Dear Annie: My husband and I have been happily married for 15 years and recently decided to try an open-marriage lifestyle. We are doing this with full honesty and respect for each other.
The main problem is that the dating success is not equal. I found it easier to get a date. Whereas, my husband is having a tremendous degree of difficulty. He has online dating profiles, but no luck. I am seeing someone who is a wonderful person, but I want my husband to experience new things along with me.
Open marriage is still considered taboo, and it is extremely important to my husband and me that we are honest about our marital status with any prospective date. Even though he is happy for me, I feel compelled to help him. But I'm not sure how to do it without overstepping unspoken boundaries. — Open but Lost
Dear Open: Are you sure your husband wants this as much as you do? He may have agreed to the arrangement only to please you. We think you need to have this discussion again and let your commitment to honesty lead the way. Ask your husband whether he is truly happy with the idea of an open marriage and, if so, what you can do to make things easier for him. Marriage, "open" or otherwise, requires the ability to communicate.
Dear Annie: Would you please address the distinction between "dinner" and "supper"? I've heard many people refer to the evening meal as dinner, but the definition of an evening meal is supper. I even heard a prominent newscaster refer to the president as sitting down with a guest at the White House for "dinner" tonight, but if they are sitting down at night, it is clearly supper. — Stickler in the South
Dear Stickler: In most parts of the U.S. and Canada, these words are used interchangeably. However, there are regional distinctions, which might explain why this bothers you so much.
According to most definitions, "dinner" refers to the main meal of the day. Back in the Middle Ages, people often ate the main meal at lunchtime. Now we tend to eat it much later, but it is still called "dinner" regardless of the time. "Supper" refers to a lighter meal taken later in the evening and is often used interchangeably with "tea." The word "dinner" also is used when referring to a formal meal or banquet (hence the president's dinners), and "supper" is always a less formal affair. We hope that answers your question. Thanks for the change of pace.
Dear Annie: In response to "Wife of the Plumber," I have only one thing to say: Get out while the gettin' is good!
Her husband is a total narcissist, and nothing is going to change him. Narcissists are superb at conning people, especially those who love them. We are the ones they treat the worst, because we have that unrealistic hope that given time things will improve.
After almost half a century, I can attest to the fact that no matter how many chances you give, no matter how many promises they make and no matter how much you love them or how hard you work, it will never change. They see nothing wrong with themselves. It is always the other person's fault. They will not seek help.
I urge her not to throw her life away on someone who will never be there for her. I hoped too much and loved too strongly, and although still legally married, I have finally reached the point of emotionally withdrawing from my self-made prison. If leaving is not feasible, she needs to protect herself and her children from the extreme damage that is done by living with this type of person. And get counseling. — Been There, Done That and Escaped
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. 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.