Even with my husband gone, I’m still mad at his affair
DEAR ABBY: My husband was the love of my life. I lost it to COVID eight months ago. We had been together for 20 years. I know without a doubt that my husband loved me, but during our marriage he had several affairs. He was always sorry for his indiscretions and showered me with gifts and holidays afterwards.
I was able to forgive him all his adventures except the last. It was with a tramp from our church, and it almost ended our marriage. I actually told him to get out and we were done. He begged me to change my mind and swore it was the last time. I agreed to stay, but things were never the same again. We left our church because of my embarrassment about their affair, so we lost our friends.
My problem is that since his death, I have become very angry again. I’m furious with him for this case and I dream of ripping off the face of the “Lady of the Church”. How can I let go of this anger so I can mourn the loss of my husband and remember the love and good times we shared instead of this ugly affair? – MY MISSING MAN IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR GONE: I’m glad you wrote, because it’s important that you give yourself the opportunity to express your feelings. A constructive way to do this would be to speak with a licensed therapist or with your spiritual advisor. Have you ever discussed why you left the church you loved with the pastor there? If you haven’t, this could be a starting point.
You also mentioned that when you left, you left behind some precious friendships. It may be time to renew them. And please stop feeling embarrassed because of your husband’s transgression. He was weak and he was human, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner your rage will diminish.
DEAR ABBY: My 80-year-old mother has always considered herself an artist, although her paintings are poor at best. She insists on giving away paintings at major events and also insists that winners unbox the painting in front of guests. At a recent (posh) wedding, she insisted the bride and groom open her gift, although that’s not usually done at a wedding.
The bride and groom were angry and embarrassed, as were the wedding party and guests. The painting was atrocious, and my oblivious mother was beaming, smiling, and bowing. She does this at most weddings and events, and I’m mortified every time. The recipients are, without exception, visibly uncomfortable and even angry that she is trying to upstage them. Mother doesn’t notice.
It’s not dementia; she has always been attention-obsessed and narcissistic. I’ve reached the point where I’m going to avoid all the events she attends. I begged her not to, but she claims I’m “just trying to stifle her creativity” and that she’s a gifted artist. Abby, people are laughing behind her. How to stop him from doing that? — MORTIFIED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR MORTIFIED: Your mother’s need for attention is not a reflection on you. You tried to warn her. Now is the time to let go. She won’t stop until one of the future recipients reacts by telling her honestly in front of everyone what exactly he thinks of her “masterpiece”.
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 http://www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.