DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Connie," and I have been together for 30 years and have a wonderful marriage. She's a schoolteacher, and I travel on business often. I think the time away from each other is good; it gives us a chance to enjoy some "me" time.
Connie is a genuinely nice person and makes friends easily, which I admire. However, over the last five years she has become very close with a divorced woman who teaches at her school. They text each other seemingly nonstop, and when I travel, they always get together for a movie or dinner.
I like Connie's friend, and I used to be included -- or at least invited -- to anything they did. Now, if I suggest we all go out, Connie says her friend has other plans or she's sick.
I'm not really concerned that there's any kind of physical relationship between them, but I feel their friendship has become like an "emotional affair." When I brought this up with my wife, she said, "You don't want me to have any friends?"
What bothers me is that I used to be Connie's best friend, but I feel I have been replaced. She tries to reassure me I'm still No. 1, then goes off into her bathroom to text with her friend. I think it's obvious she gets something from this relationship that she doesn't get from me. Do you think friendships between women can evolve into emotional affairs? -- SHUT OUT IN TEXAS
DEAR SHUT OUT: Women communicate with other women on a different level than they do with men. You and your wife and her woman friend may have felt like the Three Musketeers years ago when the three of you would all get together -- but it's possible that after a while her friend began to feel like a third wheel.
Who can say why she doesn't want to socialize with you. Perhaps you don't have enough in common, or perhaps she has sensed that you are jealous of her friendship with your wife. But I wouldn't call close friendships among women "emotional affairs" because I don't think it's true.
Since this bothers you enough to write to me, and Connie seems to be communicating in secret, please discuss this in depth with her.Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Friends & Neighbors
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Luke," and I go to the gym together four to five times a week. Yesterday, there was a man on a treadmill who was sweating profusely. I kid you not, it was coating the treadmill. Luke tends to speak loudly, and he occasionally forgets to turn on his filter. When he saw what was happening, he exclaimed loudly, "That's disgusting." I nudged him and told him he was being rude, but unfortunately, we think the man heard him.
Luke is actually a kind and sensitive person, so he instantly felt awful. This man is a frequent gym-goer and is often there when we are. Luke wants to apologize, but he's worried that if the man didn't hear him, he will have to explain what he said. What are your thoughts? -- FILTERLESS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR FILTERLESS: Luke was out of line, but at this point, he should let it go or he may further embarrass the man. Sweating during aerobic exercise is normal and healthy, and not something that a person can control. If, when the man was finished with the machine, he wiped it down, he was acting appropriately. (Unfortunately, not all gym members do.)Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics