DEAR AMY: I've been married to my wife for nearly 30 years; we've had our share of the usual problems.
I believe she had an affair with a friend of ours about 15 years ago. I've asked her about it a couple of times and she has denied it, but I have this feeling that she isn't being truthful.
I can't seem to let it go, and I continually think about it. There is a company near here that does a polygraph test to prove infidelity. Do you think I should ask her to take the test to prove her innocence and help me to overcome my doubts?
I don't know how else to stop thinking about it. Throughout our marriage I have always been faithful, and to think of her having an affair with a "friend" and lying to me about it really bothers me. Thanks for whatever advice you may offer. — Conflicted
DEAR CONFLICTED: You say this polygraph test is given to prove infidelity, and yet you also say that you want your wife to submit to it to prove her innocence. I get the distinct feeling that you would feel more relief if the test proved your wife's guilt because then it would confirm this nagging feeling you have harbored for half of your married life.
Before pressuring your wife to strap on the electrodes, you really must talk about it (preferably with a marriage counselor). Among questions you should try to answer in advance are: If this test shows her innocence, will you fully accept this result, or will you think the test is flawed? If your wife is shown innocent, how will the humiliation of having to prove it impact her feelings toward you and about your marriage? If the test result indicates guilt, what happens next?
DEAR AMY: We have friends who like to bring their dog everywhere with them, including places the dog has not been invited. Their method is to call when they're almost at their destination and ask the host, "Oh, we have 'Rex' with us, is that OK?"
Amy, I love dogs as much as the next person (and I do have dogs, by the way), but I think this is rude. These friends think nothing of bringing the dog to a party at someone else's house, without even checking to see whether someone there is allergic to dogs, afraid of dogs, etc.
From talking to friends, I find this is by no means an isolated problem. Many people seem to have at least one friend who thinks nothing of showing up with a dog in tow. We're not talking about assistance dogs — we're talking about plain old pets.
Any advice for how to head this off at the pass? — Dogged Out
DEAR DOGGED: If these friends call you from their car as they pull into your driveway and say, "We have Rex with us, is that OK?" you need only say, "Oh, that's not going to work for us tonight. I'm so sorry."
You do not supply any excuses, rationale, solutions, etc. You simply answer their query and then endure some empty space while they figure out what to do. If they offer a quick solution that works for you, then great.
Also, you should probably not refer to pets as "plain old pets." As with children who are not necessarily welcome at every adult gathering, so pets must sometimes be left at home. But a beloved animal never seems like a "plain old pet" to the human who loves it.
DEAR AMY: "Broken-hearted Father wrote about his grad-school daughter who was depressed after a breakup. I don't always agree with your responses, but I did this time.
Years ago I was also a grad student, depressed over the breakup of my first serious relationship. My father and mother were very compassionate and patient with me, and I slowly recovered (with their help and support). — Happy Now
DEAR HAPPY: I thought this particular daughter was lucky to have such a compassionate and loving dad in her corner.