ABBA’S WAY: After 40 years of marriage, I just found out that my husband was having an affair, in addition to the real girlfriend he was 15 years ago.
I forgave him one last time. This time, he only said that he was wrong, but he did not apologize or feel guilty.
How can this be solved? I took off my wedding rings and I refuse to go to his family gatherings.
I read that if he doesn’t have any remorse and ask for forgiveness, it just won’t work. Moreover, he blames me for his poor, impulsive choices. Then he minimizes what he has done and says I’m “exaggerating.”
How to get his respect? How do you convince someone of how much they hurt you and get them to make better choices?
WRONG IN DELAWARE
DEAR THOUGHTS: Maybe it’s time for self-esteem. Ask yourself what your husband may be looking for in these highly emotional matters. (I assume they are not physical, otherwise you would have written otherwise.)
If you want to stay married to him, put those wedding rings back on and tell him it’s obvious that you are not communicating effectively with each other. 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 it will become clear to him 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.
ABBA’S WAY: It’s been over three years since I spoke to my former best friend. We’ve been best friends for almost 15 years.
The friendship ended when we were in our early twenties because she didn’t like the men I was dating. I also disagreed with some of the choices she made, which led to unpleasant arguments.
I communicate with her on social media as a “little conversation”, but I think I’m talking to a colleague.
I miss my best friend. I saw her at a mall recently and she doesn’t look like her. I was worried about her.
My life has evolved and I feel like I’m growing up for the better. I’d like to share this experience with someone I have considered to be my best friend for so long.
Would it be wrong to recall the past? How am I going to share with her that “the past was the past” and I want to go back to where we were?
LOST FRIEND IN MISSOURI
DEAR LOST FRIEND: Call the woman, tell her you saw her at the mall, and ask her how she’s doing. Suggest that you both have lunch sometime to catch up.
If she agrees, tell her over lunch that you miss a close relationship you used to have. Don’t mention what made your relationship feel cold or the fact that she “doesn’t look like her.”
If he causes her to split, listen and tell her that you think you’ve both grown since then.
I hope it works and you can patch everything up, but don’t count on it, because many things have happened in your lives for a long time.
TO THOSE WHO CERTAIN ROSH HASHANA: The Jewish New Year begins this evening at sunset. During this time of solemn introspection, I wish my Jewish readers of L’shana tova tikatevu – may you be entered in the Book of Life and have a good year.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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