KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Marriage seems to have changed their friendship
Dear Annie: Three years ago, my best friend, "John," married "Diane." We all got along well and seemed to have an excellent relationship.
In the last few weeks, I've discovered that Diane has been talking about me to others. She claims that I spend too much time with her husband, although I don't know why. We play on the same soccer team, but other than that, we don't see each other much. Diane also has told people some rather personal things about me that I told John in confidence. Now I no longer can trust him to keep a secret.
I haven't said anything about this to John because I'd like to maintain our friendship, but I don't know how to handle Diane's blabbering. Must I end the relationship to protect myself? Need Privacy in Michigan
Dear Michigan: You don't need to end things, but you must be more circumspect around John. Most married couples share confidences, so assume that whatever you tell John will be repeated to Diane. Since Diane has a big mouth, it would be wise not to divulge any major secrets. Also, some wives become overly possessive of their husbands and resent the time Hubby spends with old friends. If this describes Diane, it will be up to John to maintain the friendship, and you'll have to take your cues from him.
Dear Annie: My husband and I recently purchased some artwork for our professional offices. Our receptionist now tells us that she objects to the pieces on religious grounds. These are fine works of art, not religious statements. They depict classical Mayan themes and include nothing sexual or profane. Does she have the right to make us remove them? Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dear Michigan: She has the right to sue you for creating a hostile work environment, and whether she wins or loses her case, you must ask yourself if it's worth the cost of a legal fight. Can you discuss her objections calmly? If she truly is upset at having to look at these pieces, you ought to place them elsewhere.
Dear Annie: You ran a survey about cheating spouses and printed several letters from the "poor victims." When I read the one from the woman who wished her ex-husband would burn in hell for all eternity, I realized there are a lot of people like my ex-wife.
My wife was verbally abusive. When she didn't get her way, she'd call me names and put me down in front of her friends. When I asked her to go with me for counseling, she lied and told the counselor I beat her. One night, I walked out of the house, looking for someone to talk to. One thing led to another, and I ended up in an affair that lasted three months. I was euphoric to find someone who was kind to me.
I now am married to a wonderful person who talks to me, listens, laughs and shares my dreams. I am truly happy and have no desire to be with anyone else. When a spouse cheats, it's because he or she is unhappy at home. Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: After we printed the results of our survey, we heard from hundreds of readers, and many agreed with you, although most just wanted to vent about their cheating exes. We also received a letter from a man who pointed out that many sexually abused children grow up to become promiscuous, and they need therapy to understand and overcome their compulsion to cheat.
Here is what our survey taught us: There is no single reason why a spouse cheats, and each person must deal with the situation in whatever way will bring a result he or she can live with. One size definitely does not fit all.
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