Dear Annie: Many years ago, I was separated from my husband for several years. At the tail end of our separation, I discovered he had been cheating on me.
About a week after I learned this, I was approached by the husband of a woman I knew who was quite ill. He said she had given permission for the two of us to sleep together. Because my husband's affair was fresh in my mind, I agreed to this, although now I can see it was misguided. I assumed my husband and I would be getting a divorce, and I was hoping this new relationship would lead somewhere. After a while, I realized I was being used and ended it. My husband found out and he forgave me. In fact, we reconciled and are still together.
Here's the problem: Although my daughters have forgiven me, my son continues to make disrespectful remarks about me on social media. I have tried talking to him about it. To my face, he acts as though everything is fine, but his online comments can be seen by all our family and friends.
Obviously, he has never gotten over my affair, but he lives across the country, so it's not as though we can go to counseling together. I'm not sure how to handle this and I've had enough. My heart is hardening toward him. — Hurt Mom
Dear Mom: Apparently, your son holds you to a higher standard than he does his father. His nasty comments on social media are childish. He is trying to punish you. If you have not yet sincerely apologized to your son for causing him pain, please do so. It costs you nothing and it might be what he needs to settle down. You also can ask his father or sisters to intercede and make him see that this is counterproductive and could damage the relationship permanently. Otherwise, we strongly urge you to stop reading his posts. Such vitriol only hurts you repeatedly. Ignore what you can, and get counseling for yourself if you need help letting go.
Dear Annie: I, too, was "Married to a Kvetch," and have some suggestions on how to handle the irritation.
My husband wasn't sick, but he enjoyed broadcasting his health ailments. His favorite hobby was going to the doctor. Telling him to get a thorough checkup would not change anything. We had good health insurance, so I indulged him. I listened, made suggestions and worked on keeping him distracted with activities and hobbies.
I knew he wouldn't suddenly stop complaining. He was simply a hypochondriac. He was a middle child, and I think this is how he always managed to get attention from his family. In spite of his constant complaints and "poor health," he lived to age 94.
"Married to a Kvetch" says her husband is otherwise a good guy. I would tell her to love him, and to try to understand the reason for his behavior. It makes all the difference in tolerating it. — Understanding Widow
Dear Widow: Some people enjoy their maladies and like the attention (even negative attention) that complaining brings. But in case it is a genuine undiagnosed medical problem, it should always be checked out.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. 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.