Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I have a serious problem with my future wife. She has not been faithful to me. I recently overheard her talking to her friend about how she was unfaithful to me. When I confronted her, all that she said was that she couldn't talk right now. I feel like I have to record everything in my own house just to learn the truth. To make things even more stressful is the fact that she recently told a couple of people that I hit her, but it's not true. I did not hit her. I'm not sure why she has been acting like this lately. She did just find out that her mother has breast cancer, and that might be playing a role in her behavior. We still always find time to make love, so I don't know why she would go out seeking it from someone else. I just can't believe she would do this to me. I love her so much, she is my everything, and I don't know that I could go on without her. She is tearing me apart. What should I do?
DEAR DEVASTATED: The first thing you should do is to NOT get married. Your fiancee's behavior and your response are the very essence of dysfunction. If you are correct and she is stepping out on you, this is a huge problem. Your declaration that you feel like you "have to record everything ... just to learn the truth" is chilling. Her counter-accusation that you hit her is potentially very dangerous for you.
Because of an escalation in behavior I sense in both of you -- and the seemingly toxic connection between you two -- it would be wisest for you to separate. Seek the support of close friends, family, and a professional counselor to help you deal with this loss and change.
DEAR AMY: My spouse has a former co-worker whom he shared many long morning conversations with before work. As far as I know, that's all there was to it. They became "friends" by getting to know each other through these conversations. She's now at another company, but sends him emails (jokes, stories) and once in a while personal notes to ask how things are going. I've had a problem with all of this, mostly because years ago he was unfaithful to me with a co-worker. Is it paranoia, insecurity, jealousy that is driving me crazy? Also, I feel that he has directed his notes from/to her to his work ID so that I won't be aware -- so if it's innocent why do this much to avoid me knowing about this contact? I think he may say it's to protect me so that I don't have the agony of him sharing notes with her and it is only innocent friendship. But if that's the case why not just state it that way to me?
DEAR BITTEN: Exactly. Another way for your husband to behave would be for him to respect your understandable sensitivity to his choice to maintain a fairly "secret" relationship with another woman.
Any of us can have friendships with people other than our spouses. But when a partner has been unfaithful, he or she has to work extra hard to win back and then keep the trust. Transparency is necessary. Counseling would also help.
DEAR AMY: The letter from "Help?" made me cringe. Your response made me laugh. Help? was the 21-year-old student who had just started working in a new office and had developed a huge crush on a 51-year-old man who worked there. Yikes. I remember a similar situation from my own distant past. That's where I cringed. Then I got to your answer: "Strange as it might seem, 21-year-olds are not universally compelling and attractive to middle-aged people." That's when I laughed. Thank you for pointing out the obvious ... with wit.
DEAR FAN: Thank you very much. I grab my opportunities where I can. As I tell myself every Monday: "Thank you, thank you, ladies and gentlemen; I'll be here all week!"