Dear Annie: I recently lost my husband. We married quite young, and after 20 years, he had an affair and we divorced. Three years later, we remarried and stayed together for another 20 years. He was a wonderful husband and an attentive grandfather. We went to church, and he even taught a Sunday school class.
Guess what? It seems that while we were divorced, he married The Other Woman in another country and forgot to tell me. I finally got things resolved so that our second marriage was recognized legally and I am entitled to the insurance money, which is enough to pay off the house and a bit more. But now the other woman is going to court to fight for their 22-year-old child’s rights — a daughter I didn’t know about.
Annie, I feel so betrayed. Our grown children now know their father lied to all of us. I am in counseling, but am so mentally and physically exhausted, I had to take a leave of absence from my job. What do I do? How can I warn others?
Dear Alone: Your letter will serve as the warning. If it’s any consolation, your husband probably was in denial about his situation. When he came back, he undoubtedly convinced himself the remarriage to you was legal and the other, foreign marriage simply would go away. The daughter, however, is another story. Regardless of the circumstances, if your husband fathered a child, he had a responsibility to support her, and the child is entitled to some of Daddy’s estate. Please don’t be so angry and resentful that you punish the wrong person. You were smart to get counseling. It will help you through this.
Dear Annie: We are part of a group of friends that often gets together for dinner. One couple pride themselves on good manners and always are correcting others on the proper utensil to use, the right pronunciation of words, and on and on.
Do we tell them how annoying they have become or simply stop inviting them to our gatherings?
— Properly Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: If you are ready to stop inviting them, you may as well see whether an honest conversation will help. The next time they correct one of you, simply say, “We’re sure you don’t mean to be rude by correcting someone in public. Please stop.” If they invade your kitchen, shoo them out.