Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I are in our 60s and have known each other since high school. We reconnected five years ago, and for the past 18 months, we've been living together.
At first, my boyfriend was loving and sweet and promised all sorts of dreams for our future. But after several months, he changed. He became distant, sometimes even cruel in his actions. I begged him to tell me if there was another woman, but he always denied it, in spite of rumors and the fact that things just seemed off.
The problem is, even after all this time, I still have moments when I'm convinced he had a fling with a certain woman, and I can't get over it. He still denies it, and I am confused and hurt. But when I ask, he will respond by withdrawing from me for months.
I believe he did have an affair and never got over her and that's why we have so little intimacy now. I have been praying and am seeing a counselor, but I can't seem to let it go completely. Is there something wrong with me? Or is my intuition telling me that he deceived me and is continuing to lie about it? All my friends say either to let it go or to end it, but I don't want to leave him, and I have no control over my thoughts and feelings. Please help. — Louise in Louisville
Dear Louise: Actually, you do have some control over those thoughts and feelings, but it takes effort and willingness. Your intuition is telling you that your boyfriend is not being completely honest, and you have become fixated on knowing something that he probably will never tell you. And it could be that there is nothing to tell. Because you wish to stay with him, please talk to your counselor about how to forgive him, and then do the necessary work to get there.
Dear Annie: I would like to write a note to all smokers: News flash. You smell like a dirty ashtray. Always. You try to be nice and go outside to have your cigarette, but when you come back in, you still smell like an ashtray. You smoke in your car so you can have your cigarette before you arrive at your destination, but when you walk into the room, you still smell. Your clothes reek of smoke — always. No amount of perfume covers it up.
Just thought you'd like to know. I know I'm tired of smelling you. — A Nonsmoker
Dear Nonsmoker: Although what you say is true, it is not so simple. Most smokers are well aware of the lingering odor, not to mention the yellowing teeth and nails, frequent cough, and looming lung cancer. The downside has been well-documented and -publicized. But smoking is highly addictive. For some, giving it up is nearly impossible, no matter how much effort they put into trying. Though smoking in the car or outside the office is not ideal, it is better than nothing.
Dear Annie: I'd like to offer a more positive response to all those mothers who complain about their daughters-in-law.
My son is married to a wonderful woman. She is a great mother to their two children and stepmother to his daughter. I love this woman with all of my heart. I am always welcome in their home as they are in mine. I can have the grandchildren whenever I want. When their daughter was born, my daughter-in-law gave me the most wonderful gift: She allowed me to be in the delivery room for the birth. What a precious woman my son married.
I called her "daughter," because to me, that is what she is. My own mother-in-law was not very kind to me, and I vowed I would be different. Sometimes it takes a little work, and sometimes your son marries an angel. — Mother-in-Law of an Angel
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.