Should a wife take her cheating husband back? Should a woman confront her friends about her stolen diamond ring? Advice on this and more from Dear John.
I would like you to weigh in on my situation. My husband of five years and I separated a couple of months ago
when I found out he was having an affair with a woman he works with. We had been having problems and this was kind of the last straw and I asked him to leave and he did.
He recently got in touch with me and expressed his sincere desire to reconcile. His relationship with the woman is over and he wants to get back together with me. I didn’t press him on it, and I don’t know for sure why his affair ended. All I know is he wants to get back together.
I want us to be together, too. The time since he has been gone has been the unhappiest of my life and I want to put this behind us and move on. The problem is, I am surrounded by people who are trying to talk me out of it. My friends, relatives, everyone. They never liked my husband much and now all the venom is coming out. I could just ignore them all and do what my heart says to do, but it’s not that easy. Don’t you think if this is something I think is right for ME, everyone else should stay out of it and wish me well? Even if his girlfriend dumped him, that doesn’’t change the fact that he wants to be with me, so what business of it is anyone else’s? I don’t like the fact that he had an affair either–if I can get over it, why can’t they??
So do I follow my heart, do what I think is right, and take him back? Not doing that feels like letting everyone else run my life, so I am looking for an opinion from someone who is objective.
Dear Lonely Gal,
Sometimes, when we see a friend doing something we think they will deeply regret, we can’t just keep it to ourselves and wish her well. (See the last letter for an example in which only money is at stake.) I’m not saying your friends are right, but I can tell you they are making their opinions known because they care about you.
I’m sure you realize that there’s not nearly enough information in your letter for me to tell you whether you should take your husband back or not. It creates a strong impression, though, that you feel like almost anything is preferable to being “alone”, which is almost a guarantee for more heartbreak down the road regardless of how this particular chapter ends.
You separated because he had an affair (among other things, apparently), yet you don’t want to “press him” on why he had the affair and why he wants to come back now? Don’t you feel those are things you have a right to know? If his girlfriend dumped him and he’s just using getting back together to buy himself a little time and breathing room, that’s okay? If the two of you do reconcile, what will be different to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
Frankly, your letter sounds like it was written by someone who doesn’t demand to be treated with much respect. I’m sure your husband knows this about you. In fact, I bet he’s counting on it.
So as I said, I can’t tell you whether you should let him back in your life. But I can tell you there are some things far worse than being alone. And simply living with someone under the same roof doesn’t mean you’re not alone anyway.
I recently heard from an old friend I had lost touch with over the years. It was so nice to reconnect, like no time at all had passed, and it happened that they were going to be in our area, so I invited her and her family to stay with me and my husband for a couple of days. We had a nice visit and everything was fine until they left. That’s when I noticed a very expensive diamond ring was missing. I have turned my house upside down and am certain it is not in the house. I do have a bad habit of wearing it and leaving it lying around wherever I happen to take it off if I’m cooking or something, and I can’t say with 100% certainty when or where the last time I saw it was. To complicate things, my friend did have a 14-year-old son who seemed just a little not right. I don’t know how else to put it. Sullen and furtive.
Rightly or wrongly, I have convinced myself the son is behind this. I have wracked my brain and I can think of no other possible explanation. My question is, am I totally out of line to somehow broach this with my friend and ask her to keep an eye out for it? I wouldn’t accuse her son of stealing it, but if she finds it, I want her to know whom it belongs to. This ring has a substantial monetary value, but it also has irreplaceable sentimental value. I am willing to ruffle a few feathers if it increases my chances of locating it even a little bit. My husband doesn’t think this is a good idea. What do you think?
You’ve gone without having this friend in your life for a while. Before you imply, however subtly, that her son is a thief, you have to decide if you’re okay with the idea of having her out of your life again.
It sounds like misplacing this ring is probably a fairly regular occurrence for you, right? So I wonder how you can be so sure that this time, the ring is truly gone. I know you feel like you’ve looked everywhere, but we all feel this way about something we’ve misplaced until we find it in the one place we didn’t look.
So should you talk to your friend? That’s up to you. I don’t think it’s a completely reckless idea (nor do I think your theory is so outlandish), but you should fully expect your friend to resent your accusation. If you do go ahead and talk to her, you can simply let her know that should a diamond ring turn up in the laundry, it’s yours. But do so understanding that you may or may not get your ring back, but your old friend is probably lost for good.
I have kind of a delicate situation I’m writing about. One of my closest friends—a person who is always thinking of things she can turn into a business—has come up with an idea for a product. As I always do when she tells me of her latest brainstorm, I encouraged her when she first told me about it because she describes these things with such enthusiasm that it would almost be rude to say, “Huh? Who would ever buy that?”
Well, this approach has never been a problem before. Except now I have learned that she is about to sink a substantial amount of her own money into taking this product to the next level. John, this idea is frankly ludicrous and she is going to be making a huge mistake. And she is struggling now—her tenuous financial situation is why she’s seeing this as her big chance, but it is also badly clouding her judgment.
As I said, I have been noncommittally positive because I didn’t think this would go anywhere. Her ideas have always just kind of fizzled out with no harm done. Not this time. Do I take it upon myself to tell her this is a big mistake? I know she will be mad, but I feel like I’d be the worst friend in the world if I just let her go through with this. Help!
There’s A Reason No One’s Made It
I agree you should let your friend know of your misgivings. But perhaps there’s a way to put the onus on someone else to deliver the news. If she’s getting to the point where she’s about to spend a lot of money on this idea, you should encourage her to contact someone for help with putting together a business plan or to conduct some market research before going any further—regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of her idea, she should be doing this anyway. It’s past time to just go with her questionable gut. Presumably, any feedback she gets will be discouraging, and you can use that as a way to gently introduce your own reservations into the conversation. If she’s hell bent on plowing ahead without the benefit of this feedback, though, tell her you’ve given it a lot more thought now that you realize how seriously she’s taking this and you have a few things you want to make sure she’s thought through before investing money on top of her time. Make your case, and then let her make her decision. At that point you will have done all a good friend can do.
— Photo Flickr/syvwlch