Ask Amy

Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 10:05pm

DEAR AMY: I was in an unhappy marriage for many years. Despite living a life of high morality, I stumbled and succumbed to another woman. All of this was my fault; there is no one else to blame.

My marriage dissolved, my son no longer spoke to me, but at least I had my new love. But "the other woman" turned out to be a mirage. What I believed was true love (for me) was merely another episode with another man for her. (My advice to everyone is to work it out and stay in your marriage, or be braver still and leave. Cheating and lying only leads to much more pain.)

Here's my problem: I have now become socially acquainted with this "other woman's" husband. He knows nothing of what I did.

He is a nice guy but is sad because his wife is not interested in him. He seems to soldier on in the marriage. I wish he could have a better life. He has been out of town on several occasions, and during this time I have seen his wife on the arm of a new guy.

Should I tell her husband she is seeing someone? I will not tell him about me; that is too messed up. But she is "playing" him now, just like she played me a few years ago. What should I do?

— The Other Man

DEAR OTHER: Your intentions seem to be good, but your letter reveals a disconnect: You want to tell your friend the truth about his cheating wife as long as the truth doesn't involve you. Does this choice reflect the "high morality" you claim is part of your character?

Think it through: You reveal the wife's infidelity to the husband. He confronts his wife. She quickly outs you.

I point this out because if you want to tell the truth, then tell the whole truth. Ask your friend to forgive you and take responsibility for being a party to his wife's ongoing deceit.

DEAR AMY: I'm in a long-distance relationship with a really special guy. It's been almost four years. He's my best friend. We're very attracted to each other, but he just doesn't know how to be romantic.

I tell him how much I love him, I do what I can to stay romantic from far away, but he just does not reciprocate.

He has expressed that he knows he has this problem and he wishes he could show me how he feels, but he says he just doesn't know how.

Any tips for a long-distance couple? I love him to death, but he just isn't giving me what I need. He doesn't mean it to, but it hurts.

— Trying My Best

DEAR TRYING: You feel your boyfriend has a problem, and now you've convinced him of it.

Of course, you could be right. But imagine the pressure you place on him by throwing down the romance challenge, especially at a distance.

He could watch for clues by paying attention to your romantic gestures. He could simply mirror them, and perhaps that would make you happy.

Does he like a particular kind of music? He could easily share this with you from a distance. He can share photos, thoughts or links to YouTube videos online. He can shoot off a "good morning" text at the beginning of each day.

Romantic gestures are really a statement: You are worth the effort.

Most important, you should recognize that you and he have different temperaments and strengths. If you receive satisfaction from making romantic gestures (I assume you do), then keep doing what you're doing. But if you do a little less, he might do a little more.

DEAR AMY: I'm responding to the letter from "Doormat," who was eager to get her young adult brother-in-law off her couch. A universal draft of 18-year-olds into two years of public service would be great for the country and would give young people time to grow up before going to college or into the trades.

I'm a veteran and can personally attest to the value of boot camp.

— Leo

DEAR LEO: I can well imagine. Thank you.


Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

Filed under: Lifestyles
Tagged: ask amy