DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been together for more than 25 years. Two years ago my husband got a message on his phone while he was driving. He asked me to look at it. I got on his phone and it was a Facebook message from our son. But I also saw another message exchange between my husband and an ex-girlfriend of his from college. When I read it (with him sitting right next to me), I was shocked and angry. I read the message out loud at his request. He denied that it was him, and of course, was agitated that I had found it. The woman asks what he was up to, and states she is divorced. Then she suggested they meet up and go to a football game soon to catch up. She referred to his previous divorce. But my husband made no mention of me or our kids, and replied that he had a business trip coming up in the area she lived in. Now, he had promised to take me on that trip with him, he ended up making some excuse about why I couldn’t go this time. (I found this Facebook entry after that trip.) I asked him to tell the truth, and also to unfriend this woman on FB. He continues to deny that he ever wrote that message and that he ever met up with her. Since the incident two years ago, I can’t even face sleeping with him without thinking about this. I have just found yet another old girlfriend he has been saying sweet things to, and I am heartbroken and furious. He doesn’t know I have found the latest messages yet. I’m not sure if he is just FB flirting or if he is seriously looking for someone else. I have been putting money away to be prepared for anything that comes next, but I love him. I am also realistic, and understand that he may not love me or care about “us” anymore. Any advice?
DEAR FURIOUS: Your narrative outlines a marital standoff in your home. You’ve accused your husband of contact with an old girlfriend, and he denies it. (Let’s stipulate that his denial is not credible.)
I’m wondering what could be worse for your relationship than the way you two are currently conducting it. I’m not blaming you for quietly seething while you squirrel away divorce money. But I am wondering what you’re waiting for.
Confrontation can seem frightening, especially if you’re afraid of facing the truth — that your marriage might have gone stale, that you don’t trust your husband, and can’t stand to sleep with him. But confrontation and its consequences must be better than this.
You should be completely transparent about your fears, and invite your husband into counseling with you.
DEAR AMY: We visited relatives out of the country three years ago and ran short of local currency. Many places did not take our credit card. The relative covered many costs that we should have shared. When they visited us in the United States, we took them to dinner. At dinner I wanted to offer apologizes and reimburse them, but my husband was adamantly against it. Now, three years later there is much animosity toward us, which is understandable. Is it too late to issue my apology and try to reimburse the relative? How should I proceed?
DEAR EMBARRASSED: It is not too late to apologize and make this right. You should contact your relatives, apologize for the delay, tell them you are embarrassed by this, and repay what you owe them.
DEAR AMY: I was very upset by the letter from “Sick of This,” who reported that she was extremely burdened by clearing out the “clutter” from elderly or deceased family members. I am old; my place, by Sick’s standards, may be a mess, but it’s my mess and I like it because it took 65 years for my husband and me to create — and it’s what I need. I need this mess because when I see my late-husband’s pliers on the garage floor, I remember that he left them there when he told me he loved my shirt because it was the same color of lipstick that I wore on our wedding day. They still lay on the garage floor because he was too close to death to remember to put them away.
DEAR MISSING HIM: I totally understand. And thank you for sharing this touching tribute to a beautiful union.