DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 21 (mostly) happy years. However, last year I had an affair that lasted for several months. I confessed to my wife, and we separated for about a month while I tried to evaluate what I should do. In the end, I returned home and asked for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Obviously, my wife has struggled with my infidelity, but, to her credit, she’s trying hard to make things work. During our separation, we had little contact, and she told me that for revenge she had slept with someone else. I know that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but the guy is less than half our age, and I’m struggling with the mental image and thoughts of trying to match his level of stamina and energy (if you know what I mean).
I know I messed up, but I love my wife with my whole heart and I’m working hard to demonstrate it. How do I purge my thoughts of the image of my wife with another man? — REMORSEFUL IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR REMORSEFUL: It may not be easy. (Don’t you think your wife has had similar mental images of you and the woman you cheated with?) Infidelity hurts everyone involved. You and your wife are working to remain reunited. Concentrate on that rather than preoccupying yourself with your insecurities, and you’ll both be better off.
DEAR ABBY: I am medically healthy and in my mid-60s. I have two adult children, and my grandchildren range in age from 14 to 20. I have a loving relationship with everyone. However, my family members are self-involved and have indirectly expressed that they do not want me to live with them when I am no longer able to live by myself.
I have raised the subject and seen eyerolls and facial gestures between them. My daughter lives several states away and has said I’m welcome in her home — but as a “snowbird” only. Abby, I don’t want to be placed in a nursing home, only to be abandoned and alone. What do you advise? — UNWANTED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR UNWANTED: Because your children are averse to you eventually living permanently with them, start now to prepare for the time when you may no longer be able to live by yourself. Begin by talking to friends — of both genders — and find out if they may have a similar problem. If they do, consider banding together and buying a house or a condo together so you can help each other. This has worked for other seniors and it may be the solution to your problem.
DEAR ABBY: My teenage grandson plays on his middle school’s football team. He is a great player, but the team never wins. It’s hard to watch him play his heart out when the team loses in the 38-0 range. I’m proud of his efforts, and I want to encourage him to continue to do his best no matter what the final score is. Do you have any suggestions on the healthiest way to sympathize with him about the loss without discouraging him? — PROUD OF HIM IN THE WEST
DEAR PROUD OF HIM: I think what you are already doing is the right approach. By attending these events, you are telling your grandson how proud you are of the fact that he gives his all when he competes and that you respect him for it. Then take him out for a postgame dinner and a treat.
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.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)