DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were married 30 years when we ran into an old girlfriend (and ex-fiancee) of mine at a function. I spent a good part of the evening dancing with her and ignoring my wife. My wife says I was "indecent" with the girlfriend, and it hurt her badly.
It was 20 years ago, but my wife lets me hear about it every day. I can't take it any longer. She refuses to get help or forgive me. Our marriage has gone downhill ever since. What do you recommend I do to make it up to her? I've tried a few things, to no avail. -- PAST ISN'T IN THE PAST
DEAR PAST: Your performance at that function must have been deeply humiliating to your wife. Was your regrettable behavior with your ex-fiancee a one-time thing or has it happened since?
You stated this happened 20 years ago and you have attempted to make amends to no avail. Unless there's more to this story than you have written, it appears your wife enjoys carrying a grudge and punishing you -- which is, in my opinion, worse than what you did.
Please quit allowing her to continue to punish you. Get counseling if you need to, and offer her the option of counseling again. Understand that if she refuses, you have important decisions to make about your future. Discuss with your therapist what emotionally healthy options there may be for you, but don't continue to settle for the status quo.