DEAR ABBY: I met a man eight years ago who has become everything to me. We see each other weekly and discuss life, work, home and more. We are both married to other people.
Our relationship is not only emotional but also physical. We are secretive about our relationship only with our children -- we appear in public together, and my spouse knows about it. Many people at our regular venues comment on how much in love we seem to be. A few of my friends are privy to our relationship and wonder when we're leaving our spouses to be together.
My question is: Can't it just be OK to be happy with what we have? We enjoy the times we have traveled, talked and loved. I am virtually ignored by my spouse, as is he. The time he has been in my life is the happiest I have ever been. But I don't want more.
It's hard to explain. People think I'm in denial, but I'm not. He has issues I wouldn't want full time, as I suppose everyone does, and I wouldn't want to ruin what we have. Thoughts? -- PART-TIME LOVER
DEAR PART-TIME: You and your lover have "an arrangement" that seems to work not only for you, but also for your spouses. It's unconventional, to put it mildly. Because you are so open about it, I'm surprised your children haven't caught wind of it by now. My question to you would be what you and this man plan to do when they find out, because I don't think you can keep them in the dark forever.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are friends with a couple we have known for many years. When the four of us eat together, it's obvious to me that the husband directs the conversation toward my wife. Even when the topic is general in nature, his eye contact is with her to the point where it makes me uncomfortable. On a cruise last year, when we ate together regularly, I intentionally sat across from him and, sure enough, he talked diagonally across the table to my wife.
I have always made a conscious effort in mixed company to direct the majority of my conversation toward my male counterpart and not his wife. I feel that it's more appropriate. I really don't think there is any threat from him, maybe just bad manners on his part. How should I handle this? Should I ignore it, or make him aware of it? -- BOTHERED BY IT IN ALABAMA
DEAR BOTHERED: If there is a rule of etiquette covering this, I have never heard of it. You have two choices -- continue to ignore it and let it bother you, or ask him why he does it. He may be doing it unconsciously because he finds your wife to be an interesting conversationalist.
DEAR ABBY: My husband has been wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a tombstone and the caption "Married and Buried" on the front. I have asked him repeatedly not to wear it because it hurts my feelings, but he only laughs and says it's just a gag. What do I do? -- OFFENDED IN FLORIDA
DEAR OFFENDED: Because your husband persists in doing something he knows hurts your feelings, I can't blame you for feeling offended. While I'm tempted to advise you to have a T-shirt made that reads "Married to an Insensitive Clod" and wear it when he puts his on, I think you'd be better off simply ignoring him when he does it. Eventually he'll quit wearing it when the novelty wears off.
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