Ask Amy

Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: Recently I reconnected with a woman I knew more than 25 years ago. We e-mailed, texted and spoke by phone.

A few months ago, I was in her hometown and she came to my hotel. We had a few drinks and spent the night together. We continued our conversations, and recently I was at a convention where she also was and we spent the week together.

We virtually skipped the convention and just enjoyed each other's company.

More recently, I was back in her town and we spent another few days together.

We share details with each other that we don't share with our spouses. We talk about everything, share everything and have started talking about a new life together.

This would entail us both leaving our spouses.

We talk every day, and know the pain this may cause, but we truly are in love and want to be with each other.

We've made the decision that we will be together, but the question is when?

We both have high school-age children.

Do I just tell my wife I am leaving her? Should I wait for a job in the new city first?

I am conflicted about the how/when/where.

— No Tiger

DEAR TIGER: It seems you are asking for guidance on how to leave your family.

Sorry, no can do.

I've managed to stay sentimental enough about marriage that I would urge you to try to stay with — rather than flee from — your family.

It is obvious that you are entranced by this new relationship. I also appreciate that you haven't spent any column space trashing your wife to justify your actions, though I suspect that this is more a reflection of the fact that she no longer seems to exist rather than that you are a gentleman.

All I can say is that there is no easy way to dump your family — certainly if in the course of leaving them you intend to also leave town.

When faced with such a monumental life choice, it is helpful to sit down with a counselor to discuss your intentions. Try this first.


DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of almost a year has ongoing friendships with three ex-girlfriends and an ex-wife (they did not have kids).

One of the ex-girlfriends recently spent time with him and his mom while she was visiting our town.

He says he wants to get married to me, but I haven't even met his mother yet!

He continues to be in touch with a passel of exes and confides in them about our relationship.

He finds nothing wrong with all of this, and I'm trying to be open-minded, but it doesn't sit well with me.

I recently asked six women at work what they thought, and every single one of them said this is not good.

He does not seem to have a clue what does and doesn't fly in a real relationship. He's 52, so it's not as if he's a kid.

What do you think?

— Confused

DEAR CONFUSED: You can stop polling people now. The score is 7-zip.

Either this guy doesn't know how to be in an exclusive relationship, or he doesn't know how to be in an exclusive relationship with you.

Either way, this bothers you, and he will have to either include you in these other friendships or justify his behavior enough for you to be comfortable with it. If he is in love with you, your comfort will be paramount to him.

You might start your frank conversation by asking how he would feel if you took an ex to meet your parents rather than take him.


DEAR AMY: Regarding the question of whether to notify someone when she was trailing a long strand of toilet paper through a restaurant, my parents taught me the following: If you can fix it or remedy it, disclose it. If you can't easily fix it or remedy it, don't say anything.

Food in teeth, toilet paper on shoe, unzipped clothing, fuzz on clothing, etc. — tell the person about it so that he or she can fix it.

A run in nylons, stain on clothing or a hole in clothing — don't mention it.

There are exceptions to every rule, but this one is pretty easy!

— Old School

DEAR OLD SCHOOL: Your parents were very wise. I'll follow their advice.

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Filed under: Lifestyles