Dear Annie: My husband and I have an adorable 3-year-old girl. Unfortunately, he has been seeing another woman for quite some time. Now he says he wants to divorce me and move to Hawaii with the girlfriend.
Here's the catch: He wants to take our wonderful daughter with him. I have told him that our little girl would be much happier if we stayed together, and that I'd be lonely and hurt if he took our baby away. I said if he wants to see his child, he's going to have to stay here, married to me.
He doesn't listen. What can I do? — Distraught in the West
Dear Distraught: You can see a lawyer immediately. Your husband no longer wants to be married to you, and you cannot force him to stay. If he is willing to try marriage counseling, fine, but we doubt he will make the effort. You can, however, most likely prevent him from taking your child away.
A legal divorce agreement will also put in writing that your husband pays child support and that visitation schedules are set. Please do this today. Don't wait until he agrees with you or worse, leaves and takes the baby with him. If you cannot afford a lawyer, check online or in your phone book to see whether your city has a Legal Aid office, or find help through local Child and Family Services or the American Bar Association.
Dear Annie: I used to look forward to my birthday, anniversary and Valentine's Day, but now I dread them. My husband is gift-challenged.
I have been married to "Dennis" for four years. We are pretty happy, but both admittedly stubborn and set in our ways. We married later in life. We are in our 60s and don't have much money, although we get by. The only time we have fought was about gifts.
I don't expect much from Dennis. I am not a materialistic person. We live simply and humbly. Family and friends are more important than things. I don't care about designer labels or car brands. But it bothers me terrible that he doesn't even try to mark a special day with something special — flowers, a romantic card or a nice dinner out. The best he's done is to make me a card on his computer and get me a rose at the supermarket, but he does it grudgingly.
Am I asking too much? My friends know better than to ask how any special occasion was because they know how unhappy I am about this. Christmas will be here soon. How do I handle my disappointment? — Thanks for Listening
Dear Thanks: It is unlikely that Dennis will suddenly become the romantic, thoughtful guy you are looking for. If this is the worst of his faults, consider yourself lucky. The best way to handle gift disappointment is to do what women have done for decades: Get your own flowers and presents, and write on the card, "All my love, Dennis." When you open the present, gush to him how wonderful it is and how much you love him for thinking of you. He will either get the hint and do something about it, or he won't. Either way, you'll get more considerate gifts on your special days.
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.