Husband walking on thin ice

My husband and I have been married 22 years and have two children.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married 22 years and have two children.

“Myles” works for a large company known for its long workweeks. He and a woman, “Lara,” co-manage the organization.

Myles has always liked Lara and respects their working relationship.

I never suspected a thing until they went on a business trip to Europe last fall.

Although there were other co-workers present, the only pictures Myles had were of Lara.

Worse, she apparently “borrowed” his camera and took a photo of a friend’s half-naked breasts.

She sent me an email apologizing, claiming she’d had too much to drink.

Myles has increased the time he spends with Lara and decreased his time with me.

He ignored my request to attend our daughter’s soccer game in order to have drinks with Lara.

He took her out for her birthday at “our” special restaurant.

When we took a family vacation, he bought gifts for her.

I accused him of having an emotional affair and he denied it.

He says Lara is just a good friend.

Well, I am increasingly uncomfortable with this friendship.

Myles insists that since he tells me about their time together, it is safe for me to accept this special relationship.

He claims Lara always speaks highly of me and if she thought she was hurting our marriage, she would be devastated.

What can I do? — Worried and Unsure

Dear Worried: Myles is playing a dangerous game.

Even if he is not cheating, it wouldn’t take much to step over that line.

It is disingenuous for Lara to claim she wouldn’t want to hurt your marriage because that is exactly what she is doing — with your husband’s enthusiastic assistance.

His “honesty” is a manipulative way of getting your permission to continue while he denies his true feelings.

You both need to sit down with a counsellor and get professional guidance before it’s too late.

Dear Annie: I divorced two years ago and haven’t been on a date since. I am in my early 50s, keep up my appearance, own my own home, work and go to church regularly. I’m told I am attractive and have a good sense of humour.

As time goes on, I am becoming quite lonely.

For various reasons, I can’t date anyone at work.

I know you often recommend joining clubs, but with my full-time job and church volunteer work, I’m fairly busy.

My friends want me to try an online dating site, but I am strongly opposed to this.

Do you have any other suggestions? — Busy But Very Lonely

Dear Busy: Unless your church has a singles group, you won’t find anyone to date if you don’t look in other places.

Try to set aside one day a week to do something different — join a theatre group or choir, volunteer for a political candidate, civic organization or at your local animal shelter.

Enrol in a class at a community college.

And don’t dismiss online sites. Some of them are quite reputable and, at the very least, will help you hone your dating skills.

Dear Annie: “Martha’s Friend” said her 81-year-old lunch pal was bouncing cheques.

She should contact AARP to see whether they have a money management program in her area.

A trained volunteer will visit once a month to write cheques, go over finances and help out with other financial issues.

The service charges on a sliding scale.

I have had three clients over a multiyear period, and while it doesn’t always work — one continually overdrew her chequing account and we had to have the bank handle her cheques, as you suggested — the other two were helped significantly and we became friends.

And, of course, it was extremely fulfilling for me to be able to provide the assistance. — Harbor Seal

Dear Harbor: You weren’t the only reader to suggest this wonderful service.

Readers can find out more through AARP (aarpmmp.org) at 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277).

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com

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