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As he’s been faithful, forgive and move on

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Joe” for 47 years, and we dated exclusively for two years before that. Thirty years ago, at the age of 43, Joe had a heart attack that left him with severe heart damage. Since then, he has had several heart surgeries.

I recently asked Joe why, in all our years of being together, he’d never taken me out for New Year’s Eve. He went bonkers and spilled the news that while we were dating, he not only had taken out an ex-girlfriend who was married, but they had an adulterous relationship for over nine months. Even though he was telling me he loved me, he spent New Year’s Eve with her 49 years ago, because he wanted sex and she was better looking than I was. He apparently still has fond memories of it.

Annie, had I learned about this when we were dating, I would have broken up with him. Certainly, I never would have married him. I’ve been lied to for 50 years and can’t help thinking my entire life might have been different. Since his first heart attack, we’ve had no social life. I feel stupid, used, hurt and angry for not being mature enough to see the signs of his cheating and getting out while I could.

I’ve lost all trust in my husband. Of course, Joe thinks I’m trying to hurt him and says if I insist on discussing it, he will leave. He has yet to tell me he’s sorry for betraying my trust. Neither one of us will go for counseling, so tell me, what should I do? – Deceived

Dear Deceived: Joe thinks his betrayal is 49 years old, get over it, but for you, it happened yesterday. You also are mourning the more active married life you might have had – the one with a husband who didn’t have a heart condition. You need a little time to work through your anger, and Joe should understand that.

Still, after all is said and done, you can’t go back and do it over, and your life isn’t going to be better if you hold a grudge. Joe apparently has been faithful since you married. Now you need to forgive, and he needs to let go of the old “fond memories.” Make plans for New Year’s Eve so you can create some new ones.

Dear Annie: I am a normal 15-year-old girl. I get good grades in school, have some good friends and a wonderful family, and am athletic. Everything in my life is great, except for one thing. Boys don’t take me seriously as a girlfriend.

The ones I think of as possible boyfriend material may flirt a bit, but it never goes anywhere. I don’t want to lose their attention, but how do I get some of these guys to see me as a potential love interest? – Probably Not the Only One

Dear Probably: Those boys may like you plenty, but they fear being rejected and losing the friendship. Girls don’t always appreciate how much courage it takes for boys to ask someone out.

You can make the first move and invite one of them to meet you at the mall or the movies with a bunch of friends. You also can ask your girlfriends for tips on attracting guys, but we wouldn’t push too hard. The best dating scenarios tend to happen naturally over time. Hang in there.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Had Enough Sadness,” about widows who obsess about their grief. She hasn’t a clue what it is like to lose a spouse. I am a widow of 14 months. You will not know what the grief is like until you are there, and then you will be so sorry for the way you have judged others. One of the partners in every marriage will experience grief, and it will bring you to your knees. You will be humbled. – Been There, Done That, Know Better Now

Dear Know Better: No one is judging the depth of your grief, but those who repeatedly reach out want to see that you are making an effort to move forward. You cannot expect them to remain an unending well of comfort. Those who can speak of nothing but their misery truly may benefit from some professional guidance.

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