Annie’s Mailbox: Wife suspicious of ‘emotional affair’
November 16, 2010
Dear Annie: "Roy" and I have been married for 43 years. We have two married children and several grandchildren.
We've had our share of problems, but I have always trusted him — until now.
Roy retired three years ago. Recently, close friends of ours informed me that they saw him at a diner on the outskirts of town, having lunch with a female in a "cozy" booth.
Roy didn't see my friends because he was apparently engrossed in conversation, laughing and smiling.
My friends said at one point their hands touched across the table, and the husband said he saw them hug and briefly kiss at the woman's car.
I checked my husband's calendar for that day, and it said he'd had a dentist's appointment. I remember Roy telling me it took a long time because there was a wait and then he went to the hardware store, where he "browsed."
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I called our dentist and discovered he had no appointment that day. Annie, he lied to me about that entire day. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.
When Roy was still working, I heard rumors that he flirted with a woman in the office who had a thing for him, but I'm the type who disregards gossip. I had no reason to think Roy was being unfaithful, but now I have doubts.
I've been told perhaps it's an emotional affair, not sexual, but I don't even know what that means.
My question is, do I tell Roy what I know? My friend's husband believes it is an innocent flirtation and thinks I should leave it alone. What do I do?
— Very Unsure
Dear Unsure: It could very well be an innocent flirtation, but the premeditated lying is disturbing.
Without naming your friends, tell Roy that he was spotted having a chummy lunch with some woman on the day he supposedly had a dentist's appointment, and ask him what's up.
He needs to know that his tryst hurt you deeply.
Dear Annie: Last night, I went out to dinner with my fiance, "Randy," my father and my future mother-in-law.
We were in the middle of making last-minute plans for the wedding when my father dropped the bombshell that he and Randy's mother have been secretly seeing each other and are now engaged.
Annie, what do I do? Is it OK for me to marry Randy if my father is married to his mother?
I love Randy and cannot stand the thought of breaking off my engagement. I need help.
— Freaking Out in Florida
Dear Florida: Calm down.
If your father marries Randy's mother, it does not make Randy your brother. He becomes your stepbrother, which is not a blood relation. You can still marry him.
Your father's timing is rather questionable, so ask him to wait until you and Randy are wed before he makes any sudden moves.
But, everything else is OK.
Dear Annie: "Mourning in Massachusetts" mentioned that she had "followed Al-Anon's advice" in suspending a relationship with her sister.
It is not the practice of Al-Anon to give anyone advice on the choices they are faced with.
Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help the families of alcoholics. The literature says we do this by "practicing The Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic."
It is not my goal to bring those who struggle with alcoholism to their recovery, but to work on returning my life to a useful and meaningful one, relieved of the frustration and pain of loving someone who struggles with addiction.
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this point.
— Anonymous Member of the Al-Anon Family Groups
Dear Anonymous: Several readers pointed out that Al-Anon does not advise cutting off contact with alcoholics.
Thanks for clearing that up.