Dear Amy:

A few months ago my husband moved out of state to take a new job. My kids and I stayed behind with a plan in place to join him at the end of the summer.

After he left, I found out he has been cheating on me. Through heavy discussion, I came to the conclusion that I was willing to try to forgive him and work to keep our marriage together. I asked him to come back home so that we could rebuild our marriage. He insists that he cannot leave his job and come back here. He believes that I am asking him to leave his career.

Because of my insecurities within the marriage, I am afraid to leave my support group (my family) and relocate. I also feel that if he were truly sorry, he would come back here for me. I feel that if he were serious about being serious in our marriage, he would do whatever it takes to keep it together.

His rejection makes me feel less worthy and makes me wonder how strong his love really is for me. I have all but gotten down on my knees and begged him to come home, but he still refuses. He insists that the best decision is for me to move where he is. Am I out of line to ask him to move back home?


I know that this is about your marriage, but I'm wondering about your children. Figuring out what is best for them should give you some clarity about what you should do as a family.

Moving to a new home when your marriage is so shaky would place your children in a tenuous position, but having two parents who can't even figure out whether to live together isn't good for them, either.

My reading of this is that your husband has basically left you and has thrown down the gauntlet. He says that if you want to be in the marriage, you have to uproot your family, which he suspects you won't do. If you refuse to move, then he can tell himself that he isn't responsible for the failure of the marriage and that it is your fault. This is a coward's way out.

If you want to stay in this marriage, you shouldn't make a drastic move until you find a marriage counselor who can work with the two of you to help you through this. A counselor in your area could meet with you alone and then schedule a session with both of you when your husband comes home for a visit, which he absolutely must do -- in order to beg for your forgiveness.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for almost six years. We lived together for three years before that. I kept my own name when we got married.

My sister-in-law still addresses mail to "Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Family." I have asked her more than once if she is aware of my name being different from my husband's, and she is. One time when I inquired about her apparent oversight, she said something to the effect of it being too much trouble to write my name too.

I don't think it's too much to ask that if she wants the letter to include me, she should use my last name.

What can I say to her to let her know that I feel very strongly about this? She can be very overbearing and unbending. I really don't want a confrontation over this, but I would like to let her know that I think she is being inconsiderate.

Keeping My Name

You've already let your sister-in-law know that you don't share your husband's last name. She continues to disregard your wishes to be recognized individually. Poor thing. She is either lazy or not too bright.

It might help, however, if you realized that you are, in fact, "Mrs. Brown." That is, you are the wife of Mr. Brown. Even though your surname isn't "Brown," you can accurately be described as Mr. Brown's wife.

I'm not suggesting that your sister-in-law is right, mind you, but because you've already told her your name, then you can either have a showdown or ignore her rudeness, which I think you should do.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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