Dear Ann: I have been married to "Ralph" for 26 years. Three months ago, I discovered he had an affair with a woman in our social circle. He says it's over, but nonetheless, I was crushed by his infidelity. I went to counseling, joined a support group and read several books on how to rebuild a marriage. I learned a lot and am taking steps to put things right. Ralph wants to work things out, too, or so he says.
Now Ralph claims he never had sex with the woman. He says all they did was talk. I do not believe him for one second. His stories about the affair change every time I ask him about it. While I don't want to hear the details, it is important that I know all about it so I can trust him again. I can't do this if he isn't honest with me.
Am I wrong to want the whole story? Please help me think straight. Want to Believe Him in Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: You already know "the whole story." Trying to beat a confession out of Ralph will only result in more denials.
Would your life be better without Ralph? If you believe it would, dump him. But 26 years of marriage is a big chunk of living. Do what is best for you. I vote for giving Ralph one more chance.
Dear Ann: Not long ago, you printed a letter from someone who said animals do not physically discipline their young. I've seen proof that they DO.
I remember visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo 20 years ago. At the time, the star of the ape house was a young gorilla, perhaps a year old, and a source of amusement to all the spectators. While I watched, he was up to all kinds of tricks, swinging on a rope closer and closer to an old female and snatching her banana. She chased him all around the cage. It was a sight to behold.
He then turned his attention to his father and began kicking him in the shins, pulling his ears and yanking on his head. The huge male gorilla sat passively and took the blows until his patience finally ran out. He then grabbed the little hell-raiser by the arm and snapped him like a rag, with such force that the young gorilla staggered around the cage in a daze. The father then reached out and gently patted his son on the head and drew him close. The two snuggled together peacefully.
It was obvious that the father used physical force only when he lost his temper and could no longer tolerate his son's abuse. He immediately comforted his baby afterwards. This sounds like good parenting to me. Not So Superior Human
Dear Not So Superior: What a fascinating observation. The question human parents must resolve is, how much leeway will they give before they lower the boom on children who push them to the edge? Every parent has his or her level of tolerance. However, lowering the boom does not have to mean physical violence. There are better ways to get the point across.
Dear Ann: This is for "Irritated in Illinois," who said a passenger in her carpool has a habit of humming, singing and whistling along with the tunes on the radio, and it drove her crazy.
As a carpooler myself, I know where she's coming from. I have endured loud cell phone conversations, people who read their newspaper out loud, and drivers who like to listen to vulgar radio hosts. My solution was a set of headphones. I listen to music that relaxes me and ignore everything else. Please pass this along. At Peace in Woodbridge, Va.
Dear Woodbridge: A perfect solution! Consider it passed.