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Annie: Hard-working woman feuds with office flirt

DEAR ANNIE: About four years ago, after 17 years of marriage (no children), working full time, having a part-time cleaning job, doing 90 percent of the housework and doing 80 percent of the yardwork, I asked my husband whether I could quit my full-time job.

I was 42 and in good shape but was having painful back problems from the type of work I did. My husband had a good job, and with a little bit of corner cutting, we didn't need the money from my job. He agreed, but after a while, he began to seem distant and started talking constantly about a girl at work -- how amazing she was because she worked full time and went to school while caring for her two children.

After months of this, I thought a second part-time job might make him treat me with more respect.

After a horrible vacation where he bought earrings for Ms. Amazing and presents for her sons, I found emails between them. He admitted he was in love with her but said nothing had happened. He eventually moved out and filed for divorce, but when he heard that I had moved to Hawaii, he tried to woo me back. After six months of promises that he had changed, I returned home.

I recently found a text from this same girl, asking when he'll be working with her again. I left the house. He says the girl has a boyfriend and I'm overreacting. Am I? -- Hawaii-Bound

DEAR HAWAII: You never actually resolved the issue with Ms. Amazing, so any contact your husband has with her is going to set off all of your alarms. The fact that he wooed you back doesn't mean he is no longer vulnerable to her charms. In order for your marriage to survive, he needs to stop all contact with this woman, not only for your sake but for his. Get counseling, with or without him, so you can move forward one way or the other.

DEAR ANNIE: This is about the letter from "Miffed," whose 10-year-old grandson doesn't like to be touched.

I was the same. From age 9 through my teenage years, I hated it when people touched me, even my parents. Hugs and kisses were hard to tolerate. I think some of it was from being bullied so much at school, but mostly, it was just the way I was.

Touching is extremely personal, and I show my affection in other ways. In my family, we compromised by my greeting close relatives with a short hug and a peck on the cheek, and then they would leave me alone for the rest of the day. -- Didn't Like It, Either

DEAR DIDN'T: We're glad that you and your mother reached a compromise that was OK with you. But no parent should insist that a child hug or kiss anyone.

To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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