Infidelity of the past causes concern
Dear Annie: My wife and I were married in a double wedding with her sister. Two years later, my new brother-in-law began boasting to me of his philandering. He rationalized it by claiming that as long as his wife knew nothing about it, he wasn't hurting her. I told this to my wife and asked whether we should tell her sister, but she said not to. Over the next several years, their marriage seemed strained, and after 30 years together, they finally split up.
I never pulled those kinds of shenanigans, and my wife and I happily celebrated our 60th anniversary recently. I have always wondered, though, whether we did the right thing by not telling her sister 58 years ago. Perhaps if we had, she might have left him then and her whole life could have changed for the better. What is your opinion? —E.C.
Dear E.C.: This question comes up a lot in our column. Sixty years ago, the threat of contracting herpes or HIV wasn't an issue. And unlike other sexually transmitted diseases, these are not curable. They require long-term treatment and monitoring. These diseases changed the landscape when it came to telling someone about an affair that was otherwise not really their business.
There are women who say they would want to know and feel betrayed when they discover that friends and family members didn't tell them. There are an equal number of women who shoot the messenger, opting to close their eyes and stay in the marriage, often cutting off contact with the person who told the truth. Our opinion is that it's best to confront the cheater, letting him know you are aware of his actions and could tell the spouse, and suggesting counseling.
Your wife made the determination that her sister's marriage was not her business and that Sis would prefer not to know. Even if Sis was aware of the cheating, she may not have wanted a divorce when such a move still carried a social stigma. Hindsight is 20/20, but in the moment, there is no way to know how someone will respond and how their lives will change. You make the decision you think is best at the time.
Dear Annie: Are there any websites devoted to helping people find nursing homes or assisted living facilities for relatives who moved to other states and did not plan for when they got older? These people do not have family members who live nearby, and now their far-flung nieces and nephews are trying to help them out.
I am sure others around the country deal with this and could use some guidance, too. Where do we go for help? —Marie
Dear Marie: Medicare offers an excellent guide for choosing a nursing home, along with other free publications and resources on their website at medicare.gov. Just type "find nursing home" in the search box. People who are considering retiring to warmer climates away from their families may want to check this out and be prepared for whatever happens down the road.