When a Healthy Dose of Suspicion Makes Sense

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

March 7, 2012 5 min read

Dear Annie: "Bill" and I have been married for 43 years. He retired three years ago. We didn't socialize with any of his co-workers, so I didn't know them well.

Last Christmas, Bill got a card with no return address. It only had Bill's name on it. I handed it to him so he had to open it in front of me. It was a really nice card from "Betty" and a note telling him how much she missed him, their talks, their lunches and their personal conversations. She suggested they get together for a holiday lunch.

When I asked Bill why he never mentioned Betty to me, he said the lunches didn't mean anything and he probably forgot because they were so insignificant. I don't believe him. We have always told each other everything. He put Betty's card on display with the others, but I asked him to take it down since it wasn't sent to us as a couple. He said he'd throw it away because it made me unhappy. But, Annie, my instincts said he was lying, so I checked the trash. No card. The other day, I saw his old briefcase, and inside was Betty's card. He had written her phone number on it.

If this card meant nothing to him, why keep it? Why lie to me? I love my husband. I want to trust him. I've never had reason not to, but I'm shaken to the core. Now I pay close attention when he leaves the house and keep track of how long he's gone. Last week, he said he needed to run some errands and was gone for nearly two hours. He claims he ran into "Dave," a former co-worker, but I wonder if this was Betty's holiday lunch.

I hate feeling this way. My kids say to forget about it before I make myself sick. Are they right? Am I just paranoid? — Card Woes

Dear Card: No. Your husband is not being totally truthful about Betty, and this creates suspicion and distrust, both of which undermine your relationship. You need to have a long talk with him and explain why his behavior is hurting you. If he cannot reassure you sufficiently, the next step is counseling.

Dear Annie: Recently, my wife and I were in Las Vegas and had a terrible experience at a buffet at one of the top hotels. I sent an email to the manager, and she forwarded it to the executive chef. The executive chef apologized, invited us to dine at any of the hotel's restaurants and suggested the most expensive one. He met us at the restaurant and said to order anything we wanted on the menu, starting with wine. The total bill came to $350.

I said we should leave a tip, but my wife (who has a restaurant background) said that when the management invites you, you do not tip. Who is right? — Comped Bill

Dear Bill: You are. The waitstaff still had to work to serve you, no matter who paid the bill. Unless there was an added service charge that was then picked up by the owner, the waitstaff should not be penalized because you had a bad experience at another location.

Dear Annie: "Hurt in California" felt bad that she called the police on a brother who might be raising children in a neglectful, possibly abusive environment.

As a person whose childhood was very similar to that scenario, I would have been rescued many times over if an adult had had the courage to call Child Protective Services. I cringe when I hear my aunts say they still wonder whether they should have done the same, but "didn't want to interfere."

Please take the risk of sticking up for those kids. They will remember for the rest of their lives that someone was paying attention. — Shouldawouldacoulda

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 www.creators.com.

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