Abby: Wife blindsided by news of husband’s past romance

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband, “Bill,” and I have been happily married for 22 years and have two very active, beautiful children. Our oldest daughter has been playing on a traveling soccer team for the last five years. Bill and I go all over the country to watch her play and have become very close to the head coach, “Marla,” and her family.

I recently learned through another parent that Bill dated Marla for three years prior to us getting married. This parent informed me the relationship between Bill and Marla was so serious they had discussed marriage.

When I heard it, I was very upset. I couldn’t understand why my husband would keep that information from me all this time. When I asked him, he said it was true, but he hadn’t felt it had been necessary to tell me.

Bill hasn’t always been the greatest communicator, but I think this has crossed the line. I feel I have been misled and lied to. He acted as if he had never even met her. It makes me wonder how many other secrets he’s hiding from me.

I’m having a hard time trusting him now, and I feel there’s something seriously wrong with our relationship. I’m also uncomfortable around Marla and her family. I wonder if her husband knows about their relationship. Do I have the right to be upset about this situation?

Kept In The Dark

Dear Kept: You have the right to be upset — and angry — about the deception. If you want to know if Marla’s husband knows what went on between her and your husband, ask her. Perhaps she can fill you in on what else your husband “forgot” to mention.

Bill appears to have a large character flaw, and the two of you appear to have a serious communication problem. Before this damages your marriage further, you and Bill should schedule some sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he stonewalls or refuses to go with you, go without him.

Dear Abby: My aunt and uncle from another state still send me a birthday check every year for my birthday, which is generous and thoughtful of them. While the sum is not large, I feel it is not necessary, and it makes me uncomfortable. I’m in my late 20s now and have a good job with a good income.

How do I politely tell them that while I appreciate their kindness, it is not necessary to send their adult niece a check every year? I’m not particularly close with them and am afraid of offending.

Uncomfortable in Michigan

Dear Uncomfortable: From your description of your aunt and uncle, they are thoughtful, caring people, so when you talk to them, express your gratitude for their generosity. Then suggest that because you are now an adult, with a good job and a good income, you think it might be time to consider exchanging only greeting cards on special occasions. Of course, this means you will be sending them cards for their birthdays, anniversary and Christmas, if you don’t already do it.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.