Dear Amy: I found out that my 23 year old husband was having an emotional affair with a younger coworker he supervises (it’s supposed to be over).
This woman also met me. He has known her for 10 years and recruited her to work in his office. He told me she reminded him of me.
He said the relationship was not physical. She is also married with very young children.
We have two children, one in college and one in grade 10. We are in crushing debt and unfortunately live on paycheck after paycheck.
He doesn’t have enough money to move.
We have no savings, and no real college funds.
I would like us to work on our marriage and at least stay together until the youngest graduates, by which time we can sell our house and move to cheaper places.
I can forgive the emotional affair, but I cannot forgive forcing us into financial ruin.
My husband is 50 years old and has had a difficult professional career. He was depressed and has a difficult relationship with our children.
We both started new jobs four years ago with a plan to improve our situation.
I do not know what to do. We went to a consultation, where she was told to move out, even though we told the therapist that we had no money.
I want to do what’s best for our children. – despised
Dear Despised: You have confused two problems: the emotional infidelity of your husband, whom you say you can forgive, and your financial situation, which you blame him for.
You don’t provide details of your husband’s behavior, but unless he has hijacked your mutual earnings, it’s not clear why he is solely responsible for your debt.
It seems that in addition to marriage counseling, you both would benefit from financial counseling. Selling your home now, during a healthy market, and renting a home might be the best decision for you.
Tackling your financial problems together, without blame or shame, and making tough mutual choices about saving money, could help lift your relationship off the precipice.
For inspiration, read “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey (2013, Thomas Nelson).
Dear Amy: You get a lot of questions from older readers who complain that they are not thanked enough for the gifts they have given young people.
While helping an 8-year-old boy write thank you cards for the gifts he received last Christmas, he made an observation: He is always expected to write thank you cards, but not never receives.
He said an older relative told him it was important to write thank you cards because it makes the donor feel appreciated and special. He suggested that, “Maybe if the kids knew how special it was to receive a thank you card, we’d be happier making others feel that way.”
It marked me all year. – Grateful
Dear grateful: I often wonder if people who are so concerned with other people’s expressions of gratitude take the time to demonstrate this important value in their own lives.
Watching your young friend is wise as well as profound. I’m sure this will inspire many people to reconsider their own behavior. Thank you.
Dear Amy: “Wondering Girl” was a teenage girl who had a crush on a guy who seemed to pick on her. In addition to other things, he told her that he wanted to help her become “a better person”.
Please stop equating a guy who has a crush on you with abuse. You said to “I wonder” that “his behavior towards you is the equivalent of a fourth grader hitting a girl in the arm when he loves her.”
If we are to end domestic violence in this country, we must teach people, especially our children, that hurting people is not a sign of affection. We all have to use our words.
Plus, if this guy is already trying to change her, it’s not a healthy relationship. Your friends accept you for who you are, your flaws and everything. They report annoying behavior that they see in you without being mean. Maybe this guy has a crush on “Wondering”. Or maybe he’s just a jerk.
I was there, I did that. – Kim
Dear Kim: I don’t consider fourth graders punching each other in the arm as “abuse,” but I take your excellent point and your interpretation of that dynamic, and thank you for bringing it up.
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