Dear Annie: My husband has been talking to other women online. He’s been on numerous dating sites, and every time I catch him, he changes his account name or goes on a different one. I think it’s cheating. He says it’s not – that he’s just talking to them. But he says very inappropriate things to them and sends explicit photos of himself. They send him pictures, too. I think he’s going to go meet them eventually if he hasn’t already, though he swears he hasn’t ever cheated.
I’m so confused. It feels as if I’m not enough for him. He doesn’t ever want to be intimate with me anymore. We’ve been married for only four months, so I really think he’s cheating on me. There are just too many signs that point to it.
I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone, and he swears he loves me, too, and has never cheated on me. But he won’t stay off those sites, and it’s very disrespectful. I’m getting so depressed, and I don’t feel that he loves me anymore. What can I do to get him to stop? I’ve tried everything to spice up our love life. He swears he only wants to be with me, not another woman. Help. – Depressed and Lonely
Dear Depressed: This is supposed to be the honeymoon phase, not the honey-nightmare. If he’s acting like this four months into your marriage, I shudder to think how he would act in 40 years -- and I hope you never have to find out. Although I normally encourage couples to put in the work to save a marriage, I think you’d be better off cutting and running now, before your lives are further intertwined or children enter the picture. You deserve better.
Dear Annie: My brother and I used to be very close. He’s 54, and I’m 52. He has been married five times and has one son from his second marriage. Rarely has he been in his son’s life. I’m closer to his son than he is. He dates different women all the time and always cheats on them. He lied to a former co-worker who was 19 and got her pregnant. He told her it was physically impossible for him to have kids, and she believed him. She is now seven months pregnant and lives three houses from me. My wife and I feel bad for her and are trying to help her out. My dad said to stay out of my brother’s business, and my mom is on the fence. I believe that my brother has a sexual addiction and needs help through counseling. What’s the best way to deal with this mess my brother has created? – Younger Brother
Dear Younger: If you and your wife want to help out the young woman, by all means, please do, and encourage your mom to get off the fence and help out, too. The child will be your niece or nephew and her grandchild, after all. Just because your brother has turned his back on his own doesn’t mean you all must turn yours with him.
Clearly, your brother is not stable, and his compulsive sexual behavior is unhealthy and destroying lives. The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize “sex addiction” in itself as a disorder, but such behavior does frequently occur alongside other mental health issues. Encourage him to seek the help of a licensed therapist, but ultimately, he must want to help himself. Changing him is not a burden you could bear, even if you wanted to.
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