DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married for a little more than 12 years. My wife and I have one child. Unfortunately, like a lot of relationships, we’ve been stuck in a rough patch for a while now. I learned that she was having an affair a few years ago, which rocked me to the core. I recognized there were cracks forming early on, but, admittedly, I didn’t do enough to try to fix them. I ultimately decided to forgive her, and we have tried our best to put things back together.
Last year, I met someone through work with whom I connected on an incredibly deep level, and I found myself to be genuinely happy in a way I hadn’t been for ages. It led to an affair that has been going on for a year. This woman desperately wants us to have a life together, as do I, but I’m afraid of what it will do to my child.
Walking away from my long marriage, even with everything that has happened, is difficult to fathom, as is the thought of destroying my child’s sense of family and stability. I don’t want to hurt either person, but I’m at a loss as to what to do. — FAILED HUSBAND IN THE EAST
DEAR FAILED HUSBAND: Have you had a heart-to-heart talk with your wife about what you both want? If you haven’t, you should. IF you would like to continue your marriage, start working with a licensed marriage and family therapist now. Your reason for not wanting to break up the family is rational because there is a third person involved, and I’m not talking about your girlfriend. However, if a couple is not happy, it isn’t a healthy atmosphere for a child to grow up in.
DEAR ABBY: How do you tell a loved one that they have bad hygiene (such as body odor and bad breath)? For the most part, my ex-husband raised my now-adult son. My ex is very clean, so I’m not sure why my son is not. It isn’t a medical issue, and it isn’t sweat from exercise, it’s just body odor.
My son and a couple of his friends seem to have lower standards in this area than is socially acceptable. The rest of his friends have what would be considered normal hygiene. I’m worried because this could affect his career and love life. Is there a way to approach it without hurting his feelings, or should I just let him stink and say nothing? — WASHING UP IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WASHING UP: Tell your adult son that you have noticed his body odor, that it is unpleasant and that you are concerned about it. You didn’t mention how old he is, or whether he has a doctor or a dentist, but everyone should get an annual physical and a semiannual dental wellness checkup.
Although you say your son’s problem isn’t a medical issue, there are any number of serious ailments that can cause body odor and bad breath. If he checks out medically and all he really needs is to shower and brush his teeth on a more regular basis, tell him point blank. And while you’re at it, tell him his social and work lives could be negatively impacted if he doesn’t clean up his act. This is what mothers do, so start now.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.