Dear Annie: “Jimmy” and I have been married for five years. In the past two, things have slowly gone downhill.
Jimmy works long hours, and while we are OK financially, money is also a source of stress. Certain triggers that didn’t bother him before are now major issues. He gives me dirty looks, calls me names and cusses me, and he can start fights over the smallest things, usually housework I didn’t get done, toys being in the living room, not fixing him a better dinner. We fight most nights of the week.
I’m tired of the highs and lows. Jimmy’s temper has escalated, and he hits walls and slams doors. He is mean to the kids, and when I defend them, he says I am never on his side. I worry what my children are learning about relationships.
I have a part-time job, but my main job is paying the bills, cooking, cleaning, laundry and child care. I rarely ask to get my hair done or buy clothes, because Jimmy’s ex spent him into debt and I don’t want him to think I’m like her. I would love to resume my career once the kids are older, but if it interferes with the running of the household, life around here will be miserable.
We barely have sex, because we go to bed angry. Jimmy expects the house to be magazine-perfect and says if he knew I was such a lazy witch, he never would have married me. When I protest, he tells me to quit complaining.
When Jimmy is in a decent mood, I remember how much I love him. But the rest of the time, I feel worthless and like a failure. I’d try counseling, but he won’t go. I miss the guy he used to be. — Hopelessly Devoted
Dear Devoted: Jimmy sounds stressed and unable to control his moods. He also is verbally abusive. He might be more willing to talk about this with his doctor, but if he refuses to admit there’s a problem, your best option is to get counseling for yourself.
There may be ways to respond better. Your doctor or clergyperson can refer you, or try United Way. If Jimmy’s behavior worsens, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).
Dear Annie: You’ve printed a lot of letters about men with erectile dysfunction. I had that problem for several years as a result of various medications. I tried the little blue pill, but had major side effects.
Finally, a urologist recommended an implant. It sounded scary, but he connected me with other men who have one, and this calmed my fears. The outpatient procedure was fully covered by my insurance. I awoke without discomfort and was soon released. After three weeks, I was fully functional — no more failures, disappointments, embarrassments or anxiety. My only regret is not doing it sooner. Please tell your readers. — Senior Citizen in Florida
Dear Florida: You told them, and we’re certain many were listening carefully. Any elective surgery is a very personal decision, but we appreciate your testimonial and hope it is helpful to others.
Dear Annie: This is for “Nebraska,” who is raising her grandson while her daughter spends the child support money on other things.
I work in a Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU), and this happens quite frequently. The grandmother should talk to her local CSEU. They can help her file, at no cost, a change of beneficiary, making her the recipient of the payments since she is, in fact, the child’s actual guardian. If the father should be granted custody, he can file a modifying petition that will terminate his payments of child support. I hope this helps. — Jemal D. Cooper, Sr., Financial Investigator, Tompkins County DSS, Child Support Enforcement Unit, N.Y.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.