DEAR AMY: Recently, my husband went out of town with an ex-girlfriend. I refused to go with him. His relationship with her has caused many problems in our marriage.
After returning from the trip, he said he couldn’t remember anything from the last few weeks of his life, although he does seem to recall some details about his weekend away. For instance, he claims he did not share a bed with her. He also says they have not communicated since the weekend.
This is confusing. I received an e-mail from this woman telling me things they have talked about, but if he had not had further contact with her, how would she know what was going on in our lives after this weekend occurred?
A therapist said he has anxiety-related amnesia. I love my husband and I am willing to do what it takes to get past all of this, but he continues to be in denial about what happened.
Wouldn’t it be better for him to be honest? I’m sure it would help him feel better about himself, and then we could salvage a future from this entire mess. -- At a Loss for Words
DEAR AT A LOSS: People sometimes ask me if I invent the letters sent in to me. My answer is always the same: I lack that kind of imagination. Of course, you could have invented this story, but, well, what can I say? Like you, I sometimes choose to believe the implausible.
On to your question. I don’t want to undermine your husband’s therapist’s diagnosis, but I’m going to take my own amateur, third-party stab at what’s going on with him. His anxiety-related amnesia was triggered by the fact that he went off for the weekend with his ex. This is also known as: Cheating, lying about it and then conveniently developing amnesia.
You may continue to buy his story — because you want to. But if I were you, I would tell this man, “Your amnesia seems to be contagious, because now I’m forgetting we were ever married.”
DEAR AMY: I’m at a loss for what to say to my co-worker, who isn’t good at sharing. I buy candy and keep it in a dish at my desk. I purchase candy every couple of weeks out of my own pocket. It adds up. But I find that in our particularly stressful work environment, a little treat goes a long way.
The candy is available to everyone on our floor, and I am more than happy to share. In fact, I would like to get the chance to share!
How do I politely ask the woman whose cubicle is next to mine to please not take all of the candies immediately after I refill the dish, so that others may have it available to them as well?
It seems so silly, but this was never an issue before she started working here. We are both adults, but it seems one of us doesn’t understand how to share. It makes me feel like I can’t keep the dish out any longer, and my co-workers are noticing that the candy supply has dwindled. -- Frustrated in Candyland
DEAR FRUSTRATED: This seems silly, but it’s not. Like many workplace issues, this is really about limits and boundaries and the challenges of calling out someone on her behavior (who you spend hours a day in proximity to) without alienating her.
Throw yourself on the mercy of the situation: “I know this sounds silly, but could you take less candy after I fill the bowl? Having it here gives people a good excuse to take a little break, and I’m going through it too quickly.”
Your co-worker may be struggling to resist this temptation. Moving the bowl even slightly closer to you might make a difference.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the mother whose grown daughter overused the word “like.” I experienced this a lot when my kids were younger. Every time they said “like” as a filler word, I would snap my fingers. They are all adults now, but, as I recall, this took less than a week to break the habit. -- Nancy
DEAR NANCY: I wonder if this is how Pavlov got started. Well done!