DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband for 41 years, married for 30, but we lived together for five years before we tied the knot. I have just learned he has a son who is two months younger than our son. The mother is a woman he slept with while I was pregnant with our first child. She put the baby up for adoption, and the young man has just reached out to my daughter. My husband claims he didn’t find out about the child until after he was relinquished, and he didn’t believe the woman ever really gave birth.
I am devastated. I feel like my entire marriage to him has been a lie. He says after we were married 31 years ago, he never cheated on me, and I should move past it. What do you think I should do? — UNABLE TO LET IT GO
DEAR UNABLE: You have my sympathy. I agree with your husband that you need to move past this, but that doesn’t mean you should forget it. Solid marriages are based on trust, and yours has understandably been shattered.
If his behavior since your wedding has been as exemplary as he claims, you should be able to review his financial records and see where the marital assets have been going. He should also be willing to discuss this in the office of a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he is unwilling to do this, it is another red flag, and you should consider consulting a lawyer.
DEAR ABBY: I’ve been Christian all my life. When I married my husband 22 years ago, he was too. We raised our kids in the same faith. Well, he has recently decided he will no longer practice Christianity. I never would have married someone outside my faith. How do I continue in this marriage? — FAITHFUL IN OREGON
DEAR FAITHFUL: I am sure this has been upsetting for you, and you have my sympathy. I would hope that your husband’s recent change of mind is something you have discussed with him, because he may have his reasons for it. Because of your own deep religious beliefs, this may be something to discuss with your religious adviser. Some couples in these circumstances adopt a “live and let live” attitude, which means you follow your Christian path and allow your husband to follow his.
DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law emailed me Christmas lists for my niece and nephew. Abby, I didn’t ask for them, nor did I request gift ideas for her children. In fact, I haven’t seen my sister-in-law in more than six months. Of course I will be giving gifts to both my nephew and niece, but I think it was awfully presumptuous of her to just send a link via email. How can I respond to this in the future? Should I just let it go? Am I wrong in thinking that it was poor etiquette on her part? — DUMBFOUNDED IN FLORIDA
DEAR DUMBFOUNDED: Your sister-in-law may have been trying to be helpful, but I agree that what she did was presumptuous. Handle it by sending gifts of your own choosing to your niece and nephew. If you receive any more links of that nature in the future, do the same thing.
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.
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