My wife of 20 years has been electronically unfaithful. There have been covert telephone calls and late-night text messages to a boyfriend from long ago. He's divorced and found her on Facebook, telling her he needed "advice on dating."
She admits to the phone calls and messages and nothing more. I believe her. They haven't met - just these covert exchanges, which are frequent and sometimes lengthy, over the course of several months. The "whys" behind her behavior are not important. We know our marriage is damaged, and we will work on that. She says she knows she was wrong to let it go on as long as it did, and further communication will stop. Should it include unfriending him on Facebook? I'm perplexed by the new paradigm of relationships.
- Covert exchanges in the South
DEAR COVERT: I disagree that the reasons that led to your wife's behavior aren't important. I hope you two will work out your disconnect with licensed professional help, because it will make the process faster. As to whether she should unfriend her old boyfriend on Facebook, the answer is an unequivocal "yes."
Teen's paternity test
DEAR ABBY: I tutor a 16-year-old boy. His family moved to our city five months ago. They live in a crowded apartment with other relatives. One day, he told me a 20-year-old girl was obsessed with him, and he didn't like her that much. I told him it was unusual and said it was a good thing he had moved.
A month later she showed up, uninvited, to visit him. I think she came here to get pregnant, which she did. Her family now expects him to move back to Oklahoma, quit school, and work to support the family. He's a smart kid with the potential to do well in college. His father is dead, the mother is clueless, and I am concerned about this boy. The girl's father and brother are in prison. How can I advise him?
- Caring tutor in California
DEAR TUTOR: Your student is a minor. The "girl" is an adult. The young man should not move ANYwhere without first insisting that a paternity test be taken to be certain he is the father of the child she's expecting - if she is, indeed, pregnant. Because of the difference in their ages, she may be guilty of statutory rape, and he may be a victim.
Don't revisit bullies
DEAR ABBY: After decades of sucking it up, should I send a letter to the individuals who bullied me incessantly and made my life a living hell in high school? Should I let them know all has not been forgiven or forgotten?
- Former victim in Montana