DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 52-year-old woman who has been married to my husband for over 25 years. Together, we have three beautiful and healthy children. While my husband worked, I stayed home and raised our kids. Many nights throughout the week, my husband would come home later than I anticipated. However, I did not put too much thought into it because he is in the medical profession, and I know the hours vary.
Four months ago, while my husband was in the shower, I decided to look through his phone. To this day, I am uncertain as to why I looked, and I’m not sure whether I am happy or sad that I did. While scrolling through his camera roll, I found several provocative images of women he works with. I have not confronted my husband about the photos yet. I don’t want to complicate things for our family, but I can’t keep it bottled up inside any longer. Do you think I should confront him about the photos? -- Desperate Housewife, Towson, Maryland
DEAR DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE: In a word -- yes. You cannot unsee the photos. You must have looked because you were suspicious of your husband’s behavior. Pick a time when you and he are awake, sober and alone. Tell him you need to talk to him. Start by asking him if he is happy in your marriage. If he asks you why, explain that you saw provocative photos in his phone several months ago, and you have been stewing over it ever since. You can apologize for looking at his phone, but tell him that something made you wonder if you should be concerned, so you looked. Ask him if he is having an affair. Ask him if he wants to stay married. If he does, encourage him to tell you what’s going on and what he is willing to do to make things right.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle was diagnosed with liver cancer two months ago. I am very close with him, and I see him every holiday -- even though he lives in the United Kingdom. From what my mother has been telling me, it is not looking good. He has undergone multiple surgeries and is on his second round of chemo. I want to be there for him and spend time with my uncle before I don’t get the chance to. The problem is, I don’t have enough money to fly to the U.K. anytime soon. I’m sure if I asked my aunt (my uncle’s wife), they would be more than happy to fly me over. Do you think it’s inappropriate to propose this idea to my family members? -- Struggling Niece, Miami
DEAR STRUGGLING NIECE: Given the circumstances, you should call your aunt right away. Tell her how sorry you are about your uncle’s health. Tell her you want to see him as soon as possible, but you cannot afford to come. Ask her if she would be willing to buy you a ticket. She will understand your financial situation as well as the time sensitivity of your visit. I’m sure if she has the means, she will buy you that ticket.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)