Dear Amy: I discovered my husband of 20 years is carrying on an "emotional affair" with another woman. As far as I know, the affair is not physical. He has begun meeting female "friends" for after-dinner drinks and posts pictures of himself with the young, attractive co-workers on his Facebook page.
He discusses what these 20-something women are doing and saying with our teenage sons. I'm finally at the point where I can't take it, and I'm seeing a divorce lawyer.
My question to you is, when my sons ask why we are getting a divorce, do I tell them that their father is a liar? And that he has disrespected their mother by carrying on with other women while married?
Or do I let their father explain? I am so angry that I want to explain to them that real men don't cheat on their wives or lie to them. And real men don't flirt with other women and make comments about how attractive other women are in front of their wives. He does this all the time, even when our sons are with us.
I don't want them to grow up to be disrespectful to their girlfriends or wives because that has been their role model. How should I handle this?
FED UP IN CALIFORNIA
Dear Fed Up: You are the only role model you should worry about right now, and you should approach this with all of the dignity you can muster.
Do not trash your ex, even if he deserves it. Do not call him a liar, even if he is. Your sons have been watching their father operate; you can assume that they love and feel protective of you, even if they don't necessarily put words to it. If their father tells them something untrue, you can correct the record. If they ask you questions, answer them simply and truthfully.
Dear Amy: Recently I lost my cat to Feline Infectious Peritonitis. It was devastating.
When I offered my brother and sister-in-law some of my cat's things the night he was euthanized, they seemed concerned that the disease that killed him was contagious.
I assured them I had done my research and it was not. A few days later they informed me that the night my cat was euthanized they called the veterinarian and asked questions.
I am offended that they called the vet. I believe it to be selfish and insensitive. I was upset that they showed more concern about themselves and their lives than about this loss.
I do understand the concern for their pets, but think they should have taken another route to get the information, or at least wait a few days and ask my permission to call the veterinarian. Am I being oversensitive?
Dear Grieving: You are being oversensitive. As an animal lover, I understand your grief, but what your brother and sister-in-law did was responsible. The reason they called the vet the same day your cat was euthanized was because that was when you were offering your cat's things.
The mistake they made was to tell you about it. Your vet may be able to recommend a grief group of bereaved pet owners; I think it would be very helpful for you.