DEAR ABBY: After 40 years of marriage I just found out my husband is having an emotional affair in addition to a real life girlfriend he had 15 years ago. I forgave him last time. This time he just said he was wrong, but he didn’t apologize nor is he remorseful.
How can this be resolved? I’ve taken off my wedding rings and refuse to go to his family gatherings. I’ve read that if he doesn’t have remorse and asks for forgiveness, it just won’t work. He also blames me for his bad, impulsive decisions. He then downplays what he did and tells me that I’m “overreacting”.
How do I get his respect? How do you convince someone how much they hurt you and get them to make better decisions?
— WRONG IN DELAWARE
DEAR WRONGED: It may be time for an introspection. Ask yourself what your husband is looking for in these purely emotional matters. (I assume they are not physical, or you would have written differently.)
If you want to stay married to him, put those wedding rings back on and tell him it’s obvious that the two of you aren’t communicating effectively. Tell him you want to work on improving your marriage with the help of a licensed marriage and family counselor and make an appointment. During these sessions he realizes that you have been deeply hurt. However, be prepared to hear some critical comments about you from him. For many couples, this has healed an unhealthy relationship.
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DEAR ABBY: It’s been more than three years since I spoke to my former best friend. We were best friends for almost 15 years. The friendship ended when we were in our early 20s because she didn’t like the men I dated. I also disagreed with some of the decisions she made, leading to some nasty arguments.
I communicate with her on social media as “small talk” but it feels like I’m talking to a colleague. i miss my best friend I saw her in a mall recently and she didn’t look like herself. I was worried about her.
My life has evolved and I feel like I grew up for the better. I want to share these experiences with someone I have considered my best friend for so long. Would it be wrong to bring up the past? How do I let her know that “the past was the past” and that I want to go back to where we used to be?
— LOST FRIEND IN MISSOURI
DEAR LOST FRIEND: Call the woman, tell her you saw her at the mall and ask how she is. Suggest that you both have lunch sometime to meet up. If she agrees, tell her over lunch that you miss the close relationship you used to have. DO NOT mention what caused the coldness in your relationship or the fact that she doesn’t look like herself.
If she brings it up, listen and tell her that you think you’ve both grown since then. I hope it works and you can fix things, but don’t count on it because a lot has happened in your life since the old days.
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TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE ROSH HASHANA: The Jewish New Year begins as the sun sets tonight. During this time of earnest introspection, I wish my Jewish readers “L’shana tova tikatevu”—may you be inscribed in the Book of Life and have a good year.
– LOVE, ABBY