Originally Published: November 20, 2016 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: My husband, “Bill,” and I have been married for 30 years. Our marriage had been very good until recently. Bill hired a new secretary, and she is drop-dead gorgeous. She’s the same age as our daughter, which means he’s old enough to be her father. This woman is a Christian, so I know she would never start a relationship with him. But he admitted to looking her up on Facebook, and he seemed disappointed that she hadn’t posted any pictures of herself. So we definitely have a problem here.
The problem may have an underlying factor. Bill calls me “Mumma.” He’s done that for 20 years now. I always thought it was endearing, but now I’m rethinking it. I’m his wife, not his mother. It’s possible he’s doing it because he doesn’t think of me as a wife and partner. In fact, he is not one to give compliments. He’ll say he loves me, but he never tells me I look nice. Ever.
I myself am showing wear and tear. I’m 30 pounds overweight. I asked Bill whether the reason for his attraction to her is that I’m fat, and he said yes -- that and I’m old. He admitted he’s fat and old too, but still. That didn’t help.
I’m consumed with jealousy. I have never worried about this sort of thing before. I don’t know why this is getting to me. What can I do to get over this? -- Old and Fat
Dear Old: “Mumma” no more. Terms of endearment aren’t very endearing when they make you feel inferior or lesser in any way, and it sounds as if that’s the case here. Pick a new nickname, something that makes you feel adored.
While you’re at it, tell your husband to cut out the name-calling. It’s appallingly rude he said you’re old and fat.
Take steps to empower yourself and raise your self-esteem. Try enrolling in a fun fitness class or going for morning jogs – not to earn your husband’s appreciation but to feel stronger and less stressed out. I hope he starts treating you with more respect. But in the meantime, treat yourself well enough for the both of you.
Dear Annie: How should one react when he discovers that his married partner of many years is talking to someone else on the internet about engaging in various sexual activities (not with me) in a very vulgar manner? I have never done such a thing and never thought this could ever happen to me. I am so hurt, shocked and devastated. I’m losing sleep. I just can’t get it off my mind day and night. Should I walk, or should I stay? Oh, the hurt I carry in my heart. Now I wonder what all has taken place in the past. – Broken Heart
Dear Broken: There’s no certain way one “should” react to such news, as it’s news no one should have to get in the first place. Whatever you’re feeling is warranted and justified. Let yourself feel it so you can begin to heal.