Hiding in Plain Sight, but Not so Hidden
Dear Margo: My wife of 18 years recently reconnected with a man from her past. She denies any previous romantic or physical involvement with him, saying they were only good friends. However, this man told me the reconnection was emotionally draining and acted as though I already knew the reasons why it would be so.
Others have hinted that they were an “item.” They engage in overly long and close embraces and kisses on the lips at parties when they think no one is looking. He calls her pet names, tells her how much he misses her and holds her hand when saying goodbye at the end of a social gathering. If the subject of their mutual past comes up, it’s like a bomb went off and you can cut the awkward silence with a knife. Others in a group will look at me to gauge my reaction.
I believe they were intimate in the past, but my wife will not admit to it. I’ve been told there is “significant flirting” going on between them. I don’t really have any reason to mistrust my wife, but I don’t understand why she won’t fess up and tell me the whole story so I can stop letting my imagination run wild. If they have a past together, I can deal with that. (We all have a past to some degree.) On the other hand, I am growing ever more uncomfortable with the way these two act when together, and I am becoming a bit suspicious.
Otherwise, I believe we have a great, mutually rewarding marriage where we share 99 percent of the responsibilities. The kicker is that I like these people and would like to be friends with them. I do not want to sound accusatory, but I will not be made a patsy, either. How do you think I should handle this situation? –Chicago Conundrum
Dear Chi: Do you need a building to fall on your head? Reread your letter, and you will see, by my count, 10 things suggesting there has been a complete and total reconnection. For whatever reason, you seem to be pussyfooting around your wife. I say have it out and do it with a couples counselor. (Bring this letter.) –Margo, contradictorily
There Is an Answer
Dear Margo: I’ve been with Jacob for going on four years. We’re engaged, and I love him dearly. Lately things have been a bit tense, however. He lost his job a couple of years ago and decided to go back to school full time (he never got his bachelor’s degree). While I think this is the best thing for him, it’s making a pre-existing condition worse. He’s struggled his whole life with depression, and adding money and school stress has made him more sullen than ever. For now, we’re OK, but I foresee the potential for serious problems.
He’s visited mental health professionals in the past and has been on medication. But now, without a full-time job (and part-time employment is all he’ll be able to maintain while he’s in school), those things are out of reach. So my question to you is: What resources are there for someone in his situation? I can only listen and empathize so much. He needs professional help to work through this. –Tiffany
Dear Tiff: There are free or low-cost mental health services for both the uninsured and the unemployed. Two good resources are www.healthcaresurvivalguide.com and www.nami.org. He might also inquire at your local city hall, his school and local hospitals. Your fiance might even ask his former doc for suggestions. I wish you both well. –Margo, hopefully
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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