Dear Annie: Recently, I got married after being single and a widow for 23 years. My husband and I are in our late 70s and very active.
We went on a tour to the Midwest. There was a very attractive 70-plus woman with whom I noticed my husband flirting, and she with him. I mentioned that I did not appreciate the attention he was throwing her way, and he assured me it was all in fun.
He later needed help with the photos on his phone. As I was helping him, there was a picture of her and her alone. Not in a group. I questioned him as to why he had a picture of her in his phone, and his response was that he didn’t know how it got there. He said it must have been a mistake.
He has assured me that he loves me and is not interested in anyone else. I can’t seem to get this out of my head.
I have prayed on this but to no avail. I thank you in advance for any advice you have on how to handle this situation. I can’t let it go.
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— Worried About Wandering Eyes
Dear Worried: It is understandable that you would question why your husband had a single picture of the woman that you thought he was flirting with.
Expressing your jealousy is OK if done in a productive and matter-of-fact way. If you allow your jealousy to fester, it will only torment you. As Willian Penn said: “The jealous are troublesome to others but a torment to themselves.”
You have a choice regarding the picture: You can choose to believe him — that it just got there — or you can call him out. And perhaps you don’t mind if he looks or even flirts a little with another woman, but it’s the lying that really bothers you. Looking and not touching, or even flirting a little, with someone might be acceptable, but lying about it is a much bigger problem.
It is the cover-up that creates the most problems. Your husband would be much better served if he just said sorry for taking her picture and reassured you that he only has eyes for you.
Dear Annie: I’ve struggled with an assortment of mental health issues since I was a child. It took me a long time to accept that I needed help — not just therapy, but medication. The thought of depending on a pill to feel “normal” made me cringe.
I’m sure it’s an anxiety a lot of other people share, so I’d like to offer a bit of wisdom from someone who’s been through it (and is still going through it): Taking medication for your mental health is no different than taking ibuprofen for a headache. When something’s off in your body chemistry — the brain is a part of the body, after all — medicine is there to help.
I remind myself how lucky I am to live in an age where this advanced medicine exists, albeit more accessible to some than others. I also started referring to my medication as my “vitamins”; it’s helped me let go of the stigma I used to feel.
Another bit of wisdom from my psychiatrist: No one’s symptoms fit one diagnosis perfectly. Stop thinking of your health in terms of a single label; human beings are more complex than that. Labels are for convenience, for helping us communicate.
At the end of the day, we each need to prioritize our well-being over whatever internal or social hurdles may be in the way.
— Chemically Rebalanced and Thriving
Dear Thriving: Thank you for sharing your story. I always love to hear success stories, and I admire your courage in seeking help and speaking out.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to email@example.com.