DEAR ABBY: I always thought that "Lana," my wife of 14 years, and I had the perfect marriage. When I discovered she was having an affair, it hit me like a train wreck. After many weeks of trying to discover who she really is, I found out she has had several affairs throughout our marriage.
I still love my wife and feel I could forgive her and regain my trust in her. The problem is, she says she is trying to recover from her actions, so she can no longer hear about my problems or respond to any of my questions.
Lana is now saying I need to see someone to discuss our issues with. We are already seeing a marriage counselor, but I suspect he is too connected to us as a couple. What do you think? -- LOST IN LIMBO
DEAR IN LIMBO: I think the marriage counselor should have made clear to you and your wife that in order for trust to be rebuilt it takes lots of dialogue and listening on the part of both spouses. And painful as it may be for Lana, she owes you the answers to your questions.
That said, I think she is correct in suggesting you talk to someone individually. With the help of a licensed psychotherapist -- someone who is there just for you -- you may be able to rationally decide whether your wife is capable of being the person you assumed she was, and if staying married to her is the best thing for you.
DEAR ABBY: My mother died a few years ago after a prolonged illness. My father has found a new lady ("Colette") to share his life, and they are now engaged.
My problem is my sisters. We are all adults with families of our own. They don't like Colette at all. They are rude to her and behave like spoiled children. Colette is very different from Mom, but our family has always been open-minded and taken pride in our conviction that "normal" is just a setting on the dryer.
Colette isn't after Dad's money, nor is she forcing her way into our lives. She's also not trying to replace Mom. It appears she genuinely cares for our dad, which I can understand. He's a good man, smart, attractive and fun to be with.
Dad is happy as a clam. He's enjoying life and has lots more life to live. The only thing that mars his happiness is my sisters' attitudes. What can I do to help them? I don't want to be too harsh because I know they are still grieving, but I hate to see them drive a wedge into what remains of our family. -- JOY IN TEXAS
DEAR JOY: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother. Perhaps you should remind your sisters how grateful they should be that your father has been able to find happiness after losing your mother. Not all widowers are able to do that. Stress that his desire to remarry is a tribute to the relationship he had with your mother, because men who had unfulfilling marriages usually don't want to commit again.
Point out that they have nothing to gain by alienating Colette and a lot to lose, because the more they treat her with disrespect, the farther away they will drive her -- and your dad. Then suggest that if they can't resolve their grief, they join a support group or consult a therapist for help.
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