DEAR ABBY: I have been friends with “Caroline” for more than 20 years. Her husband is present when they visit us because they live out of state, and when I visit her, he is there. I have been married for 28 years, and my husband doesn’t join me when I visit Caroline.
Caroline travels worldwide for work. Her husband has family near me. One time, when he was in town and she was traveling, I invited him to meet me for dinner. He got the wrong idea and thought it was a date behind his wife’s back. She knew we were having dinner, but I never revealed to her that he made a pass at me that evening. I corrected him, explained I wasn’t trying to start a romance and emphasized I would never do that to my friend.
When I got home that night, my husband asked how dinner went, and I shared what happened. He took it personally. He felt disrespected and told me to tell Caroline. Others I have spoken to about this said don’t say anything. This happened a year or two ago.
My husband and I are now invited to the wedding of Caroline’s stepdaughter. My husband refuses to go because of what happened. He insists I should tell Caroline and explain why he isn’t coming.
I have no feelings whatsoever for her husband and would never engage in anything with him. Their marriage is already rocky. Both have had extramarital affairs, and he said he planned to divorce her last year but hasn’t. Should I tell Caroline what happened? — COVERING UP
DEAR COVERING: I see nothing positive to be gained by telling Caroline at this late date. It’s ancient history. Caroline already knows that her husband has cheated in the past. I do not think it would be helpful to rock the boat.
DEAR ABBY: This is a delicate subject for me, one I’ve never been faced with before. I have been speaking to a really nice guy I met online, and after many weeks of talking, we decided to meet up. It wasn’t anyplace special or expensive; it was a lunch spot. I wore jeans and new shoes, and did my hair to look nice for him. We had a pleasant lunch, which he insisted on paying for.
Abby, in his pictures, he is very handsome. In most of them he was well-dressed and -kept. He showed up in a knit ski hat that covered nearly his whole head, and the rest of his attire was wrinkled and sloppy. It was not what I expected for our first date that we had been talking about for a long time.
I’m thinking I may be disappointed because I may have built up expectations in my head. We are talking about a second date, and I’d like to give him another chance to crisp himself up, but I would like to handle it delicately so as not to hurt his feelings. I never thought of myself as judgmental. Am I being unreasonable for wishing my new boyfriend wants to look good for me as I do for him? How do I handle this? — SECOND THOUGHTS
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Here’s how. Recognize that he is not your “new boyfriend”; he is only a candidate for the “job.” Go out with him a few more times and get to know him well enough that you can have an honest conversation with him. If he doesn’t shape up, at that point, tell him what you told me. Leave out the part about blaming yourself for your feelings. They are honest, and you are entitled to them, and frankly, you might be doing him a favor to speak up.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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