Five months ago, I came home unexpectedly and found my husband of 11 years in bed with another woman. Until that day, I believed we were happy. He says it’s never happened before and won’t ever happen again. We have a 9-year-old son, so I’d like to make our life work, but I can’t get beyond my hurt and rage. We tried couples therapy, but it did nothing. How do I stop reliving this thing every time I close my eyes?
—Jessie, Georgia

Oh honey,
If I could, I’d get out a good sipping tequila, throw a ratty old quilt over us, and watch Dance Moms with you.

The first thing to know is that there’s no statute of limitations on pain: It’s okay not to be okay right now. Your husband crushed your heart and betrayed your trust. But I promise the day will come when his stupid little fling no longer has the power to hold your soul hostage.

Now let’s cut to the chase. Assuming it never happened before, why did it happen now, and what’s to keep it from happening again? If the two of you can’t answer this, then you’re long overdue for some honest conversation. Though your first attempt wasn’t helpful, I’d urge you to find another marriage counselor. The right therapist not only helps you see your partner’s point of view, but also teaches you to communicate without lobbing a heavy object at his big fat cheating head.

If you give counseling a fair shake and still feel the relationship is absolutely beyond repair, remember the number one rule for ending a marriage: First do no harm. Speak well of each other, attend school functions together, be the parents your son needs you to be. If that sounds impossible, that’s because it is. Do it anyway.

After his first month of college, my 18-year-old son came home and told us he’s gay. My husband’s okay, but I’m in shock. What now?
—Margaret, Boston

Margaret, my dear,
What now? Now be proud that you’ve raised someone who actually wants you to know who he is. My friend Eva’s son came home with 13 pounds of dirty laundry and a face tattoo; he grunts once for Frosted Flakes, twice for car keys. Next, give yourself a break. Your son is not going to have the life you imagined for him; it might take a minute to let go of your dream and adjust to his reality. Explain that this is a lot to absorb, but you realize that for him to be happy—which is what you want—he has to be able to love whomever he chooses. Remember that he’s still the same person he was the day before he shared his sexual orientation with you. If need be, find a support group and attend enough meetings to understand that everything is actually fine. Above all, make him promise never to get a face tattoo.

Agatha is a good friend and a marvelous cook, but whenever I attempt one of the recipes I’ve asked her for, the result is never like hers. I suspect she’s deliberately leaving out ingredients. How do I tactfully confront her?
—Rene, New Mexico

Sure, you can confront her, but I don’t see “tact” as a viable option. I mean, what do you say? “You know, Aggie, I somehow assumed banana cream pie would be made with at least one banana....”

Perhaps your friend believes cooking is the thing she does really well, and she’s not secure enough to share her only claim to fame. Perhaps she’s going through a bad bout of something and just can’t bear to see you add a perfect lamb vindaloo to your list of achievements. Perhaps she’s a little bit nuts. You’ve got two choices: If Agatha has been a good friend in all other respects, and if you “suspect” but aren’t completely certain that she’s consciously monkeying with ingredients, you might want to try accepting her flaws in the same way you embrace her goodness and go recipe hunting elsewhere. Which brings us to plan B: You must find a way to befriend Ina Garten. I’ve never met the woman, but in my heart I know there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for you.


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