Thirty years of marriage but always so alone
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. Sometimes I think I don’t know him at all. He hardly calls or texts me when at work, but he would call his siblings at any time of the day. He doesn’t answer my calls or respond to my texts messages, either. He is often late from work, usually arriving two hours after he’s done even though it’s 30 minutes away.
I feel isolated and lonely. I’m often perplexed by my husband’s reaction whenever I tell him how I feel. Recently, I told him, “I don’t think you love me.” And he replied, “Go tell your friends that.” He isn’t happy if I go out for dinner with my girlfriends. He seldom goes out, because I caught him lying once.
I feel trapped and tired in this relationship. What should I do? — Is This Married Life?
Dear Is This Married Life?: Trapped, isolated and lonely — so much sadness in such a short letter. Whatever is going on with you and your husband, it’s clear the status quo isn’t acceptable. Partners should not begrudge each other for having dinner with friends or talking often to siblings. It sounds as though you’re both stuck in a toxic cycle, and it’s going to take an outside force to break you out of it. Ask your husband to attend marriage counseling. If he refuses, seek therapy on your own; websites such as BetterHelp and Talkspace connect patients with health care professionals via video chats, text messages and phone calls, so you don’t even need to leave your house to get help. But please, do get help. It could change your life.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your answer to “Doctor Mother,” who noticed a lump on her son’s girlfriend’s neck. My husband, “Bob,” was sitting next to his boss, “Roger,” who is a doctor and health commissioner. Roger noticed that Bob’s neck bumped out when he swallowed. Roger examined Bob’s neck while he swallowed again and said to go for a biopsy. It was thyroid cancer in both lobes of his thyroid, which he then had removed.
A year later, I noticed a lump in my daughter’s neck during a visit. She was in her early 20s. She followed my advice and had it checked out. A biopsy revealed cancer in a lymph node that had come from her thyroid. She had the thyroid removed one month later. Had I not insisted, the cancer could have spread even further. I don’t even want to think of that possible outcome. Today she is 39 and cancer-free. My husband is also cancer-free.
So my advice for “Doctor Mother” is to speak up and tell her son’s girlfriend to get it checked out. Better to be safe than sorry! A lump isn’t always a skin condition. It could be a swollen lymph node. — WNY Reader
Dear WNY Reader: You’re absolutely right. I should have more seriously considered the stakes. I’m printing your letter to correct the record. Thanks for writing.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.