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Separate life can erode marriage

Kathy Mitchell And Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My husband, “Rex,” and I have been married for two years. Three months ago, his job required him to work in a town several hours away, and he decided to get an apartment there. I had a feeling something was going on between him and a married co-worker. He calls her all the time, even when he’s with me. For her birthday, he took the day off, and they went to a casino. For my 50th birthday, I didn’t even get a card.

Last week, Rex told me the battery on his cell phone died, and that’s why he didn’t call for two days. I decided to surprise him and drive out to spend his day off with him. When I arrived, he was angry that I had shown up unannounced. Then the co-worker walked into the room. Rex told me she had been at a party the night before and crashed at his place because it’s closer to work. How stupid do I look?

I went ballistic and said some horrible things to her. Rex told me this is his place, and he won’t answer questions about what goes on. He insists they are just friends and I need to trust him. He then said I owe her an apology. He was more worried about her feelings than mine. I want to trust him, but everything points to my being a fool if I do. – Betrayed in Boise

Dear Betrayed: This doesn’t look good. Even if Rex isn’t cheating on you (which seems unlikely), he is living a separate life and considers you an intruder. This is not a marriage. It might help if you could relocate to his current city or at least stay with him more often. But we suspect he won’t be happy about it. Please get counseling, with or without him, so you can work through this and make whatever decisions are necessary.

Dear Annie: Nine years ago, I graduated from high school along with “Liz.” We weren’t particularly close, but we were in the same circle of friends. We attended the same college and became closer, but she proved to be a poor friend and eventually betrayed my trust.

I have not seen or spoken to Liz in over four years and am not interested in renewing our friendship. The problem is that my high-school reunion is coming up. If Liz shows up, I don’t want to pretend to be friendly, but I also don’t want to be so chilly to her that others ask what the problem is. How should I behave around Liz? How should I handle awkward questions from my old friends? – Forgave But Did Not Forget

Dear Forgave: Etiquette actually covers situations like this. Be polite. Treat Liz as you would any acquaintance. You aren’t rude or dismissive, but you aren’t overly friendly. Your goal is for no one to notice, but if friends ask if something is wrong, simply say, “Not at all.”

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar write for Creators Syndicate,
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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