DEAR AMY: I am a 50-year-old married woman with two boys (one still a minor). I have been married to “Randall” for 27 years. Randall is a doctor, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. He is a good provider. We have a good life, but it is deficient in passion. Six years ago, I fell in love with “Sam,” a married man (who also has two boys with his long-in-the-tooth wife). Our long-distance affair lasted five glorious years until his wife found pictures of us. At her insistence, Sam reluctantly ended the affair and is remaining with her because it would “destroy her” if he left. But he confessed to me that his passion for me endures and admitted that sex with me was the best he’s ever had. In the year since breaking up, I cannot stop thinking of Sam. I am sure he is dreaming of me. How can I convince Sam that life is too short to stay with a woman he doesn’t really love, and that he and I are meant to be together?
DEAR INCONSOLABLE: I find it hard to focus on your actual question, because a white-hot ball of rage seems to have lodged behind my eyes.
Your selfishness is astounding. Your husband deserves to know that during the last several years he has spent being “a great provider” for his family, you have chosen to honor his efforts by lying and cheating. Granted you no doubt would like for him to continue to provide, but I hope he wakes up and smells the deceit. Does he want to stay married to you?
You are living a lie with one man, and pining for another. I hope you will find other, more worthwhile ways to define yourself. Life is too short!
Sex and passion are on one side of the relationship coin, and “love” is on the other. Sex and passion can be fickle and fade, but real love endures. Sam might actually love his wife. Leave him alone.
DEAR AMY: I am in a powerless situation. My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 months. We met at college, and are very happy. We are pursuing different majors. He’s in a particularly difficult major, taking very difficult classes, and his grades haven’t been the best. He’s been passing, but not with great grades. His mother recently became aware of this and gave him an ultimatum: He can either break up with me, or leave the college and move back home. We love each other and don’t want to end our relationship, but I also don’t want him to have to leave school. His mother believes that our relationship is too distracting for him and that he needs to focus only on school. He tried to argue that I’ve helped him by studying with him, and also quizzing him. Nothing seems to convince her that our relationship is beneficial to him. I have never met her or spoken to her and feel completely powerless in this situation.
Powerless in Florida
DEAR POWERLESS: Your boyfriend’s mother has given him a strange ultimatum. A more appropriate one would have been for him to simply pull his grades up, or leave college. Parents who interfere to this extent in their kids’ relationships don’t win. She is inviting him to either lie about the relationship, or to come home because she doesn’t like his academic performance — and then she will have a resentful college dropout on her hands. And by the way, if he leaves school, does he get to stay in the relationship with you?
Your guy should negotiate by asking his mother to give him a semester to show improvement. He may need to consider a different major.
He should decline to discuss your relationship with his mother. Part of emerging adulthood is learning to self-regulate (perhaps limiting your time together so he can get his work done). This is his responsibility, not yours, but if you can help him to budget his time without pressure from you, then you should.
DEAR AMY: “Frustrated” was facing the heartbreak of a daughter with addiction. My wife and I dealt with the exact same thing, and we were extremely angry, sad and frustrated. After years in and out of recovery, our daughter overdosed and could not be revived. I wish we had been more understanding.
DEAR GRIEVING: Your reactions were human. So is your loss and grief. Many families are experiencing this right now, and it is heartbreaking. My sincere condolences.