Dear Abby: My wife of 45 years is having an online affair with a man who is a former business client. I found out when she inadvertently left an email message open on her laptop. Her phone records confirm daily long-distance conversations, as well. Although I know they have never met personally, they plan to meet during a weekend convention at a hotel in his hometown next month.
Despite problems in our marriage, neither of us has strayed, and I'm confident she doesn't want to lose me nor do I want to lose her. My dilemma is whether to tell her I know what's going on prior to her trip, or confront her when she returns with pictures taken by a private investigator. I can't let her betrayal continue. – Conflicted in the South
Dear Conflicted: Tell her sooner rather than later, so she can cancel her trip to the convention. If she's willing to do that and work on repairing your marriage, there is a chance that your problems are fixable. If she isn't, then face it – your stressed marriage is over. Photos from a private investigator are beside the point. The email you read is proof enough.
Dear Abby: Recently, my friend went to a wake and told me the person in the casket was holding a fork. My friend told me there is a story behind this custom. Can you tell me what it is? – Daily Reader in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear Daily Reader: The story, titled "Keep Your Fork," has been widely shared on the Internet. It appeared in "A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul" and was authored by Roger William Thomas.
It concerns a young woman who had been given only a short time to live, and who instructed her pastor that she would like to be buried with a fork in her right hand. She went on to say, "In all my years of attending church potluck dinners, when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would say, 'Keep your fork.'"
She said the main course was her favorite part of the meal because she knew "something better was coming ... something wonderful, and with substance." What she wanted was to convey to her loved ones at her funeral her belief that something better was to come.
Dear Abby: I have reconnected with my high school sweetheart. We plan to be married late this summer. My problem is she wants to keep her ex-husband's name as her middle name for the sake of her kids.
I feel she shouldn't have another man's name if she's married to someone else. I have explained that it upsets me, but she doesn't care. What are your thoughts? – Traditional Man
Dear Traditional: I think her reason for wanting to retain her married name (and probably hyphenate it with yours) is a valid one. It will prevent confusion for her children at school.
However, one line in your letter concerns me. It's the one in which you say it upsets you, "but she doesn't care." If she didn't care about you, she wouldn't be marrying you. But her children MUST come first, and unless you can accept that fact, you shouldn't marry her.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.