In­fi­delity of the past causes con­cern

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES/IN MEMORIAM - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar An­nie's Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie's Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3

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.

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