Annie Lane: Imprisoned husband could affect recovery

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dear Annie: I’m currently in recovery. I have had two years of being clean and sober, after 13 long, miserable years of addiction. I have a full-time job that I love and am advancing, in my own place, and just live a good, “normal” life. I am quite happy in my current state and have made peace with my past. I’ve realized it was a tough lesson but one that has made me a better person today for having experienced it.

However, during my active addiction, I married someone who was also an addict. We had been friends for several years, and it just seemed to naturally progress to the point where we wanted to have a life together. Two weeks after we got married, both he and I went to jail.

I’ve since done my time and completely changed my life. My husband is still in prison. I have thought seriously about getting divorced, as we were both actively using throughout our entire relationship. He says he has changed and wants to live life without using, but I am terrified that he will get out and start getting high.

I don’t want to live that lifestyle and am not willing to put my recovery in jeopardy. I can’t even truly say I still love him, and he doesn’t even know this new person that I have grown to become. Should I follow through with the divorce? Or see what happens when he gets out?

— Recovering but Conflicted

Dear Recovering but Conflicted: When he says he has changed, what exactly does he mean? People speak louder with their actions than their words. Your recovery should remain your number one priority. Anything that takes you away from that has got to go, and if your husband will not stay sober, that means him as well.

• • •

Dear Annie: I have to object to your language about how grandchildren “intuitively” love their grandparents in your note to “Family Scapegoat.”

Unless the grandparents are the children’s primary attachment, there is no reason for children to connect with them except as a reflection of the parent’s relationship with the grandparents. Saying otherwise is outdated and not in line with attachment theory.

Parents should be allowed to cut unhealthy and unsafe relationships out of their children’s lives — even if those relationships are familial.

— Unimpressed by the Greatness

Dear Unimpressed: You are correct, and if a grandparent’s behavior is unhealthy or unsafe, they should be kept away from their grandchildren. But if the issue is not so black and white, and the behavior is more annoying than unsafe, then the parents should set boundaries for the interactions rather than cut them off altogether.

• • •

Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 14 years now, and we have three kids. My husband is constantly wanting me all to himself. Whenever I make friends and we try to hang out, he has an issue with it.

He makes mean comments about me caring about my friendship more than my family. He thinks that once you get married, you no longer need friends and everything should be about him and the kids.

I need personal time and believe it’s healthy to have different friends. How can I help him understand this? Or is the marriage doomed?

— Fed Up in North Carolina

Dear Fed Up: I don’t blame you. It sounds like you are more in a jail than a marriage. Personal time is very important, and having friends is very healthy for you and every member of your family. He sounds incredibly controlling. Don’t let him control you. Go out with your friends if you want to, and if he makes mean comments, then know that he is just threatened by them and trying to manipulate you. Don’t let him.

Do what makes you happy — because happy people have good marriages and are good parents. Unhappy people, who feel controlled and caged, tend to become sad and not good role models for their children.

“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 www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com