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Dear Annie: Husband wants to reconcile

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been having a rough time. He cheated on me with a young woman and got her pregnant. I think this was her goal, secretly. She knew he had a wife and wanted him to leave me.

Anyway, the baby will be 1 soon, and now that my husband is seeking reconciliation, I feel stuck in the middle. I’ve already been through my hurt stage and would hate to go through it again. What should I do? — Betrayed

Dear Betrayed: What you want to do. Whether you decide to stay or go, you’ll have made a valid choice.

I will say, infidelity does not have to be the end. Many couples have worked past betrayals and come out the other side stronger than ever, with the help of couples’ counseling. If you and your husband enroll in marriage counseling, this could be the case for you. But if you are past that point, mentally, I wouldn’t blame you for leaving. Trite but true, listen to your heart.

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Dear Annie: I am blessed to not have real problems like so many endure, but I would appreciate your opinion on a predicament.

I am a healthy 90-year-old man. I have outlived two wonderful wives. My first love and I were together for only eight short years. She came down with acute leukemia. During the five months that she suffered with it, one day she told me, “Dear, you will have to get the kids a new mother.” We had a 3-year-old son and a little girl that was only a year old when her mother died in early December.

I was devastated. But then a concerned neighbor friend asked me one day, about two months later, if I would like to meet a nice girl. I said that I wasn’t ready quite yet. After a while, I called her. The most difficult trip I ever made was driving down to meet her. It turned out to be the best trip I ever made. We married about 10 months later. Losing my first wife made me appreciate my second wife all the more.

Fifty-one years later, my second wife had a light stroke which brought on the beginnings of dementia. Of course, it progressed. Four years later, it took her life. We had 55 years of bliss together.

I have been alone now for three and a half years, with the support and love of my children. Five months ago, a very dear friend lost her husband of 63 years, and I’m interested in seeing if there might be something between us. I am not happy living alone. I have the feeling that I could be a great support for her. She lives alone now, too, and I want to help her.

I need to give this special lady more time to grieve over her loss. Presently, she wants to go on as she is, us just being friends. My daughter told me to not push her too hard. And I agree. But she is the only woman I am interested in. What is your advice to me? — CW

Dear CW: I’m sorry for your losses. I think it’s wonderful that you enjoy companionship so much. As the song goes, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” But your daughter is right that you should give your lady friend space to grieve. And in the meantime, I would encourage you to learn how to enjoy the pleasure of your own company. Try a new hobby, enroll in an online course, write your memoirs. Take some time to really nourish your own sense of self. Then you’ll be even more present if and when you do get into another relationship.

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