Dear Annie: I am desperate for advice about my husband's lies. We have been together for 27 years. From the beginning, he knew that complete honesty is very important to me. I told him about my past relationships, and he told me about his. In all of our time together, he has maintained the same stories, but with enough variation to make me question which parts of these stories are true.
Here's the whopper: He told me he had five children with five different women, two of them sisters. As far as I know, he has never been in contact with any of them. Now that we are getting older, I can't help but wonder about these children and any possible grandchildren. I worry that one of them might need medical information or possibly a transplant one day.
Now my husband says he made up the story about being with two sisters. He claims it never happened and that he only said it to make himself seem more experienced in my eyes. So which is the lie?
I am having a difficult time trying to deal with this new information. I have even suggested we get counseling together, but he refuses. Have I been living a lie for all these years? — Old Married Lady in Lodi
Dear Lodi: We have no problem believing that your husband made up at least some of the stories about all those other women. But abandoning one's children is hardly a reason to boast — unless, of course, there are no children at all. The problem is, you don't know, so your trust in him is unmoored. This is more serious than he realizes. Trust comes from honesty, and this is the foundation of the relationship.
Tell him he owes years of back child support and you expect him to do the honorable thing and pay up. Offer to contact these various women, which will help determine the truth of his stories. Then get some counseling for yourself, with or without him. You could use some guidance on how to proceed.
Dear Annie: A good friend's daughter is getting married next month, and we aren't sure whether we should attend. My husband and I have sent presents and attended weddings, showers, birthdays and graduations for all of our friends' children and grandchildren. When our child had a small out-of-state wedding with no shower or reception, not one of our friends bothered to ask for the couple's new address in order to send a card with good wishes.
I think this was terribly rude, and I'm quite bitter about it. I'm tired of celebrating their important life events when they never reciprocate. — Party Pooper
Dear Party: Of course they should have sent good wishes. But some people believe that if they are not invited to a wedding, they need not send any type of acknowledgement. Some may even be miffed that you didn't invite them, when they invited you to all of their children's events. When a wedding is small and many close friends and family members cannot be included, it is often a good idea to send out announcements letting folks know that a marriage has taken place and where the newlyweds now reside.
Dear Annie: Here is another suggestion for "Disappointed Neighbors," whose teenage neighbors loudly rev their cars and loiter in the street by their house.
I suggest "Disappointed" set aside some time to chat with these neighbor boys as they do their revving. Ask about the engines, tires and paint jobs. Ask how to install an app on your phone. Offer a pitcher of lemonade. Perhaps they could share some easy listening music on their radio while they sit nearby in lawn chairs.
Either they will make friends with the teenagers, who may then be more considerate, or the teens will stop loitering around their new, uncool friends. — Kill 'Em with Kindness in N.C.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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.