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Annie’s Mailbox: Hard to hear of 30-year-old affair

Dear Annie: I’m a 61-year-old man, married for 42 years, with a great family. I thought I had it all.

Recently, my wife told me about an affair she had 30 years ago with one of our close friends. I remember being suspicious at the time and asking her about it. Of course, she lied then.

I don’t think I can forgive her or forget. The man has passed away, but I feel as if I lost the last 30 years of my life. Please help me. – Deceived

Dear Deceived: It sounds as if your wife has been feeling guilty for 30 years and thought it was safe to unburden herself. Unfortunately, what was old news to her is brand new to you. Not only are you feeling an acute sense of betrayal, but it alters your perception of the past 30 years. Please give your wife the opportunity to earn your forgiveness. Get into counseling together and see if you can salvage a 42-year marriage.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Louisville,” who was offended by her child-free married friend who states that she feels lucky not to have kids whenever she hears about problems others are having with their children.

I am a child-free person who understands where the friend is coming from, although I also remember my mother saying how lucky she felt to have my sister and me when she heard about someone else’s children getting into trouble.

Louisville’s friend may not be trying to reassure herself that she made the right decision not to have children (an idea I find somewhat offensive because it implies that anyone who chooses not to have children regrets it or must justify it). She may simply be grateful not to have those complications in her life. – Hobart, Ind.

Dear Hobart: You seem to be reading a great deal into this. We don’t believe “Louisville” is oversensitive. Any comment repeated ad nauseam is irritating. Any comment that implicitly criticizes you can be offensive. If someone does this repeatedly, we have to wonder why.

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