DEAR HARRIETTE: I was clearing out a room in my house to try to get rid of clutter when I came across a stack of letters addressed to my husband. I was curious, so I opened them; I was horrified to discover that they came from another woman. We have been married for many years, so this bothers me. Has he had an affair that I don’t know about? Are they from an old flame that he never got over? What do I do with this discovery? I’m not trying to upset our life together. We are good -- or so I thought. But I can’t act like I didn’t find them. What should I do? -- Love Notes
DEAR LOVE NOTES: I can imagine that finding these letters has disturbed you. Given that they were tucked away, it seems they represent a moment from the past. If you feel you cannot let them go as relics, frame the conversation with your husband in a way that he will be inclined to answer. In other words, do not indict him. Just tell him what you found, and ask him who wrote the letters. Explain that you found them when you were cleaning up and opened them to discover that they represent what reads like a relationship between him and another woman. Tell him you are curious to know who she is and if she means anything to him today.
Listen to see what he tells you. If she truly is from the past, don’t feel you have to dredge up all the details. You can agree to stay in the present if you and your husband both agree that you are happy in the life you have now.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a question about bedtimes. My husband and I do not agree on when children should go to bed. We have two kids, ages 6 and 10. I believe they should both go to bed by 8 p.m. My husband says we should let them go to sleep whenever their bodies tell them to sleep. In theory, his idea sounds nice, but with kids today there are too many distractions. With video games and TV, they are wired if I let them stay up too late. The little one doesn’t have much homework, but the big one does. And school requires their full attention. How can I get my husband to see that a disciplined bedtime is good for them? -- Bedtime
DEAR BEDTIME: When children are young, I believe it is helpful to establish discipline in their routines, especially regarding bedtime. Some child psychologists believe children should go to sleep at the same time every day, including weekends. I am a bit more lenient.
What if you offered a compromise to your husband? Suggest that you be strict on weeknights but more flexible on Friday and Saturday nights. As long as all homework is completed, chores are done and they are able to get up on Monday morning on time, this plan that incorporates both of your philosophies may work.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)