Annie’s Mailbox for March 28, 2011: Trying to rebuild trust after emotional affair
Dear Annie: I am a 65-year-old male who has been involved in an exclusive relationship for the past four years. “Betty” is 56, and we get along great, travel frequently and have an active sex life.
Several months ago, I began to notice that Betty was becoming quite distant, emotionally and physically. I was frustrated, but didn’t make a big deal out of it. However, quite by accident, I discovered that she was active on a dating website. Upon further snooping, I discovered four months of e-mail exchanges with another man. Some of the e-mails were quite intimate, and a few had sexual references. I was devastated, to say the least.
I confronted Betty, and she initially denied it. But when presented with the evidence, she confessed. She said she met the guy twice but nothing sexual happened. I believe her. She said the relationship died out on its own, and the e-mails seem to confirm this. She says she loves me and wants to work it out.
I will forgive her, but I’m having a hard time with it. I simply can’t get her betrayal off my mind and worry that I will never be able to trust her. How does one forget? How does one repair what has been lost?
— Lost that Trusting Feeling
Dear Lost: It takes time, but it can be done. You must make a conscious effort to push this betrayal out of your mind, and Betty needs to be completely transparent and honest in all her dealings. Her behavior must be beyond reproach since she has to earn your trust again. If you cannot get there on your own, please talk to a counselor, preferably with Betty, and work on this together.
Dear Annie: I am a high school senior and am really quiet and shy. I want to be more outgoing, but the problem is public speaking.
I freak out when I have to speak in front of people. We have a project coming up that requires talking in front of the class. I want to be more confident, but I get scared and whisper. Since I’m going away to college soon, I thought I should try to overcome this. Can you help?
— Quiet and Scared
Dear Quiet: First of all, you are not alone. Thousands of people suffer from some form of speech anxiety. A lot of this is from the mistaken notion that the speech must be perfect, and a great deal of anxiety can be overcome with relaxation techniques. You can find some good suggestions and tips through Toastmasters International (toastmasters.org).
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not in the Cards,” whose husband was seriously ill. She wanted his family to be updated about his medical condition, but they gave her a hard time about it.
I want to let your readers know about Caring Bridge (caringbridge.org). It is a free website, supported solely by donations, that allows caregivers or family members to keep friends and family updated on the medical progress of someone with a critical health issue.
My daughter has been using the Caring Bridge website to keep us updated on the progress of our “tiny angel” (our granddaughter), who was born after 24 weeks gestation, weighing only one pound. Our granddaughter is doing amazingly well, and we are all thankful that Caring Bridge has allowed family and friends all over the country to see pictures and read the journal of her progress. There were days when our granddaughter’s progress was hard to talk about. The website has been a godsend and has saved my daughter from the stress of many phone calls and e-mails during this difficult time.
— Grateful Nana
Dear Nana: Thank you so much for letting our readers know about this useful and compassionate website. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.
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