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Men can confuse love for romance

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: Two years ago, a good friend died of a heart attack. His wife, “Sally,” asked me to help her get rid of his things, which I was happy to do, and I soon found myself mowing her lawn and doing chores around the house.

Here is the problem: I am a happily married man and father of four. I have been married for 25 years and love my wife dearly, but I have also come to the conclusion that I have fallen in love with Sally.

I have no desire to divorce my wife or start an affair, but I struggle very hard with the fact that I am in love with two women. How do I resolve this? – Heart Split in Two

Dear Split: Please understand that the love you feel for Sally is not the same as what you feel for your wife. Men often have too little experience acknowledging how much they can love a close friend, so when it happens with a woman, they conclude that it must be romantic in nature. But that’s not necessarily true.

It’s understandable to confuse this loving friendship with the loving intimacy you have shared with your wife for 25 years, and it’s OK to care deeply for Sally. But you should not do anything to encourage the friendship to be more than it is or to jeopardize your marriage. That means limiting your contact with Sally, inviting your wife to join you when you go to Sally’s house and perhaps even introducing Sally to available men so you don’t act as if you are filling that role. If you are unable to do that, it’s time to back off completely.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox @comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, in care of Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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