DEAR AMY: I am a 41-year-old woman who has been married to my high school sweetheart for 20 years. We have three beautiful children, ages 18, 16 and 12. I love my family, but tend to get bored with my husband. As far as I know, he has been faithful to our marriage, but I, on the other hand, have not been faithful. I don’t know whether to stay in the marriage or get a divorce, so that I may find a real soulmate. I love him as a friend, but at the same time I would like to get away from him. Should I sacrifice my marriage for a chance to be truly happy with someone else? Although, I do know there is no such thing as a “happily-ever-after” relationship, I wonder if I should try to find it.
DEAR UNWILLINGLY HAPPY: What a strange way to sign your question! This signals that you either aren’t willing to be happy or your subconscious signed your letter and that you are happy against your will.
Let us please dispense with the notion of a “soulmate.” This is an invention designed to sell books that dangle the promise of a sort of relationship perfection that simply doesn’t exist for most (if not all) people. For many, being peacefully married to your high school sweetheart and friend, as well as having three beautiful children, is the very definition of “happily ever after.”
But happily ever after starts with you. You married young, and you are now headed into the great gaping maw of midlife. You have not stayed faithful to your husband (and your children). Cheating means that you are engaged in secret-keeping, and this further distances you from your family, interfering with intimacy.
One route to true happiness is to experience the joy and challenge of living an authentic life. In your case, it means getting to the bottom of what’s eating you — and not blaming your boredom with your husband solely on him.
Marriage or divorce is a binary choice, but life doesn’t really work that way. You leaving the marriage would have ripples of consequences across many lives, not just your own. There are many ways to try to salvage and reinvigorate a static marriage, and boost and stimulate a static life. Cheating is not a healthy choice.
Therapy could help you to explore your own motivations and choices, including your baseline selfishness.
DEAR AMY: A few days ago, I made a joke Tinder account with friends, with a fake age, job, etc., but all the pictures were my own. Turns out, I really hit it off with a guy, and he was still interested after I told him my real information. The thing is, he’s 23 and I’m 17. Is there any hope for a relationship?
DEAR CONFLICTED: You should not be hooking up with strangers. Just as you lied about details in your profile, this guy could also be lying. Just because you eventually told the truth, doesn’t mean that he is telling the truth now.
It is simply not safe for you to engage in Tinder matching. It is risky enough among older people, but especially so when an adult expresses an interest in hooking up with a teenager.
So no — there is no hope for a relationship. Tinder in this context is not about relationship building. Furthermore, I doubt that he is looking to have the type of relationship you might be hoping for.
If you are determined to experience this algorithmic phenomenon, there are matching apps specifically for teenagers.
You should not be on Tinder’s over-18 site, and once he learned your real age, he should have “swiped left.”
DEAR AMY: I totally agree with you in your response to “Grounded Dad,” whose dilemma was about visiting grandparents who found the kids’ pot stash and called them out over it. The grandparents were totally overstepping their bounds. They violated the family’s privacy by snooping, and violated the parents’ rights by insisting that the kids should be punished in a specific way. If I were in their shoes, I would make sure these grandparents understood that they were no longer welcome for extended stays in the household. Additionally, it is hard to believe that pot is still exciting people into such hardcore responses.
DEAR DISGUSTED: I can understand why parents become upset when they learn their children are smoking pot, but it is the parents’ role — and right — to handle this without outside interference.