DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for 20 years and have two teenage children. While we are not blissfully happy, I thought we were finally comfortable with our relationship.
I found out this morning that my husband created a new and secret e-mail account this weekend. He created it while he was at his office "catching up on some work."
Unfortunately, I found out about the secret account by snooping and checking his work e-mail without his knowledge.
I know I should not be doing this, but he cheated on me several years ago, and I can't seem to get past my suspicions.
— Snoopy Gal, Sneaky Guy
DEAR SNOOPY: It's time for you two to stop your parallel sneaking and snooping and do something together — may I suggest therapy?
Cheating has long-term ramifications for couples, well after the physical cheating may have stopped. Unless partners successfully open their relationship to self-scrutiny while embracing the possibility of doing things very differently, the cheating and suspicion will continue to affect the relationship.
I hope you can look upon this as an opportunity to enter into a new phase of your relationship — one in which you each admit your vulnerabilities, tell one another the unvarnished truth, and make a mutual commitment to be 100 percent in your marriage.
This is very painful, but I'm sure you'll agree you two are at the point where clarity should prevail. Even if you feel you were driven to snooping, you'll need to apologize and ask your husband to help the two of you get a fresh start. This is a conversation best had with the help of a marriage counselor.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I are planning the trip of a lifetime to Germany.
We invited our daughter and teenage granddaughter to go with us; they eagerly agreed.
Now, after spending almost $3,000 in airfare and other nonrefundable costs on her, our granddaughter decided she does not want to go because the trip takes place at the same time as a summer camp with friends.
We hate to lose $3,000 but also don't want to drag a sullen, angry teenager around Europe with us. What can we do?
— Miffed at the Princess
DEAR MIFFED: I have an idea. It involves you dragging a teenager around Europe.
You, along with the girl's mother, have several months to tell the princess that this summer she will be taking the trip of a lifetime to Germany — instead of being at camp with her friends.
Furthermore, you should all convey that you expect her to do her best not to be cranky during the trip, because young ladies summering in Europe simply don't have the right to be sullen in Stuttgart.
Deliver this news along with a DVD of the wonderful movie A Room with a View, which takes place in Italy, but your granddaughter will get the idea.
She has plenty of time to adjust, sob on her friends' shoulders, and get over it.
Your daughter offers the key to this trip going well. She will convey exactly what she is prepared to tolerate and offer possible solutions to her daughter's summer scheduling issues. I bet they can work it out.
DEAR AMY: Sometime ago I read a "pet peeve" in your column about "older people who are inconsiderate of others by not wearing their hearing aids and asking people to repeat themselves."
I am an older person with a hearing deficit. I wear the highest priced hearing aids I can afford.
Unfortunately hearing aids do not completely correct a hearing deficit. Some people's voices do not project very well, and I do have to ask them to repeat what they said. Sometimes the tone of their voice indicates their irritation at having to repeat what they said.
A hearing deficit is an isolating condition that makes you want to avoid interaction with others.
DEAR HENRIETTA: Thank you for giving us the perspective of someone coping with hearing loss. I agree that this was not a legitimate "pet peeve."
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