DEAR AMY: A few months ago, my husband of 30 years told me he was in love with a friend of ours and that he planned to spend the rest of his life with her. He moved in with her shortly after he shared this news and we have begun moving toward divorce. My husband somehow thought that we’d all remain friends . . . and was surprised that I was not happy about his newfound love. I’m wondering how he could be so delusional (because I know if the circumstances were reversed, he’d be crazy-jealous). What I would like help with from you — and your readers — is to share the best things that helped them through the insanity of a situation such as this. I’m getting exercise, have reached out to friends, am on an antidepressant, am seeing a counselor and have begun journaling. What else can I do to take care of myself and move on?
DEAR K: When I went through something similar in my own life, I self-medicated with cigarettes and wine coolers, developed chronic insomnia, went on a dating and eating binge and developed a furious lump of coal heart-hate toward my ex, while still being more or less in love with him.
So — journaling? Friends? Exercise? Counseling? You’re good.
The one thing you might rethink is the antidepressants. Are you depressed? If so, definitely take medication. If you’re sad and angry, take a chance and feel your feelings, full-on.
Your feelings belong to you. You won’t recover until you own and befriend them. Add some sloppy listening sessions of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” Consider toilet papering your ex’s love nest (I said consider it, don’t actually do it). Fall into your friendships. Spend time in nature. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Watch “Singin’ in the Rain.” Rinse. Repeat.
The news is all-good for your recovery, and your future. No matter what else happens, you get to be with you for the rest of your life. Nurture the beautiful relationship you have with yourself, and you’ll never feel alone.
Over time, you may feel compassion for your poor, deluded and possibly “menopausal” ex. And you will forgive him. And eventually, you won’t really care one way or the other.
I’m sure readers will be happy to help. I’ll run responses in future columns.
DEAR AMY: My brother-in-law is a commercial pilot who gets a number of free passes each year. He and my sister find it too hard to fly as a family on standby, so the passes go unused. I like to travel solo, and I have two direct-flight trips I would like to take. My sister, however, has told the family not to ask for a pass because it’s stressful for her husband to monitor the flight loads, etc. He does tend to “over involve” himself in anything that’s going on, but he has never told me himself that I can’t ask for a pass. It seems a waste to let these free flights go unused when I would like to fly to research a project I’m working on. Do you see a way I could approach this with him directly (and risk annoying my sister), or should I leave it alone?
DEAR FREE BIRD: If you decide to willfully ignore your sister’s reasonable and understandable boundary, then you should contact your brother-in-law on your own behalf, making a simple and respectful “ask,” and understanding that when you do so you run the risk of seeming like an entitled family fence jumper.
Your brother-in-law might be happy to help you, or reluctantly willing to help you, or he may tell you he donates his passes to a charity that makes it possible for family members to visit wounded servicemen and women in military hospitals. He may ignore you, or simply ask you to go away and then complain to your sister. No matter what, you should graciously thank him for considering your request and express gratitude for his involvement in your family’s life.
DEAR AMY: Your answer to “Recovered,” the lady who didn’t want to go to her friend’s filthy house, wasn’t sufficient. This friend kept birds, and the birds are suffering in the filth too. Recovered should say, “I love seeing you, but I got horribly sick from a bacterial infection at your house. It’s filthy. For the sake of you and your birds, I’ll visit again when it’s all cleaned up. Until then, let’s meet elsewhere.”
DEAR BIRD LOVER: Thank you for your no-nonsense response.