Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World

DEAR AMY: I have been married for almost 40 years. My wife and I have three grown children. There is nothing left in the marriage, except for my kids and grandchildren.

The only reason I am still in the marriage is because of them.

I caught my wife cheating on me a couple of times, and after that I decided to do my own thing, but keep the family together.

I met a beautiful woman on a dating site and we fell in love.

My problem is that I have lied to her about my age. I told her I am 50 (I am 60, and she is 42). I’ve also lied about my marital status. It was only supposed to be for some fun at the beginning, which is why I thought the lies would not matter.

When we met, she said she didn’t want to go out with a married man, so I lied about it.

I think the only thing to do is break it off with her, which will leave a big hole in my heart when she is gone.

— Torn

Dear Torn: You present your lies as a matter of circumstance, almost as if you have been forced to fabricate everything about yourself by outside forces, but all of your lies represent individual choices you have made.

I fail to see how the way you are living your life honors the thing you claim to want to protect, which is your family.

I am sorry that you will have a hole in your heart when you break off your adulterous relationship, but I believe this hole is already there, and has been for a long time. You are attempting to fill this void in your life with a series of fabrications. Very little in your life seems “real” or authentic.

The way out is to start to deal with what is real. You could start with your marriage. Either you should end it or commit to it. A therapist could help guide you through your many choices, but nothing in your life will change until you change.

Dear Amy: My boyfriend lives internationally, and I am willing, able, and excited to move to another country to be with him in six months. However, my mother, who is unaware of these plans, is constantly making manipulative comments about my potential move so far away from her.{/span}

I already live on my own in a different state than her. She’s always had issues with boundaries and control, so I typically just give a vague answer and change the topic.

The last time we talked, she directly asked me if I’m planning on moving to be with him. She said he could be the best guy in the world and it would still be a mistake. I responded that she was getting ahead of herself and wasn’t putting my happiness first. My mother said that, of course, she wasn’t putting my happiness first, and that I would regret leaving when I got older!

Her comments have had no effect on my decision, but I am wondering how to field her comments over these next six months and, eventually, tell her that I am moving. I’d like to make this process as painless (for me) as possible, as it is actually a decision I am quite excited about!

— Moving Far Away From Mom

Dear Moving: I hope you are doing your homework in terms of moving internationally. You should make sure that any legal or visa issues are understood and dealt with before you go. It could be challenging for you to find work, for instance, unless you work for a company that would provide a work visa for you.{/span}

Continuing to dodge this question with your mother might not be the best course. She already suspects you are moving, and she will likely continue to needle you about it until you leave. Carry on with your plans, and with your good boundary regarding your mother’s opinion, but it might be best to tell her now.

Dear Amy: I felt sorry for the woman who signed her letter “Not a Sister.” She seemed to resent her friends for harboring sisterly affection to her.{/span}

She is so lucky! My friends are indeed like sisters to me, and fortunately, they seem to embrace this.

— Sister-friend

Dear Sister-friend: Many of us feel special kinship toward our closest friends, who hold the advantage of not having had to grow up with us.

Contact Amy Dickinson at: askamy@amydickinson.com