date Edwin. Her fiance has been giving her the "ma" routine for 15 years, and she has been buying it. What is wrong with this picture? I say Susan is afraid to say "either or," and now, finds herself in a bind. She should give Edwin a timetable, and look around for other possibilities. A little competition can be a great motivator.
Gem of the Day (Sent in by Jerry and Jean in Sacramento, Calif.): According to recent statistics, at age 70, there are five women for every male. Isn't that the darndest time in life for a guy to get those odds?