Lies by omission are still lies in struggling relationship
Dear Annie: My husband constantly lies by omission of details of what he has done.
He has had two affairs with other women — that I know of. He thinks if he tells part of the truth, it is OK. That is how his mind works, and he doesn’t care what I think.
What is wrong with him? His mother was the same way. — Questioning in PA
Dear Questioning: No matter what sort of mental gymnastics your husband engages in to convince himself he’s not a bad guy, a half-told truth is a lie. If he wants to make things right, he’ll agree to go to marriage counseling with you. A counselor might help uncover whatever deep-seated issues drive him toward cheating and lying, and there you two can work together to build a new foundation, because his past actions have put a rot in the old one. Taking things apart and building your relationship anew is your best hope at having a healthy married life.
Dear Annie: I am “Time Capsule in My Attic,” who wrote to you earlier this year about finding a 50-year-old box of letters written to me by my high school boyfriend during his first year of college at a prestigious Ivy League school. I was wondering what I should do with them. Back then, I considered your response that I should contact my former boyfriend and send him these letters because he might be interested in reading about his life back then. Your column today featured a letter from Kathi, the retired special manuscripts librarian, who suggested that his college would likely be interested in these letters for research purposes into the day-to-day life of a freshman in 1969. I chose to ignore your advice — and now Kathi’s — and I disposed of the letters. I will explain why that was the right decision for me.
First of all, I would never send those letters to a college library without first contacting my old boyfriend to ask permission; to do otherwise would be a huge invasion of his privacy and my own. So why did I not take your advice two months ago and contact him to ask if he wanted the letters? I was mostly thinking about him and his family when I decided not to reach out. What if he and his wife are currently going through a rough patch in their relationship and she is a jealous sort who might be threatened by old letters with at least a bit of romance in them? What if curious grown children cannot resist the urge to read these letters and — God forbid — they chose to contact me for “old times’ sake”? Indeed, a box of old letters could turn into a can of worms, and I was not willing to let that happen.
I remember the day I threw the letters into our town’s recycle bin, almost 3,000 miles from the fancy college where he penned his thoughts 50 years ago. I was grateful to have known him, but even more grateful for the full, wonderful life I found for myself without him. I did not want to risk any ill feelings or awkwardness by suddenly reaching out after all these years with that box of letters. — Right Decision for Me
Dear Right: I’m glad you made the right decision for you. And I’m always interested to hear from previous letter writers about what solutions they tried and how they worked out. So, thanks for sharing!
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“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.