Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for several years. “Cindy” seemed to be “the one” -- someone who completed my life and truly loved me.
However, at one point after we were married, I found out she was receiving inappropriate emails from a co-worker. She said they were just jokes between two “friends.” She insisted that she had never been physically unfaithful to me. She also insists that there is no such thing as an “emotional affair.”
I then ended up catching up with a friend of mine, “Don,” on the phone. Don is usually extremely talkative. As soon as I brought up some concerns about my wife, the conversation abruptly became very awkward. He began stammering -- making such comments as, “Well, when a very pretty woman gets older and gets attention and compliments from other guys, she, uh, well...”
At that point, I stopped him and said, “Just what are you talking about?” After a long pause, he said, “I think that you’d be better off talking to your wife about this.”
Since then, I have not been able to regain communication with Don. Calls have not been returned.
As I thought more and more about it, I realized that this didn’t necessarily mean that Don was himself doing something -- but it did seem likely that he knew of something going on.
I got up the courage to confront my wife about this conversation with Don and basically got the old brushoff. She couldn’t recall any “recent” times of running into Don or any recent conversations.
To make matters even stranger, she keeps all her electronic devices locked with pass codes, which she refuses to share with me. I’ve given her the pass codes to all my devices.
Why am I writing to you? I guess it’s just to validate my feelings -- to hear that I don’t deserve this. And I’m hoping you can point me toward some type of solution. -- Deja Vu All Over Again and Again
Dear Deja Vu: You have my validation -- and then some. Something is definitely up with your wife. It may not have to do with Don, but there’s somebody, and it may not be physical, but it’s at least emotional. (There is such a thing as emotional cheating, even if your wife doesn’t believe it.) At the very least, there is a communication breakdown between you two. Marriage counseling could provide you both with the tools you need to begin repairing your relationship. Make an appointment today, and implore her to go, for the sake of the marriage.
Dear Annie: Please refrain from using subjective labels -- such as elderly, senior and aging -- when referring to people over a certain age. These labels are no longer recommended in journalism, as they are loaded with negative stereotypes and are offensive, hurtful and insulting to many people. How would you like to be called “elderly” if you were a healthy, vigorous and youthful-looking 75-year-old person? If a person is frail or infirm, then say the person is “medically frail.” “Elderly” is not a synonym for older. And “aging” is a word that applies to every living entity from day one. A newborn begins “aging” as soon as it enters the world, so please quit using it to mean an older person. It is an ugly word, more suited to a piece of old cheese turning green in the back of the fridge. The correct term for this demographic is “older adult.” Or better yet, just give their age (if it is relevant) and leave off the labels, just as you would not use labels for race, color, sexual orientation, etc., that carry negative connotations. -- Oregon Reader
Dear Oregon Reader: I try to be mindful of such things, but sometimes I slip up. Thank you for the reminder. Language matters.