Husband who kisses, tells gets cold shoulder

Dear Abby: My husband, "Derek," confessed to me that while he was out with friends on a work-related trip, he drank too much and danced with and kissed another woman. He didn't tell me right away. He planned to tell me sometime in the future, but his conscience bothered him, so he told me five days later.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. We have a small child. Derek is a good man, but he has violated my trust. I can't forget and I don't know if I can forgive. We've had our ups and downs, and the past year has been particularly stressful.

When he returned from the trip, he was the perfect husband — loving, attentive, devoted — exactly what I had been missing. To find out that what was behind this change in his behavior was guilt is devastating. I'm not sure I want to be with him anymore. Am I overreacting? —THROWN IN MARYLAND

Dear Thrown: Yes — but that doesn't mean you should ignore what happened. Before you throw away what could be a perfectly good marriage, it's important you and Derek work through what caused those "ups and downs" that led to what was missing in your relationship. A marriage counselor could be very helpful right now. If Derek didn't love you and want to make things right, he wouldn't have told you about what he did. For that, I respect him, and so should you.

Dear Abby: My husband and I are recently retired. We've happily settled into a morning routine of breakfast, reading the paper and exercising. Some days we don't bother to shower and dress until late morning.

A friend, "Herb," who is also retired, frequently drops by unannounced between 8 a.m. and noon. You'd think that after catching me still in my robe and my husband in sweaty workout clothes, Herb would get the message that it's not convenient to visit, but he continues. I see no way of stopping this short of being blunt, but I don't want to hurt his feelings. We see him and his wife at many social events.

My question is, what's the etiquette regarding calling ahead to let someone know you would like to stop by? Maybe if you answer this in the newspaper, Herb will see it and recognize himself. We need help! —FRUSTRATED IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Dear Frustrated: And what if Herb doesn't see the column today? It has been known to happen with even the most devoted readers. There is nothing hurtful or rude about telling someone who drops by when you're not presentable that you're embarrassed to be "caught" that way, and to please call before coming over to ask if it's convenient. If necessary, say YOU read it in my column.