Dear Amy:

I'm a 24-year-old married woman. My husband and I have been married for two years and dated for two years before that.

In the past year my husband cheated on me with two women, so I left him. After a month he convinced me of how much he wanted me to come back.

Only two months after returning to him, he went back to having a thing with a woman behind my back.

It has been six months since that happened. I'm still with him and we haven't had any women problems since.

I love my husband dearly and I know that he loves me in his own way, but I haven't been able to forgive or forget completely.

Even though he is behaving well, I can't seem to trust him when he's on the phone or when he goes out. We've had fights because of this and he thinks that there is no hope for us. I'd like to go to therapy to try to work things out. If it doesn't help, then I will agree with him that we should break up.

What can I do to get him to give therapy a chance?

Can't Trust Love

I'm with your husband. There is no hope for your marriage, mainly because he has no intention of being in it.

There isn't much you can do to compel your husband to go into therapy, because he has no motivation to change. People usually try therapy when they want to understand or change their behavior. Your husband's behavior works just fine for him, because he gets to be married when he feels like it and cheat when he feels like it, and then when you want to repair the relationship, he'll just leave it altogether.

At some point, tolerating this becomes more your problem than his.

Get yourself into therapy. You need to work on understanding and then changing your own behavior. Three strikes and he should be out.

Dear Amy:

I am an elderly widow with several much-younger friends who insist on having me to their homes for dinner or taking me out to eat.

When I go to their homes, I usually take wine and candy. I am no longer able to cook and entertain in my home and neither am I financially able to treat them in a restaurant, but I do that at times, which is a strain on my budget.

When they entertain me, I am the only one, but when I take them out, there are two people and they both drink several glasses of wine with dinner.

What is a gracious answer to this problem?

Alice

You sound a little put upon that these young friends think enough of you to invite you to join them for dinner. I suspect that a lifetime of being polite hasn't prepared you to accept these social gestures for what they are -- invitations without strings.

Elderly widows with limited incomes, who are unable to entertain guests in their home, are exempt from the entertainment reciprocation rule.

I hope that you realize you have earned all of your dinners. Your only job with your young friends is to be good company while you are with them -- and a grateful guest afterward.

Bring a bottle of wine or some flowers from your garden if you can, and send your young friends a nice note afterward. Relax and enjoy yourself!

Dear Amy:

I would like to reply to a recent letter from "Tormented in Vancouver," who was estranged from his family and didn't know what to do.

I would urge him to please go home to his family. It can never be too late.

We are in the same position as this family now and can't bear to wait another year to hug our daughter again.

I hope this man chooses to follow your advice and write to his father. Then get on the next plane.

Loving Family in Maryland

I'm with you. Family estrangements are so painful but can be fixed with some courageous behavior on both sides. I hope that your family can mend its own rift.

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