DEAR ABBY: I’m very depressed and upset with myself. I cheated on my husband, “Hal,” and told him after I realized I had gotten an STI from the man I cheated with. Hal was very upset, and we didn’t talk for a day and a half, but he didn’t yell or call me names. I feel so guilty and confused. He’s being really nice, not cussing at me. It’s strange.
Things are different between us now, and it’s my fault. It will take time and patience, I guess. But I miss the intimacy and affection Hal and I once shared. Is it normal for me to want him to yell at me and show his anger? When I try to talk about him getting tested for STIs, he gets quiet and brings up the past. Please help me. I just want things back the way they were before I cheated. What do I do? — RELUCTANT CHEATER IN OREGON
DEAR RELUCTANT CHEATER: Hal needs to talk to his doctor and schedule an appointment to be tested, and you must be willing to talk to him about “the past” and why you cheated on him. You owe your husband an explanation. That he hasn’t yelled or called you names doesn’t mean he isn’t hurt and furious about what happened. It may take counseling with a licensed marriage and family therapist for your marriage to be repaired. If you do this, although your relationship may never go back to the way it was before you cheated, it may be better.
DEAR ABBY: About 10 years ago, my longtime best friend, “Byron,” abruptly cut me out of his life. I never clearly understood why. I reached out to him on and off for several years without success. Then I ran into him, traded pleasantries and we followed up. He returned my email, we began communicating again about things that mattered, and it appeared our friendship was on the mend.
A short time later, my wife (only an acquaintance of his) divorced me and began a massive social media attack against me. Most of my friends saw through her lies. I took the high road and never said anything about her lunacy. Then she ramped it up by going after some of the people she knew were important in my life, including Byron. Soon after, I heard she had her hooks in him and he stopped communicating with me. My ex-wife has since passed away.
I have dreams that Byron and I are friends again, doing the things we used to do, and I would like to try “Rebuild No. 2” but don’t know where to start. He never got the full story, only the part that made me look bad. Do I mention my ex-wife’s lies, or do I just try and start over again? And if so, how? — UNFRIENDED AGAIN IN MICHIGAN
DEAR UNFRIENDED: True friends do not treat each other the way that Byron has treated you. They discuss their differences instead of cutting each other off. Your “friend” could have come to you after he was contacted by your ex-wife. He could also have asked some of your mutual friends if what she was spreading was true. Byron did neither. Go on with your life and don’t look back, or you will receive more of the same from this person.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.