Dear Annie: Several years ago, I received a job promotion that was publicized in the local newspaper. Soon after, a woman who dumped me 30 years ago called to congratulate me. “Linda” also expressed misgivings about choosing her now-divorced mate. She continued to e-mail and send me notes at work, and eventually took a job next door to my office. I was amused and flattered. She kept inviting me over to her apartment, and I finally went “just to have a few beers,” and, well, you know the rest.
I have been married to my wife for more than 20 years, and I love her deeply. I have never told anyone about the affair. I tried to end it several times without success. Linda considers me her “life’s love.” We are both in our late 50s and too old for this sort of thing. I do not have feelings for Linda. I’ve seen her maybe six times, and we ended up in the sack twice. She wants to stay friends and continue e-mailing.
I do not want to tell my wife. She doesn’t need the hurt, and I don’t want to risk our marriage. My plan is to stop seeing Linda and slowly limit her e-mails and hope this ends on its own. Linda tells me another man is interested in her, and I am encouraging her to latch on to him, but she says she prefers me. Any suggestions? – Dazed in Michigan
Dear Dazed: Linda gave you the full-court press, with a little stalking added in, and you found it flattering. We find it disturbing. If you love your wife, you will tell Linda it’s over. Block her e-mails entirely. Do not contact her for any reason.
If you allow yourself to get sucked back into this affair, you have a screw loose and ought to see a therapist. Get out while you still can.
Dear Annie: I’m responding to the letter from “Lynetta Rainbow Couchpotato.” I was disappointed that you did not address her comment that she “isn’t a perfect size 3.” Our society tends to set unfair standards for young girls. She should not even try to be a size 3. Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14 and was beautiful. For one reason, she accepted her body and felt beautiful in it.
I agree Lynetta should eat healthy and set goals for herself; however, neither she nor anyone else should try to live up to somebody else’s unfair standard of beauty. – Louisville, Ky.
Dear Louisville: Lynetta said she ate a lot of junk food and didn’t exercise, so that is what we addressed, but of course, you are right that there is an unrealistic expectation of what girls (and women) should look like. Here’s more:
From Washington: I’m 14 years old, and I always read your column. “Lynetta Rainbow Couchpotato” is currently in the same situation I was in. I was extremely overweight in elementary school. At age 10, I weighed 120 pounds. I felt the pressure and the pain, so I created an exercise routine for myself that I still follow to this day. I’m proud to say it has worked. I’m still 120, but taller and older, and I look great. My advice for Lynetta is: Work at it. If you set your mind to it, you can do it. I wish you the best. I’ve been in your shoes.
Midwest: Here’s another suggestion for Lynetta Rainbow Couchpotato. Is there a bowling alley in her town? She can join a youth league. Bowling burns roughly 240 calories an hour, strengthens and conditions your arms, shoulders, chest and leg muscles, improves heart and respiratory fitness and increases endurance while maintaining bone density. The social aspect helps improve your mental outlook. It also is one of the few sports that allows you to compete at a high level at an older age and provides an exercise option for those with physical limitations.
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