DEAR ANNIE: I am 40 years old and have been married to "Rick" for 19 years. We have four beautiful daughters.
For years, Rick wanted a son. I thought he had accepted that it wasn't going to happen, so I didn't protest when he formed a friendship with a 10-year-old fatherless neighbor boy. "Drew" is now 13, and he's a great kid. Kind, respectful and helpful.
Rick and Drew are always doing things together. Going to ball games, riding bikes, playing basketball. At first, I thought it was great, but now I have some major concerns. About a year ago, Drew started stopping by on his way to school to get his "morning hug" from Rick. I used to think it was cute, but now it's just annoying. Then Rick insisted on including Drew in every family outing. When he wanted to invite him along on our vacation this summer, I put my foot down. Rick sulked for a week.
But here is the real problem: Two weeks ago, our oldest daughter said that she and her sisters believe Dad loves Drew more than he loves them. She said she's been spying on her father, and he is always hugging Drew and kissing him on the mouth, and that sometimes when I'm not home, they go into our bedroom and lock the door.
I confronted Rick, and he admitted to the hugging and kissing, but said Drew is just very affectionate. He even confessed to taking Drew into the bedroom and locking the door, but insists they were only talking.
Frankly, I don't know what to think. Something is not right. Is it possible that my husband and this boy are having sex? -- Worried Wife
DEAR WORRIED: It is more than possible. It is likely. Even if they aren't sexually involved, this is a worrisome situation and not healthy for anyone. You must insist that Rick and Drew separate physically, as well as emotionally. No more morning kisses, no more outings alone, no more trips to the bedroom. The two of them cannot be left alone, even for one second.
If Rick refuses to cooperate, are you willing to turn him in to the authorities as a suspected pedophile and let them investigate? (You can do this anonymously.) Would Rick be willing to get counseling as a condition of remaining in the marriage? (We'd insist on that.) We know such a reality is hard to face, but please act on this immediately. You may be the only person who can protect that boy.
To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.