Dear Annie: My husband and his best friend of six years have had a falling out. My husband has a bad habit of not listening to people when they talk. I thought he was that way only with me, but apparently not. I guess it has happened several times with "Bob," and about two months ago, Bob told my husband that he'd had it.
At first, my husband gave him some space. They work for the same company and see each other a few days a week. My husband apologized in person and via text. He has invited Bob to get together for dinner and talk it out, but Bob's not interested. I have texted Bob, begging him to forgive my husband, but he won't budge.
My husband misses the friendship. I don't understand why Bob is being so stubborn about forgiveness. I'm pretty sure he has some faults of his own. I asked my husband whether something else is going on, or whether Bob has other issues that are upsetting him, and he swears that there is nothing. Should he just give up on the friendship? — Frustrated Wife in California
Dear Frustrated: We know you are hurting for your husband, but you need to leave this alone. There could be other things going on that Bob doesn't want to discuss or that your husband is reluctant to mention. It's also possible that Bob needs a lot more breathing space before he is willing to reconcile. They see each other at work and, for now, that will have to be enough. Your husband should be cordial to Bob when he runs into him, but otherwise, there should be no pressure from either of you to resume the friendship. That decision belongs to Bob. Sorry.
Dear Annie: You have printed letters from married people who caught their spouses cheating. My wife and I have been together for 25 years, and we each caught the other in an affair. We survived!
Here are my words of wisdom about affairs:
Never ask about or offer the details. It will only sear images into your spouse's imagination that really don't matter.
Ask what caused your partner to cheat and fix it. I was gone too much for work, and when another man paid my wife some much-needed attention, one thing led to another. I changed my life to be home more often. My affair was with a much younger woman who made me feel vibrant and desirable. I realize now I was a sugar daddy to her. My wife turned up the charm and made me feel desirable again.
We each gave each other the same ultimatum — either get rid of the other person completely and work on the marriage, or leave. Cheating does not have to end the relationship. Rather, it can create the beginning of a new, stronger and better relationship. It takes strength, commitment and most of all forgiveness, but if you are still in love, never give up. — Still in Love and Still Married
Dear Still: We agree that marriages can survive affairs if both parties get counseling and work on it. And while the nitty-gritty details are never a good idea, transparency is an absolutely necessity. Trust cannot be regained if, for example, one spouse insists on an email account or cellphone to which the other spouse has no access.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.