Ask Amy: Engagement doesn’t ease infidelity fears

Dear Amy: I am engaged to marry a wonderful man who treats me like a queen. I do not have any evidence of infidelity, but he is a naturally private person, and I harbor fear that he may have another woman on the side — not so much sexually as emotionally.

He was communicating with other women on an intimate level during the start of our relationship, without my knowledge, and that experience has left me uncertain of his commitment to me.

I have asked him if I am the only one, and he swears that I am, but I cannot shake the feeling that there is something that he isn’t telling me.

He is extremely clever, and I am incredibly trusting, so I’m left with lingering doubt.

How can I move past what I consider irrational insecurity before my fear predicts my future?

— Fear of Infidelity

Dear Fear of Infidelity: My first suggestion is that if you are unsure of your guy’s commitment to you, then you should not be engaged to him. Ideally, your public (and private) promise to marry means that you are moving forward with your trust in one another and fidelity already secured.

You obviously need more time to sort out your fears.

You make an excellent point that “irrational insecurity” could actually inspire the situation you are most worried about. Responding to a partner’s constant suspicion or trying to boost them from truly irrational insecurity is exhausting and depleting.

However … your own instincts are your best tool for determining the course of your own life. Never ignore them. You believe there is something he isn’t telling you? There is a high likelihood that you are right.

Have you demonstrated a tolerance for hearing the truth and responding calmly and rationally, or does your partner believe that the truth will break you? This is something to consider.

Your relationship started off on a challenging note. Do not submerge your own instincts in order to continue.

Your loving fiancé may have to lift the veil of his well-tended privacy to reassure you.

Dear Amy: I am a 72-year-old man in excellent physical condition.

I work more than full time as a “house call” veterinarian and absolutely love what I do.

I also love hiking, camping, traveling, and sharing a good movie with a partner.

Unfortunately, my amazing wife of 27 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about four years ago. She has been living in a memory-care unit at a very good facility for the last 18 months.

She feels productive there, stays busy, and neither of us regrets this decision.

I visit her a few times a week, but she remembers me as a good friend, and not her spouse.

I’d love to stop working and begin to enjoy life but when I mention my “wife,” prospective partners don’t think it appropriate to seek anything more than a friendship.

At this stage of my life, I don’t need another friend. I need a partner.



Dear DVM: I’m sorry you and your wife are going through this.

It interests me that you describe your wife as knowing you now only as a good friend, which illustrates the point that friendships can outlast partnerships.

I’d like to nitpick: You don’t “need” a partner. You “want” a partner. That desire is understandable, but if you are meeting women and approaching them as potential partners and they are offering friendship instead, then I suggest that you respect their boundaries and accept this offer.

All of the things you love to do: Hiking, camping, traveling, and movies — can be enjoyed with a friend.

Dear Amy: I read with interest the letter from “Confused and Concerned,” whose husband forced an unwanted sex act on her when they had both been sleeping in bed.

Thank you for your response. I believe that almost certainly the husband has a sleep disorder. However, your advice that he reveal this to his wife presumes that he knows he has a disorder.

There is an excellent article in this month’s Scientific American that describes RBD, a sleep disorder in which the sufferer actually acts out, in real time, portions of a dream.

These actions are often violent and the sufferer may have no memory of this later. Unfortunately, RBD often foreshadows the onset of Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative conditions. The husband should seek a medical diagnosis.

— A Fan

Dear Fan: Thank you. Because this behavior was completely out of the norm, I agree that he should be evaluated for a sleep disorder.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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