Dear Annie: After 20 years of living together, my partner informed me that she was in love with someone else and had been slipping off to his house when she told me she was visiting a girlfriend. "Lois" says there was no sex involved - just hugging and kissing, etc.
I confronted this man, and he denied he had any feelings for Lois except as a friend. He said she asked him for a hug, so he hugged her, but nothing else happened. He denied they kissed. Twice after that, he told Lois to her face that he has no feelings for her.
This guy is a snowbird and is here only during the winter. Lois says she loves me, but is not "in love" with me, and when this guy returns, she is going to be hugging and kissing him whether I like it or not. She believes he loves her, no matter what he says.
Lois is 76, and I am 81. I told her there is no way she can continue to live with me if she's going to remain friendly with this guy, and that I would leave. I love her, but will not share her. I also don't believe this guy cares for her, but he doesn't have the nerve to stop her from coming over. Please don't suggest counseling. Lois has no interest in it.
The guy returns in November. Should I wait or leave?
- Florida Problems
Dear Florida: Lois wants both of you - you for the security, and the Other Man for the romance. He makes her feel young, and unless he actually turns her away, she will keep going over there. Can you rev up the romance over the summer so that Lois is less interested in anyone else? Do you think her infatuation will wear thin and fade away? Do you want to have an open relationship in which both of you can see other people?
You cannot change Lois' behavior or that of the Other Man. You can only decide how you are going to handle the situation in whatever way works best for you.
Dear Annie: I have been married to my husband for 20 years, and we have two kids in junior high. My problem is, my husband does not wash his hands after using the bathroom or blowing his nose, which drives me crazy.
I mentioned it early on, and he claimed he was "careful enough" so that nothing ever got on his hands. I know that's not possible. How do I get through to him that he's risking illness for himself and the entire family?
- Grossed Out in Quebec
Dear Quebec: Not washing one's hands after using the bathroom, coughing or blowing one's nose is a surefire way to transmit germs. It is particularly important to wash one's hands before handling food. You could ask your husband to discuss the health risks with his doctor, or you could try behavior modification - refusing to kiss or touch him until he washes his hands, for example. But you cannot force him to be more considerate, sorry.