DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have placed myself in a very bad situation. I have been in love with a friend for the past four years, a 30-year-old Frenchman who is now residing in Paris. I am living in Canada, on my way to move back home to live in the States.
I miss him deeply and I'm also deeply in love with him, but he does not know this. Besides the pure agony that I have placed myself in, I have had opportunities in the past to share my sentiments for him, but I didn't have the courage.
I married another man who was friends with the man that I love. However, they do not keep in touch. When I was on the altar at the church preparing to say my vows, thoughts of him flashed through my mind and heart.
I felt as if it were God telling me that my conscience was not clear and so I shouldn't proceed, but I was in denial. I did not want to be in love with another while I was already preparing to marry another man, but even though I had fought against my better judgment, I couldn't rid my heart of what it knew and where it was guiding me. I know that I may sound ridiculous, but I'm clearly and truly in love with this other man.
I would like to know if you have any advice for me regarding a love letter that I have already begun to write to him. I want to win his interest and love and I don't know how. I don't mean any disrespect or pain to him or to anyone regarding my problem, but I feel that whether or not he returns my sentiments, I must tell him, at least to clear my heart. I would like to share my life with him, and if I can't do this, it is important to me that I'm close to him. How can I win his affections and how can I persuade him to understand in my letter?
GENTLE READER: Why does Miss Manners have the creepy feeling that you already have a letter that is overdue? That is the one in which you tell your husband that through no fault of his, you find you cannot go on with the marriage.
If that is done, you merely have to tell the other gentleman in question that you are divorcing and would like to renew your acquaintance with him. Trust Miss Manners, he will not have a difficult time figuring out why.
As to how he will react, you will have to take your chances. Miss Manners does not dispense love potions. But she does advise you to refrain from telling him about your thoughts at the altar, as she dearly hopes you have refrained from telling your husband. It is not so much flattering to the object of your fantasies as it is scary.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it appropriate to send an anniversary card to a fairly recent widow? I would like to honor her by remembering their wonderful love, but he passed late last year and I'm not sure of the proper etiquette.
GENTLE READER: "Happy anniversary" is not exactly the message to send. No doubt the greeting card industry has come up with something like "Sorry your husband isn't there to celebrate," but Miss Manners warns you that canned sentiments won't do. It would be kind of you to write the lady a letter saying that you are thinking of her on this day and feel enriched by the example of her marriage.