DEAR AMY: My first marriage ended badly. We simply grew apart and infidelity entered the picture (on her part, not mine). The good things I got out of that marriage are two great daughters. Fast-forward to the present. I have been married to a like-minded woman for over seven years now. She is beautiful, smart, strong, independent and very sexy. We have a wonderful 4-year-old child. Unfortunately my wife has informed me that although she considers me a great father, a great husband and her best friend, she has lost her "spark" for me. She has admitted to a brief affair last year. She has also told me that she feels something is missing from our marriage, but cannot define what it is. I am heartbroken, but I still love her with all of my heart and want to make things right with her again. She has agreed to start couples counseling with me. We have already been to one session. I thought that she may be depressed, but my wife outright denies that she is. My question is, do you think I have any hope that my wife will love me again the way I love her?
Heartbroken Up North
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Your wife might not ever love you the way that you love her, and that is because two people rarely love in the same way at the same time and with equal intensity. Long relationships wax and wane, with one partner initiating the dance some times, and the other partner initiating at other times.
You and your wife can come back from the brink. Couples counseling will help, but it can only work if both parties are fully committed to the process.
One thing I notice is that your previous marriage ended badly because you and your former wife "grew apart." Your ex was unfaithful. And now this same dynamic seems to have happened again.
Infidelity impacting one relationship is a personal tragedy. When it happens twice, it's a pattern. In addition to couples counseling, I hope each of you see a counselor separately. You are not responsible for your wife's choices, but insight about your own life and behavior can lead to change, which can positively affect you -- and also your marriage.
DEAR AMY: A co-worker's daughter is getting married and I have been invited to the wedding. We have had our differences at work and I am surprised to have been invited. A few other co-workers (and myself) have never even met the bride or groom. I feel that it is hypocritical to attend this wedding simply because we work together. We are not friends, and I do not want to go. I come from a large family and have heard brides complain when people they do not know are invited and attend their weddings. Other co-workers who have been invited question the invitation too. What is your take on this? Should I feel obligated to go?
DEAR MIFFED: You seem to think that it is nervy (and rude, even) for your co-worker to invite you to her daughter's wedding.
The gall! Of course, no one is forcing you (or other co-workers) to attend an event that you don't want to attend. But you should know that this invitation is important to the person who issued it. It is a kind and generous gesture.
When you decline the invitation, I hope you will do so politely. You should RSVP and say, "Thank you so much for inviting me. Unfortunately I cannot make it. I hope your family has a wonderful celebration, and I hope you'll share some pictures afterward."
DEAR AMY: I have advice for "Always a Bridesmaid," the lady who's been with her boyfriend of seven years, still waiting to marry: Move on! I wasted eight years with a confirmed bachelor and passed up several options to date nice guys while I waited for him to become unconfirmed. Don't do that. I finally did marry, at 40 (better late than never), to a fine guy whom I wish I'd met years earlier.
DEAR LESSON: Many responses echo yours. Thank you.