DEAR AMY: I am a 53-year-old single man. I just had a four-month affair with a married lady. We connected at our high school reunion. She has been married to the same man for 35 years and says I am the only man she ever had an affair with and I believe her. She told me that she and her husband had not been sexually intimate for three years. As time went on, I started disliking her criticism and insensitivity toward me, and she has since ended our affair. She and her husband are leaving the country in a few months for good. I am tempted to tell her husband (I have pictures, if he doesn’t believe me). I want to do this, partly because she hurt me and was very arrogant and insensitive, and partly because I would want to know if I was in his shoes. Your thoughts?
High School Crushed
DEAR HIGH SCHOOL: First this: You can’t know what this husband would want, because unless you, too, have been married for 35 years, you cannot put yourself in his shoes.
Anger at your affair partner is the worst and most punitive reason to disclose your affair to her husband, because then you would only be transferring your own responsibility, guilt, confusion and anger onto him — the innocent party. I assure you, he would suffer more than the woman with whom you committed adultery.
Now is the perfect time for you to reflect on your own actions. You willingly and knowingly took up with someone who was married. You can’t change her choices. You also shouldn’t continue to interfere with her marriage by making this disclosure to her husband.
DEAR AMY: I am in my late 20s with parents in their late 60s. I have a young daughter. We are all very close and spend a lot of time together, however, I am starting to dread eating out in restaurants with them. They are quick to complain, and often berate the wait staff over issues out of their control (i.e. the food being delayed). Many times they will repeat the same issue over and over again to our server, even after they have (unnecessarily) apologized. This makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I am not sure how to raise the issue without offending them and seeming disrespectful. I also don’t want my daughter to view this as an acceptable way to treat people. Any advice?
DEAR DAUGHTER: I’m going to assume that your parents aren’t suffering from health problems that might affect their behavior, although if their behavior has changed radically recently, this may be a possibility.
Your parents might act offended or disrespected by any suggestion from you that their behavior is unkind — but that doesn’t mean that you are actually being offensive or disrespectful.
Soon after one of these episodes (not at the table), you should say to both of them, “I am very uncomfortable with the way you treated our waiter during our meal. You raised me to be courteous and respectful, and yet you didn’t behave that way today. I’m trying to set a good example for my daughter, and you can help by being more patient and polite to the wait staff. Will you try?”
If you clearly convey how you feel and this happens again, you should tell them that you would like to see them, but not at a restaurant.
DEAR AMY: Regarding various ideas of how to incentivize college students to do well, my husband and I raised three sons going to in-state colleges that we saved for/paid for without loans. If our sons wanted to go out of state, they would pay for all student loans. We had a college agreement for each, (covering GPA, conduct — with bonus gift money from us at graduation for a high GPA.) One flunked out his first year, but still wanted to go to school. So he went to community college, lived at home and paid for it himself (working as a restaurant waiter). We reimbursed him for classes with a final grade of C or higher. When he spent his hard-earned money, he put more value on it! At 26 he graduated from an in-state college, then got his CPA. At age 30 he is with a major accounting firm and recently bought a home. We and our sons have no college debt. We recommend this approach.
Karla, in Vienna VA
DEAR KARLA: I like the idea of students financing their own education, with parents reimbursing the cost for semesters when they do well.