Dear Annie: I believe my husband is having an emotional affair with his employee "Tina." All the signs are there.
My husband's office phone accidentally dialed me while he was talking with Tina at work, and I overheard their conversation. He called her terms of love. I started snooping and discovered that they text each other hundreds of times a month. He lets her know when I'm away from the house so she can call him directly. Tina is the first person he calls on his way to work and the last person he calls on his way home. It used to be me.
We've been married for 18 months, but we are not kids. We are in our 50s. I'm stunned by his behavior. When I confronted him, he said he isn't doing anything wrong because nothing physical has happened between them. Since then, he's become more secretive and won't discuss it at all.
I am so saddened by this. He is giving to Tina a part of him that is meant for me, his wife. I am going to therapy, and that helps. But I have reached the point where I no longer have the feelings of love for my husband that I used to. I'm upset with him all of the time.
Tell your readers that an emotional affair is just as damaging as a physical one - maybe more so. - Heart of Stone
Dear Heart: Some partners mistakenly believe that if there is no sex, there is no affair. But giving your emotions, your heart, your innermost thoughts to someone other than your spouse is also cheating. It creates a bond with a third party, allowing that person into your marriage.
We are glad you are getting counseling, but if your husband does not understand the damage he is doing and makes no effort to change it, we worry that your marriage will not survive. (You also might point out that he is putting his career in jeopardy by becoming involved with a subordinate.)
Dear Annie: After 20 years of marriage, my husband and I divorced because he was having an affair. My now ex-in-laws have welcomed the Other Woman into their lives. Even before we were divorced, my ex-mother-in-law was hanging out with my ex-husband and his mistress.
I feel totally betrayed by my ex's family. I still spend time with my ex-in-laws because of my three teenage children. They keep saying that they still love me and that I am still their daughter, but would any family member, especially a mother, cozy up to the person who caused her daughter so much pain? Am I overreacting? - L.
Dear L.: You are expecting loyalty from someone who cannot give it. As much as they may love and care about you, your in-laws love and care about their son more. Even if they believe their son behaved terribly toward you, this Other Woman may become his wife and your children's stepmother. If they reject her, they risk alienating him.
Your best bet is to learn to live graciously with the situation in order to make it easier for your children. If you cannot achieve this on your own, please consider counseling.
Dear Annie: "Can't Please Mother" said Mom never was happy about any gift she received from her kids. I have a different perspective.
My sons have given me electronic devices, but never took the time to show me how to use them, so they sit in my dresser under my socks. When my grandchild was born, I received a cup with her picture. It was the best gift ever, and I said so, yet I never got another one.
I once visited a woman who had shelf after shelf of "stuff" she couldn't use, and all she did was dust it all every week. People should listen to what others truly want. - Nebraska
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.