Dear Annie: We are on our second marriage and in our 60s. I believe he loves me, but Facebook is coming between us.
I do not think he would go out and cheat on me, but he loves friends/women on his computer. I have not found anything real bad yet on Facebook, but he spends nearly all day and night on it. That's his life.
He used to ask pretty, single younger women to be friends. I had a fit and told him it had better stop, and it has. But that hasn't stopped his obsession with staying on Facebook.
Am I overreacting for getting upset when he finds an attractive woman and "likes" nearly everything on her page, including when she's posting photos of herself?
I have seen him chatting with women, but he's not saying anything sexual.
However, there have been regular conversations with only a few that he has known, and they were single.
I tell him that it could open doors, and women are more emotional and can read into the conversation as flirting. He assures me that's not the case. But all his time is spent on his phone, and we are still newlyweds!
I have been having serious thoughts about leaving him. I have made him realize how this makes me feel. One other thought is this: Maybe he is erasing evidence?
He used to consistently talk about it until I put a stop to it. He is aware of how I feel. I have even let him know I'm thinking about leaving, which he says he doesn't want. He says I am just a jealous person. — Marriage Falling
Dear Marriage Falling: It's not just Facebook that is coming between the two of you. It is his lack of respect for you. He should not be chatting with other women on Facebook and distracted. You can't have a relationship with someone when you're only seeing the top of his head because he never has his eyes off the computer or phone.
Part of intimacy is connecting face to face with eye contact, and if his eyes are glued to a screen with other women on them, you have every right to be upset. He could be addicted to the screen, but, like all addictions, he has to want to take steps necessary to reform — both for his mental health and for your marriage. And to gain the strength to break this addiction, he'll need to be able to share honestly with a wife who is willing to listen. I strongly advise that you seek marriage counseling soon if you want to stay in this marriage.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to "Heartbroken." For years I found myself making the same relationship mistakes, and the pattern was always the same. I am 58, and, as I have gotten older, I started reading many books that helped me to understand narcissistic behavior. To me, "Steve" sounds like a typical narcissist.
The book that saved my sanity was "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie. I am also in counseling and have learned to love me first. It has been a hard journey, but I am so worth it. I want "Heartbroken" to know that she can do so much better than this guy, and she is lovable and will find that love in herself. — I Feel Her Pain
Dear I Feel Her Pain: Thank you for your letter and for speaking from your heart. I am printing it so that others will know that they are not alone if they are in an abusive relationship, and that they can get out.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]