Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Engagement doesn’t ease infidelity worries

- By Amy Dickinson askamy@amydickins­ Twitter@askingamy Copyright 2023 by Amy Dickinson Distribute­d by Tribune Content Agency

Dear Amy: I am engaged to marry a wonderful man who treats me like a queen. I do not have any evidence of infidelity, but he is a naturally private person, and I harbor fear that he may have another woman on the side — not so much sexually as emotionall­y.

He was communicat­ing with other women on an intimate level during the start of our relationsh­ip without my knowledge, and that has left me uncertain of his commitment to me. I have asked him if I am the only one, and he swears that I am, but I cannot shake the feeling that there is something that he isn’t telling me.

How can I move past what I consider irrational insecurity before my fear predicts my future?

— Fear of Infidelity

Dear Fear of Infidelity:

My first suggestion is that if you are unsure of your guy’s commitment to you, you should not be engaged to him. Ideally, your public (and private) promise to marry means that you are moving forward with your trust in one another and fidelity already secured. You obviously need more time to sort out your fears.

You make an excellent point that “irrational insecurity” could actually inspire the situation you are worried about. Responding to a partner’s constant suspicion or trying to boost them from truly irrational insecurity is exhausting.

However, your own instincts are your best tool for determinin­g the course of your own life. Never ignore them. You believe there is something he isn’t telling you? There is a likelihood that you are right.

Have you demonstrat­ed a tolerance for hearing the truth and responding rationally, or does your partner believe the truth will break you? This is something to consider.

Your relationsh­ip started off on a challengin­g note. Do not submerge your instincts to continue. Your fiance may have to lift the veil of his well-tended privacy to reassure you.

Dear Amy: I am a 72-yearold man. I work more than full time as a house-call veterinari­an and absolutely love what I do. I also love hiking, camping, traveling and sharing a good movie with a partner.

My wife of 27 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about four years ago. She has been living in a memory-care unit for the last 18 months.

She feels productive there, stays busy and neither of us regrets this decision. I visit her a few times a week, but she remembers me as a good friend, and not her spouse.

I’d love to stop working and begin to enjoy life, but when I mention my “wife,” prospectiv­e partners don’t think it appropriat­e to seek anything more than a friendship. At this stage of my life, I don’t need another friend. I need a partner. Suggestion­s?


Dear DVM: I’m sorry you and your wife are going through this. It interests me that you describe your wife as knowing you now only as a good friend, which illustrate­s the point that friendship­s can outlast partnershi­ps.

You don’t “need” a partner. You “want” a partner. That desire is understand­able, but if you are approachin­g women as potential partners and they are offering friendship instead, respect their boundaries and accept this offer. The things you love to do — hiking, camping, traveling and movies — can be enjoyed with a friend.

Dear Amy: I read the letter from “Confused and Concerned,” whose husband forced an unwanted sex act on her when they had both been sleeping in bed.

Thank you for your response. I believe almost certainly that the husband has a sleep disorder. However, your advice that he reveal this to his wife presumes that he knows he has a disorder.

There is an excellent article in this month’s Scientific American that describes RBD, a sleep disorder in which the sufferer acts out, in real time, portions of a dream.

These actions are often violent and the sufferer may have no memory of this. Unfortunat­ely, RBD often foreshadow­s the onset of Parkinson’s or other neurodegen­erative conditions. The husband should seek a medical diagnosis. —AFan

Dear Fan: Thank you. Because this behavior was completely out of the norm, I agree that he should be evaluated for a sleep disorder.

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