Dear Annie: I have been married for 40 years to a man who had a few affairs in the past that I recently found out about. We are both seeing counselors, privately and together. At this point in time, I am tired of dealing with this, and our marriage could well end in divorce.
But I am puzzled by what my husband told me. He said he learned in his psychology classes in college that "men are not designed for monogamy." I have never heard him say anything of the sort in our entire 40 years together. Is this simply an excuse for me to forgive his affairs? Or is the statement true?
He tells me he is done with other women, but now I'm not so sure. Should I trust him again? - California
Dear California: There is some support for your husband's statement, but it does not justify affairs. Your husband is not some uncivilized animal with no concern for his partner. We assume he is an adult and capable of self-control. But we can't promise he will never have another affair, and he probably cannot promise that, either, even if his intentions are good. Only you can decide whether it's worth the risk after 40 years of marriage.
Dear Annie: I work in an office with six women, and they all have cubicles. I have my own office. My problem is they do not associate with me. One woman in particular seems to run the show. I've tried to be friendly and converse with them, but I am snubbed.
I've been in the office for seven years. I always feel terrible when I hear them talking and laughing about family and things they did. But I'm never included in the conversation unless it has to do with work. - Feeling Lonely
Dear Lonely: If you have your own office, your status must be higher than that of your co-workers. It is hardly unusual for staff members to associate mainly with those at a similar level of employment. For your own peace of mind, please find friends elsewhere and keep the office a place of professionalism.
Dear Annie: I must disagree with the advice you gave to the "Fed-Up Grandma in Chicago" about the behavior of two children in church. Your last sentence gave the impression that she should have been "kind enough to engage the children in some quiet activity and give the parents a break."
These kids were in church, not at the playground. They are old enough to be able to sit still for an hour. Behavior that is inappropriate at age 8 is going to be a major problem at age 16. There are situations in which kids can be active and have fun, but church is a solemn place where children should be taught proper behavior. - H.
Dear H.: Many readers agree with you, but we don't. Staring daggers at the parents has little effect, and yelling at the children is not your place. Of course the parents should teach their children proper decorum in a place of worship, but many do not. If the parents have a passel of children and seem frazzled, how much kinder it would be to help, distract or smile rather than seethe in silence and castigate them to everyone within earshot after they have left.
Annie's Snippet for Labor Day (credit author Douglas Pagels): Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.
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