Dear Annie: Last year, my best friend told me that she and my husband had slept together the year before, after her divorce from my husband’s brother. When I confronted my husband about this information, he wasn’t defensive or argumentative; he just denied that it happened. He said he didn’t do it. I chose to believe him.
My ex-best friend then decided to spread it around the whole family, and everybody sided with her and decided that my husband is a “snake.” She has this huge support system and the whole family feeling bad for her, and it seems like my husband is universally hated for what he “did to her.” Not to mention the fact that nobody even bothered to call me to see how I was with all of this, whether it’s true or not.
The only family member that still talks to us is my mother-in-law, and all she says is, “I’m not taking sides.” I hate that my husband is guilty until proven innocent. And honestly, whether she was lying or telling the truth, SHE did a bad thing, too, so how come everyone feels bad for her?
I choose to believe in my marriage instead of dwelling on a lie or a mistake. So why do we have to feel like the black sheep? Am I wrong to be mad at my husband’s whole family? – Loyal Wife
Dear Loyal Wife: You are a candidate for sainthood. I love the way you are handling a difficult situation. No wonder you and your husband are in a good place. My only suggestion is to stay focused on your relationship with him and not fret over family gossip. You should have a frank conversation with your “ex-best friend,” too. Tell her to cut it out – to stop spreading rumors about your “snake” of a husband. Cut ties with her if you must, and the same goes for any other family members who persist in gossiping about your husband.
Dear Annie: While organizing my late husband’s things after his death three months ago, I found old pictures of his first wife and old girlfriends. All these people are dead since my husband was 20 years older than me. Among the pictures, there was a small book of typewritten poems from one of his girlfriends.
Although I was jealous at first, I have come to understand why he kept those things as they were an important part of his life many years ago. My question is, what do you recommend I do with them? I feel uneasy just throwing them away, but I don’t want to keep them. I look forward to your response. – Cleaning Spouse
Dear Cleaning Spouse: I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband.
While his keepsakes may not be sentimental to you, they may be to other people. Try making contact with the family members of your husband’s previous beaus. Perhaps these mementoes will help them keep the memory of their loved ones alive. If this proves difficult, then throw them away – guilt-free.
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“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit Creators Publishing for more information. Send your questions to Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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