Dear Annie: During the past year, I have had some health issues that have required that I stay in a hospital and then a nursing facility for several months. I am in my 40s, and it’s been extremely hard on my family, but I now am recovering at home.
A month ago, my husband told me that during my stay, two different women had propositioned him, offering assistance if he was lonely. He has said I do not know them and he made clear he was not interested. He told me it had upset him so much he eventually felt he needed to tell me. We are very close, and I do believe he is loyal to our marriage. He said he was upset that these women would be so bold as to suggest something like that. He told me it bothered him that they would try to take advantage of the situation.
I am sickened, even though I also am relieved. I talked to my therapist, and he said there are a lot of lonely, desperate women out there. I am certain the therapist was trying to downplay the situation, but that really did not help. I trust my husband but wonder why a woman would feel comfortable enough to say something like that to him.
It is possible he totally misread the situations, but I am not that naive. I feel betrayed that someone would feel that hateful toward not just me but also my children, especially during this difficult time.
I cannot live looking over my shoulder, wondering who would betray my family in our time of crisis, so I am moving on, but I just wanted to remind people that when there is a crisis in a family, take the high road and do not add more heartache and complications to the situation. Put yourself in the family’s shoes and think about how you would feel if someone took advantage of you. People need to be compassionate and caring during a difficult time and not add additional stress to all parties. — Faithful in New Mexico
Dear Faithful: Trying to seduce another woman’s husband always is sleazy. Doing so while she’s in a facility recovering from illness — that takes it to a new, stomach-churning low. But rather than focus on what they did, look instead at how your husband reacted. He rejected their ugly advances and told you what happened. It sounds as though your marriage is built on honesty and communication — a rock-solid foundation. No big bad wolf could blow that house down. That is the real moral of this story.
Dear Annie: I was in the Army for about 21 years. When I retired, I came back to a world that had changed. I still believe in the golden rule, as well as my military values, but it seems that very few people think that way anymore. I don’t think I’m that old, but I know that I’m having trouble adjusting. Do you have any advice? – Dinosaur
Dear Dinosaur: The golden rule still is golden, and I promise you there are others out there who share your values. I recommend connecting with an organization dedicated to helping former service members reacclimate to civilian life, such as The American Legion (www.legion.org) or AMVETS (amvets.org). I also recommend visiting MakeTheConnection.net, a website created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to find resources in your area and other helpful information. Talking to other veterans who understand what you’re going through could be hugely therapeutic. You are not alone.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.