Ask Amy

Monday, July 27, 2009 at 9:00pm

DEAR AMY: Some years ago I caught my wife having an affair that had been going on for more than a year.

Desperate to save our marriage, she agreed to answer my questions and give me all the details I asked about.

We've gotten past all that now, and in fact our marriage is probably stronger than it was. But one thing still bothers me.

During her confessions, she admitted to performing certain intimate acts with him that she had previously refused to even talk about doing with me.

She has never been able to explain why.

She says, "Well I know I shouldn't have done it, but I guess I got caught up in the moment." And, "I wish I hadn't! I shouldn't have! I didn't particularly enjoy it! I just acted without thinking!"

I understand from talking to others that this as a fairly common phenomenon in affairs. Can you enlighten me as to why?

Why would a woman do intimate things for a lover that she has refused to do with her husband?

— Curious Husband

DEAR HUSBAND: When two people are having an affair, they're never sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of bills, trying to figure out how to make the payment on their minivan. They don't have to take the dog to the vet for his shots.

This freedom leads people to do all sorts of things they wouldn't normally do.

Let's stipulate that affairs are tempting and fascinating, at least in part, because people engaged in them move outside the confines of what they see as the norm of their daily lives.

Your wife did these things for the same reason that men having affairs send flowers and steamy notes and fly off to Buenos Aires to meet their lovers — but don't do these things for their wives.

You've talked about this, which is good. You may influence your wife by moving out of your own comfort zone and romancing her the way a lover would — and with no stated "quid pro quo," but just because you want to treat her differently.

This could prompt both of you to begin a welcome new phase of your marriage.


DEAR AMY: A friend I had known for a year asked me to be her maid of honor last summer. I accepted and went with her to many bridal shops and wedding expos.

Last winter she informed me that they were moving the wedding from our home state to Hawaii. This upped the price tag of the wedding for me significantly, from about $400 to about $1,500.

As a single girl supporting myself, I just couldn't do it. I told her that I couldn't go but was happy to help her with her planning. After I told her I wasn't attending, we've hardly seen each other or spoken on the phone. I don't think there is bad blood, but I think she's a little miffed.

This summer I'm attending her bachelorette party and her bridal shower, both of which come with a hefty price tag and gifts. I'm declining the wedding invitation.

Do I need to send a wedding gift, too — because of the history here?

— Dishonored Maid

DEAR MAID: The best gift you've given your friend was to tell her promptly that you wouldn't be able to attend her destination wedding.

You haven't known this person for very long. She may have seen your inability to pony up for her wedding as a character flaw, and so she has moved on to securing another maid of honor with deeper pockets. You are not obligated to give her a wedding gift, but if this is a relationship you value and want to keep, bear in mind that she will probably expect and appreciate another gift from you. Unfortunately.


DEAR AMY: "Bothered Bride" was worried about her young flower girl not walking down the aisle.

Ten years ago, our 3-year-old flower girl (my niece) froze when the music started for me to walk down the aisle.

She wasn't going!

It took just a few seconds before my dad came to the rescue and walked her down the aisle. What a special memory!

This is a good lesson: You can't control every detail of life's events, and sometimes the outcome is better than what you could have planned.

— Kim in Bristow, Va.

DEAR KIM: Exactly!

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

1 Comment on this post:

By: courier37027 on 7/28/09 at 8:50

Dear Curious Husband, what did wife do for her lover she would not do for you: cook and clean, not nag, not complain?