Annie's Mailbox: Perfect marriage is wrecked

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Dear Annie: I have been married to the perfect woman for 13 years. If I had to order a wife, it would be her. We have wonderful, healthy kids, and I thought I had a great marriage.

Last year, we became friends with "Stan and Betty" through our kids' activities. The four of us hit it off as if we'd known each other forever. We went out to dinner together, had them to our home, spent time with each other's families.

About two months ago, I started having a funny feeling about my wife and Stan. I made a few mental notes about my wife being secretive on the phone, and when I received our cell phone bill, I discovered she and Stan were calling each other at all hours of the day and night. She got out of bed to call him. She called during family vacations. And then she'd erase the number so I wouldn't see it.

When I confronted her, she claimed they were not having an affair. I called Betty and let her in on it. My wife promised she would have no more phone contact with Stan, but the very next day, she called him from her office landline. I found out because the call registered on Stan's cell phone and Betty told me.

Needless to say, my perfect marriage is wrecked. I no longer believe my wife when she says they aren't having sex. We are in counseling, trying to work through this nightmare, but I can't eat or sleep. In addition, we still have to see Stan and Betty at our children's events. The sight of him makes my blood boil. Any suggestions?

- Bad Judge of Friends

Dear Judge: Please continue with your counseling to find out if you can forgive your wife for this betrayal - which it was, whether it involved sex or not. Etiquette advises snubbing a person who has behaved despicably toward you. When you see Stan in public, ignore him as if he were completely invisible. We hope your anger will diminish in time.

Dear Annie: Our son was recently married, and some of my siblings opted to golf in a local tournament instead of coming to the ceremony. They showed up at the reception in their golf clothes, three hours after it started.

Most of our other guests were shocked by this. These relatives knew the date of the wedding months ago. The local golf tournament was trivial, and they participate in similar ones regularly. There was nothing special about this one.

We were hurt, angry, disappointed and also embarrassed, although our friends say the golfers are the ones who should be embarrassed. Do you think what they did was OK, or are their priorities out of order?

- Confused Parents

Dear Confused: These relatives were incredibly rude. It's bad enough to skip out on an important once-in-a-lifetime event in order to play golf in a minor tournament, but to show up at the reception in golf clothes was a blatant display of disrespect. They owe you an apology, although we doubt they have the sense to realize it.

Dear Annie: This is for "Sad Mom," whose daughter has herpes. I have had herpes for 15 years and have had three long-term relationships during that time. Not one of the men cared about the herpes because they loved me. Herpes is not a death sentence. You can minimize the chances of transmitting it.

Yes, it was excruciatingly hard to tell someone before having sex, but that helped me avoid becoming intimate too quickly. I haven't had a breakout in more than two years. Because stress can precipitate breakouts, I have become a stress-free person. Herpes is not the worst thing she can have. This is not the end of her social life. It's simply a different path.

- Minnesota

Dear Minnesota: Thank you for your words of encouragement. We hope they help.

Dear Annie: "Restless and Waiting" said her amazing boyfriend has started and stopped numerous careers.

She probably is right that he has ADD.

My daughter was a very brilliant student in high school and went to a prestigious college.

Within a year, she began to get average and then poor grades.

After a 7-year college "career" that included academic suspensions, changes in majors and interests, and turmoil in her family and social lives, she finally was diagnosed with ADD.

After some trial and error, she was put on the proper medication, and miraculous results ensued. She was able to stay focused enough to return to college, where she finished with excellent grades and immediately got a great job. I hope this helps.

- B.T.

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