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Where Do Social Security Numbers Come From?


Dear Annie: My husband and I own a business together that would collapse if we divorced. The business is starting to prosper after several years of debt and difficulties. At this point, we cannot afford to rock the boat, as we surely would not survive financially. We also have two teenagers at home, and the eldest has proved to be challenging.

Six years ago, I made plans to leave my husband, but financial catastrophe hit. I decided then to postpone the divorce and made up my mind to wait until our kids are out of the house. But it isn't working. I pretend everything is OK and hope that if I act the part, the rest will follow suit, but the emptiness is always there. I am constantly daydreaming, living in my head and waiting for the day I get out.

It is another three years until the youngest goes to college. It seems like a life sentence. What should I do? — Trapped

Dear Trapped: Have you attempted counseling? If not, please try it before spending three years being miserable. When kids believe they live in a stable, loving home, it is usually better for them, so we understand and admire your decision to stay. But it is not going to be easy.

You can make things more tolerable for yourself by getting involved in activities that will get you out of the house more often, occupying your time and allowing you to focus on more pleasant things. And since you do not know what the condition of your business will be in three years, please see a lawyer about maintaining an amicable professional relationship if you separate from your husband. It can be done.

Dear Annie: My granddaughter insists that the first three numbers of one's Social Security number represent the state in which you were born.

I say that prior to 1972, those first three numbers (the area numbers) were assigned based on the state in which a person first applied for a Social Security card.

Who is right? — Golden Oldie Grandma

Dear Grandma: You are. According to the Social Security Administration, prior to 1972, cards were issued locally and the area number represented the state in which the card was issued, whether or not the applicant lived there. Since 1972, cards have been issued centrally from Baltimore and the area number is based on the zip code of the mailing address provided on the application. Again, the mailing address doesn't have to match the place of residence. Where you were born has no direct bearing on those first three numbers. (Thanks for an interesting question.)

Dear Annie: This is for "Tired of Walking on Eggshells," the woman who thinks it is rude that her daughter-in-law speaks only Russian to her parents.

I have been married for 35 years to a man from another country, and whose language I know little of. My mother-in-law and my husband's sisters speak with one another in their own language.

I had determined from the beginning that I was not going to be paranoid about what they were discussing. One time, they apologized for carrying on in their language when I couldn't follow. I replied that it was natural for them to speak to each other in their native tongue. My mother and I do the same thing.

I took no offense. The main thing was how I was treated — and I was always treated well. "Tired" should make it her business to learn a few key phrases in Russian so she can follow some of the conversation. I did that, and we would all giggle at my mispronunciations and misunderstandings.

Attitude is everything in dealing with in-laws. She should consider this an opportunity to demonstrate to her son the love and respect she has for his wife and her heritage. — J.D. in St. Louis (and Sometimes India)

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



38 Comments | Post Comment
@aimai- Welcome back! I missed you,and am glad you had a safe trip back.
@Lise- I just read your last post. I hope the fair is going well,and that you're able to rest now before going back. If you're still awake and reading this,please get some sleep.
Comment: #1
Posted by:
Sat Apr 2, 2011 9:10 PM
The reason I am writing is to hope to hear about others who might be in similar circumstances. I don't want advice from people who believe I am nuts. I am not.
I am a bright 70-something man with a good education, now retired from a responsible position, father, grandfather, and husband (more than 40 years) of an amazing, accomplished woman.
For the past 20 years my wife has had a platonic friendship with a man who has far more in common with her than I do. I have to admit that I have been jealous, especially in recent months when I imagine an even stronger attachment growing.
But I also have to admit that when she comes home after having been with him, at functions that I have no desire to attend, she is radiant. She claims that he is like a brother to her, and I think that is probably true.
In trying to change into someone more compatible with her, I have taken more showers (I had been negligent for years in my personal hygiene), have tried to enjoy the kinds of things she appreciates (but we are just too different in our tastes). For a while my eating was more in control but after a lifetime of overeating, dieting is difficult; my body is truly gross and I'm sure I turn her off.
In my wife's defense I have to say that she is always sweet, kind and affectionate. She cooks great meals for me. She ministers to me gently when I have a wound or other problem. She is never negligent in keeping our home running smoothly. I never have to worry if I have clean clothes to wear. She even does most of the repairs around the house, as I am not very much of a handyman.
She and I do things together that we both enjoy, like movies, occasional meals out, some games, traveling. If I initiate sex she is a willing and good partner. We laugh together, commiserate with each other in our problems.
If I try to forbid her to see this man, I know I will turn her away from me. She has not said this, but after all these years I know. How can I ask her to end a friendship that has gone on more than a third of our married life?
I have decided that life is very good. My wife is happy. And when I come to grips with the situation, I realize that I am truly content. The man she is (I believe) in love with is an intelligent, interesting man. Somehow that makes it easier to take. I have decided to just let her spend time with him, especially at times when I am busy. (I am often involved in activities that don't include her. This has always been true and she has never minded.)
She will not leave me, of that I am certain. We have a wonderful life together and I intend now to give my wife the kind of latitude in her life that she has always given me in mine. I'm determined to be generous and happy for her. Are there other men out there who feel as I do and have the strength of make a similar decision?
Comment: #2
Posted by: M MacLeod
Sat Apr 2, 2011 9:15 PM
LW1- The Annies gave good advice here. I suggest marriage counseling too. Instead of pretending that everything is okay,you need to talk to your husband about your unhappiness. It doesn't sound as if you are communicating with your husband. Maybe if you talk to him you can work things out with the help of a marriage counselor. I hope so. Good luck!
LW3 You gave good advice too. The way people treat others is more important than the language they speak around others. If the in-laws of the original letter writer feel more comfortable speaking Russian,but are warm to the letter writer,there is no offense intended and none should be taken. As you said,the writer of the original letter could surprise her in-laws by learning some Russian words and phrases.
Comment: #3
Posted by:
Sat Apr 2, 2011 9:38 PM
Re: M MacLeod
Although you asked for a man's opinion, please allow me to respond. I think your decison sounds very reasonable. You know that your wife won't leave you for this man, but at the same time. if you asked her to end her friendship with him, she probably wouldn't do it anyway. And it would just drive a wedge between you. It sounds like you've got it really good with her, and' she's taking care of you in every way. No need to rock the boat.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Janey
Sat Apr 2, 2011 11:11 PM
@: M MacLeod. Here's that male perspective you asked for.

Two questions I have right away - is your wife considerably younger than you, or about the same age you are? And how old is this "friend" of hers? Course, you say that you've been married 40 years, so I would think that puts her no younger than around 60.

Whether or not this *should* bother you is less relevant than whether or not it *does.* That in turn depends a lot on to what degree (if any) you feel that your wife's friend poses a threat to your marriage. If it's gone on this long and you're positive that they aren't sleeping together, you are right to let it go. It also sounds like you've got a fairly good grasp on the concept of counting your blessings. On the other hand, don't get so caught up in that, that it blinds you to clear evidence of monkey business.

This must bother you at some level, or else you wouldn't have posted here to tell us about it, and to ask if what you're feeling is normal. I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is normal - you sound very level-headed to me. Us guys are wired to be suspicious of other men who seem to pay undue attention to our wives. And why wouldn't we be? The women certainly claim their right to feel possessive and threatened; likewise, we've got every right to be wary of someone who might be trying to take what is ours. And the natural instinct is to try to assess the threat level and then deal with it aggressively if such threat is sensed. Sometimes we'll even go so far as to launch a pre-emptive strike, verbally or even physically. It's what we do.

Were I in your situation, the coming home "radiant" stuff would bother me, too. Why? Because from the tone of your letter, it feels like while your wife is a great domestic partner, there may be something lacking in the way of actual companionship or warmth from her, especially outside the bedroom. It is certainly true that while marriage cannot and does not fulfill 100% of a person's social needs, it should meet the majority of them. You ARE her life's partner, after all.

But you do tell us, "She and I do things together that we both enjoy, like movies, occasional meals out, some games, traveling. If I initiate sex she is a willing and good partner. We laugh together, commiserate with each other in our problems." So it doesn't sound to me like she does the wash, then leaves the house again to go see her friend.

Did you ever ask your wife to only see this person when other people were present? I personally would feel less threatened by my wife's male friend if she only saw him as part of a group. Going over to his house, alone, late at night....that I'd frown on at best. I might also feel less threatened if I were sure he were homosexual.

One more thing. You've said you're in your 70s. You are not dead yet. It's not too late to try and change your eating habits or get into better shape. See a doctor for a complete physical, and mention your weight concerns during the appointment. The physician will probably be glad you brought it up.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Matt
Sat Apr 2, 2011 11:56 PM
To M. Macleod. Your wife sounds like the perfect lady. I would say, you are doing the right thing. My brother was in a similar kind of situation. In love with a lady and she was close buddies with another guy. So he knew this when he asked her to marry him, and they talked about the guy. So she said to him, look, this guy is a part of my life and that's not going to change. He was with me when I had cancer and he gave me a place to stay when I was homeless. And I'm not going to leave him in the ditch. I love you but I'm not going to end my friendship with him. So my brother thought about it and said, as long as you don't sleep with him, I will never have a problem with him. And he said to himself, you know what. I'm going to make friends with this guy and not act like a jerk.

So my brother and his wife are now in year 22 of a happy marriage and the guy is their best friend. If they ever need something he is there to help them out. Thick and think he's always there for them if they need him. So I would say, you are doing the right thing. Don't tell her to break it off. Be happy she has somebody she likes being with. And make friends with the guy yourself. He may be the guy who has your back next time you're in a jam. Peace bro.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Jack Alan
Sat Apr 2, 2011 11:58 PM
M. Macleod,

Sorry if this sounds officious, but you're kind of hijacking this thread for your own purposes.

I understand you want advice, but this forum is here so that we can respond to the letters the Annies posted. Maybe you should write to them yourself? Or to one of the other advice columnists at this website. I'm sure someone would respond.
Comment: #7
Posted by: irene
Sun Apr 3, 2011 4:10 AM
irene--it sounds as if mr. macleod prefers our advice to the annies'. i am sure for every reply he gets, there will be replies over the letters that are written to the annies. can we cut him some slack?
mr. macleod--it sounds to me like you have a pretty good situation going for the three of you. if it ain't broke...why create ill-feelings at this late date? if things are working out well for the three of you and all three of you are happy, why cause ill-feeling because it may seem unconventional.
Comment: #8
Posted by: alien07110
Sun Apr 3, 2011 4:40 AM
Golden Oldie Grandma,

This is for your granddaughter. I am a green card holder. I was born in Canada. It would make no sense for social security numbers to be based on place of birth.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Karen Kennedy
Sun Apr 3, 2011 4:49 AM
@alien07110: I think I made my point politely.

I find it disappointing when threads are hijacked on online forums, although this is the first time I've ever adressed it directly.

It seems to me that people who do the hijacking somehow believe they are exempt from the rules. It's not behaviour I like to support.

Saying he prefers "our" advice is a bit self-flattering and he is probably counting on our feeling this way in order to get feedback. I work with the public everyday and see this sort of manipulative behaviour all the time.

I'm just stating my preference, which I believe I'm entitled to do.
Comment: #10
Posted by: irene
Sun Apr 3, 2011 5:36 AM
M. McLeod,

I have been on both sides of your fence. I have my Best friend, who happens to be a boy I met when we were 14. We are now in our 50s. We have ALWAYS felt like brother and sister and nothing untoward ever haopened. I married my husband many years ago and neither one of us was jealous of the others friends. It seemed like a great way to run a marriage. Until my husbad decided to start having sex with other women. Fast forward to today, I met and married a fine man who loves and treats me well. I told him when I was dating that I am always going to keep a close eye on him and he should do the same with me. I also told him that I will be checking his cellphone bills, running down numbers he calls or receives a lot of calls from and check his texts. He agreed. I told him that once we are married we own each other. He agreed. You know what I found out after years of playing not so private eye? He was doing NOTHING wrong. He likes being mine. I like being his. We are VERY happy with our life.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Cheryl
Sun Apr 3, 2011 5:51 AM
I'd like to respond to the letter writer in the comments, the 70 year old with the wife with a strong male friendship.

I just came home last night from a wonderful party for a 94 year old widow on my street. Her husband has been dead for twenty years, I think. I've known her for about 12 years since I first moved onto the street. Everyone who has ever known her, who is still alive, was at this party. That was people who had bumped into her on the street, like I did, twelve years ago and people who had rented her downstairs apartment for a few months twenty years ago and on and on and on. Like everyone else on the street we have her over for every event--Passover, Thanksgiving, children's recitals. And she comes in radiant, and so do we. What I'm trying to say is that a person is just incredibly lucky to have more than one person in their life who loves them, who shares with them, who treats them to movies or events, who listens to them and who speaks to them about important things. You are seventy years old--you don't know how much time you have left with your wife, children, and grandchildren. Set yourself the task of enjoying them as much as you can--of giving to them as much as you can and of making sure that their lives are full, and challenging, and delightful. Don't worry about what other people might think about your wife's friendship. You are happy, you say, so why rock the boat. More than that, I'm encouraging you to embrace your wife's friendship (s). She may have a long time in this world without you. You wouldn't want her to sit at home, alone, would you? I'm sure she wouldn't want that for you! It sounds like the two of you have a wonderful relationship except for your own negative feelings about your body. Work on that, as Matt said, and don't worry about the rest.

Comment: #12
Posted by: aimai
Sun Apr 3, 2011 6:20 AM
Re: irene

Of course you are entitled to your feelings about thread hijackings but really, what "rules" are you referring to? There's no rule that a letter writer must prefer a response from the Annies to a response from this particular group of commenters. IF there is a rule, or a custom, its that if you want to get advice from the Annies you write directly to them and they respond to you privately, and publish some letters publicly. Mr. McCleod isn't jumping any kind of imaginary que when he posts here--he's not muscling in front of the other letter writers to the Annies because he's not writing to the Annies or getting a response from them. He's actually choosing this forum because he must read these comments himself and because he wants a specifically male perspective which the Annies don't offer. Sometimes we get letters from readers who think that by posting to the forum they will get an official response from the Annies and they are always redirected to the Annies. But Mr. McCleod wasn't confused--he wanted a different kind of response. If his were a medical question or a technical question that none of us could answer it would be a different matter but he's just asking for personal opinions and we all seem pretty clear that we have a surplus of those!

Comment: #13
Posted by: aimai
Sun Apr 3, 2011 6:34 AM
While I can understand LW1's predicament with regards to her financial situation, I can't help but feel a little bit sorry for her husband who must be completely oblivious to the fact that his seemingly loving wife and business partner is simply biding her time and plotting her escape. The LW doesn't comment on the reasons she's miserable in her marriage other than to say it feels empty. I'm with the Annies here; I hope the LW gets into counseling to help her figure out why her American dream has turned into a nightmare. I think she owes her husband at least that much. I also hope she can work up the courage to sit down with her husband and talk to him and let him have a chance to fix whatever she perceives as the problems. Make an appointment today!

A few words of advice concerning LW2 is that one should never give out ones social security number frivolously! I know it's common practice these days for schools, doctors offices, insurance companies, creditors, etc., to demand ones social security number for record keeping or credit bureau purposes. I would like to remind readers that the only two entities lawfully allowed to request your social security number are the government and your employer. Period. For all others, you are free to make up a number as long as you inform with the requester that the number you're providing isn't your social security number. Identity thieves are everywhere, maybe even in your local dentists office. Protect yourself.

@M MacLeod

First, don't "forbid" your wife from spending time with her dear friend of twenty years. Yes, perhaps your wife's male friend is more "compatible" with her than you are, however, don't discount the fact that your wife has faithfully remained with YOU for the past 40 years. In theory, she could have left you for her friend at any time. Your wife has obviously found a way to maintain her marriage and her friendship without crossing any boundaries; she sounds like a true gem. While I applaud your efforts to try to transform yourself into the type of man you "think" your wife is compatible with, please understand that you shouldn't have to change who you are. Right now, you're feeling insecure and jealous because clearly you enjoy your wife's radiance when she's out with her friend and you want her to be that way with you, too. How you accomplish that is to tell and show your wife in many ways how much you appreciate and love her and everything she does. Then, keep working on improving your health and lifestyle. The rest will follow.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Chris
Sun Apr 3, 2011 6:36 AM
Irene, you're entitled to your preferences, but it's not going to change anything on this thread. How can asking for the thoughts of the male posters be "self-flattering"? The Annie's are women - they can't give a man's point of view and that's what he wanted. If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that the column has been "hijacked" by one person's wedding plans, another person's landlord problems, another's multiple recitals of her childhood sexual abuse. Some are even thoughtful enough to announce TMI alert at the beginning. Just scroll through if you're not interested. And if you know where the "rules" are posted about these kinds of forums, I'd like to see them.
And M, I can't speak for men, but you sound like a sweetheart to me. But listen to what Matt said about getting into shape - it's not too late.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun Apr 3, 2011 7:01 AM
To Irene - you raise an interesting point, but I can't agree with you. What's fun about these online forums, to me, is the diversity of opinions and perspectives. They're an opportunity for people to get feedback from a wide range of other people. And it's direct and immediate feedback, as compared to the delay that can be incurred when writing to an advice columnist. (I once wrote to the Annies myself, years ago -- my letter was printed several months after I had written it! I expect it went into an archive for them to use when they had room in the column). (And when it did appear it was in a severely edited form). If I were in need of advice again, I'd be more likely to post to a forum like this than write a letter to the Annies and wait patiently for days, weeks or months to see if they deigned to print it.

You and others are always free to comment on the letters in the column, but I see nothing wrong with people posting questions to the rest of us. It's not like there's limited space online and some will be crowded out.
Comment: #16
Posted by: sarah morrow
Sun Apr 3, 2011 7:11 AM
To LW 1- I have never posted before, but your letter struck a chord. I was in the same position as you. I felt like my marriage had fizzled out. There was emptiness and distance between my Husband and I. I too, created a fantastic world in my head to help me cope. When it too became not enough, I finally gathered my courage and sat my Hubby down and told him how I felt. We immediately went for counseling, and the change was immediate! He started wooing me, paid more attention to my needs- emotionally and physically. I cannot believe I waited a year and a half to level with him, for had I done it sooner, we could have spent that time making each other happy. I am glad we went to counseling. We now make each other a priority and my once unromantic ( he saw practicality as a more important quality) Husband now writes me love letters and hides them around the house for me to find. We both feel invigorated and renewed since getting help. We have also learned to use counseling to maintain the relationship. Neither of us communicated well, and counseling helps us to open up about thingsthat bother us before it turns into a problem. So go to counseling. You may just find the love again, like we did.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Hsmt245
Sun Apr 3, 2011 8:26 AM
LW3: I married a Chinese girl. Her father spoke broken English but her mother spoke only bits and pieces. Because of that, the entire family spoke Cantonese at the parent's home. I made it a point to learn as much as I could. I eventually got to the point where I could understand what was being discussed and could even make an occasional comment. LW3 may also have missed two additional benefits.. if family members know that you know the language, even a little bit, they won't "talk about you".. if you know what I mean.. and you and your spouse can chat in front of others and not be understood! Sales people find that very disconcerting!
Comment: #18
Posted by: Louie Louie
Sun Apr 3, 2011 9:29 AM
I want to thank everyone who acknolwedged I was entitled to my opinion.

I read the first sentence of your posts and then stopped, because, of course, most of you followed that by a "but..." that went on for a few sentences and looked, at least from a distance, like a whole bunch of reasons why I might not "really" be entitled to my opinon after all.

If I saw a letter of mine posted here, I wouldn't want to see someone hijack the thread. A"nd yes, I am entitled to my opinion. Thanks.
Comment: #19
Posted by: irene
Sun Apr 3, 2011 9:38 AM
Let me try to process what MR. M said; he is grossly fat, didn't bathe frequently, doesn't help or do household repairs, allows his wife to care for and to wait on him. She cheerfully has sex with him without any hesitancy. This letter was not written by Mr. M, it was written by Mrs. M. to ask for acceptance for her behavior. Go for it Mrs. M!
Comment: #20
Posted by: Penny
Sun Apr 3, 2011 9:44 AM
irene, If you wrote to the Annies and got a response that's all that you expected so you should be satisfied. These comments have never stayed on topic. We know all the regulars problems and how their fishing trip with uncle Joe somehow relates to Sally Jeans adultry. This comment section is just a vector for sharing personal information real and imagined. It serves a purpose for those who need to share their opinions and stories.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Penny
Sun Apr 3, 2011 9:56 AM
Irene, you are entitled to your opinion and to post it. That's what the boards are for, after all.

By the same token, of course, others are entitled to post their opinion of YOUR opinion, and may post that there are no rules indicating we must stay on topic, that they find Mr. M's letter interesting and worth commenting on, as much or more so than the letters/answers in the column or the OT bits and pieces we hear from regular posters here.

Thread drift, or outright hijacking, is pretty much part & parcel in any online forums that aren't strictly moderated; in my own opinion, trying to outlaw it it is kind of like trying to turn the tide. In effect, you actually "encouraged" the hijacking by commenting on it, which then provoked a host of posts from people who might not otherwise have bothered commenting on Mr. M's post! If you want to discourage thread hijacking, your better bet is to ignore the OT post and direct your comments only to the material you DO find relevant, to encourage conversations about THOSE topics.

Comment: #22
Posted by: hedgehog
Sun Apr 3, 2011 10:11 AM

Aren't your postings about hijacking the thread, um, hijacking the thread? You've posted three times by my last count and not once have you commented on the actual letters in today's column. Yes, you're entitled to your opinion so stop bellyaching about other commenters and post your opinions on the letters already or go find something else to do.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Chris
Sun Apr 3, 2011 10:12 AM
Penny, a lot of the threads evolve into interesting discussions and I do like that. However, this poster was no. 2 and he posted a doozy of a post that completely ignored the daily focus of the forum.

Like I said, I work with the public all the time and one way that people manipulate is to ask especially for "my" advice. In other words, they use flattery directed at me to make a situation all about them.

Maybe the reason this poster is having marital problems is because he's always making things "about him" and that's why his wife is looking for another male to focus on. Being that self-centred is childish and most women do give up on childish men in one way or another. They're just not sexy.
Comment: #24
Posted by: irene
Sun Apr 3, 2011 10:19 AM
Re: M MacLeod- I agree with others who have said that there's no need to rock the boat . Even if you did tell your wife to end her friendship,she would not. This would drive a possibly insurmountable wedge between you and your wife,possibly causing you to lose her. Besides,you have no proof of wrongdoing . The fact that your wife is happy after seeing your friend is not evidence of adultery. People are usually happy after seeing their friends. Unless you have something more substantial than suspicions of infidelity,I think you should give your wife the benefit of the doubt and trust her when she tells you that her relationship with her friend is that of a brother and sister. Your wife sounds like a great woman who wouldn't do anything to hurt you--especially something as devastating as adultery. Trust her. I wish you well!
Comment: #25
Posted by:
Sun Apr 3, 2011 10:28 AM
I've never understood the people who complain about comments that do not pertain to the letters.I've been reading these comments for a while,but I usually don't have time to write in. One thing that i've noticed is that the people complaining about off-topic comments orTMI are the people who comment the least about the letters.Often the whiners don't even address the letters at all They also have no problems with the trolls who don't address the letters.Some people have no concept of irony.
I would also like to remind the whiners that they are merely reading the opinions in an advice column.As screamin' Sammy Kinison would have said, "It's only an advice column. Get a grip!What's your *#*##*# PROBLEM,PEOPLE!AH !AH!AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Comment: #26
Posted by:
Sun Apr 3, 2011 11:09 AM
These forums are up to the readers and responders. If people weren't interested in Mr. M's question, it would have been ignored. Personally, today was a good day for such a question in my opinion. It was clear that LW1 needs to work with someone to determine which way to go to make her happy. LW2 posed an interesting question, but, no real feedback is needed.

I know if a question or a post doesn't interest me, I jump to the next one. If you don't like a topic, then move on! There are moer important things in life than to bicker back and forth on an on-line web site!
Comment: #27
Posted by: Cody's Dad
Sun Apr 3, 2011 12:09 PM
If people can't handle comments that don't pertain to the letters,they should find something that doesn't upset them so much as reading the comments at advice columns.The people who complain about off-topic comments are usually the same people who don't have much to say about the letters.I find this ironic.
Comment: #28
Posted by:
Sun Apr 3, 2011 12:41 PM
M MacLeod,

A young(ish) woman's perspective: do NOT make this an issue.

When I read your letter, 'MAYDAY' went through my mind. All I could think is that if you confronted your lovely, loving, loyal wife and asked her to end this, you would be ending your marriage - if not in name, in reality. I do not condone cheating, but do not think she is cheating on you... but I do think that this flirtation/fun/friendship/whatever is helping her to get through her life with you.

Honestly, all I can picture is her saying some horrible things that are best left unsaid if you were to confront her. You've acknowledged your shortcomings, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear them from her mouth, coupled with something like, "Making love to you is something I do out of obligation and for our marriage." Asking her to give this up could be the straw that breaks the camel's back - whether that camel be the marriage or just her cheerful acceptance of you and the problems in your marriage.

So my advice is to count your blessings... and please don't risk turning this into an issue. It just is NOT going anywhere good.
Comment: #29
Posted by: Roxeanne de Luca
Sun Apr 3, 2011 3:38 PM
Re: irene

Well, I'm a bit late to this party, but I kind of wonder why you come here if the OT thing upsets you so much? Whether I agree or disagree with you about the rules, and being OT, etc. (which, consequently, I don't), the reality is that this thread is not moderated for subject matter (or anything else, really). So, knowing that, why not find one that is? I comment on many different forums, and many of them are very clear in their posting expectations, and many of them are loosey goosey like this one. It isn't so hard to find one that enforces "the rules" if that's what you're looking for.

Also, mentioning that you're entitled to your opinion does not include that anyone must agree with you. On the other hand, you indicate that other aren't entitled to theirs by "stopping after the first line" because you didn't like what they had to say. Just like you seem to make some interesting assumptions about the person who started this whole discussion, I might be inclined to assume that you're inflexible and snooty.
Comment: #30
Posted by: AgLee16
Sun Apr 3, 2011 3:38 PM
The "rule" that people refer to about off-topic comments is rather arbitrary.
Comment: #31
Posted by:
Sun Apr 3, 2011 4:52 PM
As for JD in St. Louis who has been married for 35 years to a man from another country and whose language she knows litte of -- I think she should be ashamed that in 35 years she has not tried to learn to communicate with his family, or him for that matter, in his native language. Learning a few key phrases which she then mispronounces is not adequate. She should've learned more by now. I'm glad she's been treated well by her in-laws, but she certainly hasn't shown much consideration or respect for them or for her husband. She's apparently shown no interest whatsoever in her husband's native language. And while I know that's not a necessity, it would definitely be a considerate thing.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Su
Sun Apr 3, 2011 6:01 PM
Re: M MacLeod
I don't know about men of course, but I do know that every woman living in a polygamous marriage has had to come to the terms with a version of the same, much worse for them because they physically witness the intimacy with the sister-wives - while you don't, and it is even bubious that the relationship your wife has with this man even goes there.
Frankly, sir, this is a question of different strokes for different folks - whatever floats your boat. Your wife gets some happiness and satisfaction on some level with this man, and it doesn't affect the high quality of what she gives to you. Seems to me like everyone is content - or should be. (Why are you writing at all?)

Unless you have any cause at all to believe that things are otherwise than your wife tells you (and it doesn't look like you do), don't even THINK about it. And, to put it bluntly. even is she did have a relationshp with him that is more than brother-sister, as long as it's not only no threat to you, but in fact provides her with the escape she needs to even want to stay with you... then who cares? Just look the other way - believe you me, a LOT of women, after a suitable cost-benefit analysis, do the exact same thing.

It's not that I condone cheating... I don't. But I also know from plenty of experiece that, in between theory and practice, anything can happen. You have to be flexible and find where the happy middle lies - not always where one would think. Life has a way of throwing curve balls just to check whether you're awake.

What Matt said about getting into shape - do it for yourself if no one else, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the unexpected dividends.

I wouldn't say he hijacked the thread, it's just that the thread got a little bigger with his addendum. Others have done the same before, a) because they're sure of getting an answer, b) because the answer(s) will come RIGHT AWAY, c) they like our advice on other topics? LOL And then, there is the fact that he wanted a male perspective, which the Annies can't provide, and he wanted more than one.

Of course, you're entitled to your opinion - but so are we. And I don't mind, really I don't. I find it an enrichment, not a distraction. And I'm far too tired tonight to start counting, but it appears to me at first glance that there were at least as many reactions to your post as to his...

Do keep in mind that, as the forum to an advice column, we are likely to be both reflexion and imitation. Furthermore, an advice column is basically about life. Therefore, there is nothing, really, that is off-topic.

"we all seem pretty clear that we have a surplus of those!"
Hee hee hee, that we do, now don't we?

And now for yet another *surplus* opinion on today's topic!

You do not state why you feel your marriage is over. I would suggest you take Hsmt245's advice (post #18). You never know - it might work and, even if it doesn't - you'll learn some coping mechanisms that will make your life more bearable.

And now, gang, if you don't mind, I'll just turn in for the night - I just got back from the flea market and I don't think there is a single bone from my waist down that doesn't hurt - groan, I feel so old and decrepit. I'll get back on the Delphi threads tomorrow and go back to that interesting discussion I've been having with Mike H.

Comment: #33
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Apr 3, 2011 6:35 PM
Mr M. I 'll just add my 2 cents because I have a male friend of years and years whom I have never been involved with. I have known this guy since the sixth grade. We grew up in the same town, know all of the old haunts and had and the same circle of friends. There is something comforting about knowing someone for that long, and something comfortable about having threads from a town and a world that has changed almost beyond recognition. He is also my best friends man and the father of my god son. I feel blessed to have people in my life who have known me forever and who are able to stick through the years, even when there have been gaps in our friendships. So much of life changes and blows away. When so much around you changes and you don't recognise the world anymore, to have some anchor to the world that was, is like an island of sanity, and to be able to rely on people in a time where evryone seems self centered and when relationships of all kinds seem dispoable, long term friends are a great gift. Look how many people on these threads suggest to dump friends, family and partners at the first sign of trouble. Things are so different today. I think you are right to feel secure in the fact that your lovely wife loves you the way you are and loves looking out for you and being your special lady. Please don't worry so much. Your bond is unique. And also, the mystery of differentness I think is part of attraction. I bet your lady sees that you are radiant after doing the things that you do that are a part of your life, but not of hers and has her own insecurities and worries about that, too. No doubt she has her own jealousies and feelings of possessiveness and worries if you love her while you are away. You seem like great guy. take care of yourself and your lady.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Me
Mon Apr 4, 2011 2:04 AM
I meant to check in earlier, but i was worried and afraid to see bad news.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Me
Mon Apr 4, 2011 2:07 AM
I'm glad there's no pay wall at Creators. I had to change my account at the NYT because I used up my 20 free articles and I haven't yet decided to buy a digital subsrcription or go with home delivery. I'm leaning toward home delivery because it supports more jobs.
Comment: #36
Posted by: newsie
Mon Apr 4, 2011 1:00 PM
Re: Newsie

Yup - it's free and on tap 24 hours a day. You can get anything you need at this forum, too. Opinionated, crazy, sentimental, liberated, right-wing, left-wing, fundamental bologna, served with a smile.

Y'all come back now!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Wow, Irene
I've been enjoying your input so much over the past few weeks and glad that you told us how you feel. I'm sorry that you couldn't agree how welcome M MacLeod should be here at this forum.

How many times have we wished to get more information from the original LWs? He wrote such a heartfelt, well-rounded explanation of his current state of mind that we can really see almost the whole picture. And as he wanted a male perspective, this is a great place to ask for it.

M MacLeod - I hope it works out for you and your lovely wife -- please come back and let us know more in the future.

LW1: How can anyone live for six years dreaming of getting away from his/her marriage. I give her credit, as I couldn't last six days if I felt that strongly. How unfair to her husband! He deserves to know how she is feeling so that they can both work on it and come to a mutual agreement on how to continue - together, apart, in personal and business terms. The children would benefit from parents who are honest!

I have no comment on LW2. SSNs?? Really - are there no better letters to print?
Comment: #37
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Mon Apr 4, 2011 3:26 PM
Re: Miss Pasko

Yeah, actually, I found McLeod's letter to be most welcome in light of a very slow day!

Comment: #38
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 5, 2011 8:22 AM
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