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home : columns : dr. k June 28, 2016

3/14/2014 2:30:00 PM
Business card in man's pocket worries wife

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was doing the laundry the other day and found a business card with a woman's personal cellphone number in my husband's pants pocket. I know that it could be completely innocent, but he wore those pants on a night when he stayed out exceptionally late. When I asked him where he had been, he sort of brushed me off. He smelled like he had been drinking, which is not the norm for him. I don't want it to be true that he is having an affair or even thinking about it, but it really troubled me. I know I could be overthinking this. What should I say to find out the truth? -- Possibly Betrayed, Detroit

DEAR POSSIBLY BETRAYED: Rather than letting your mind get the best of you, talk to your husband. Pick a time when he is fully awake, sober and free of distractions. Express your concern about his behavior on that ill-fated day when he came home intoxicated. Tell him you found the business card in his pocket and it sounded an internal alarm for you. Ask him what is going on. Be direct. Ask him who the woman is on the card. If you actually do suspect that he had an affair or is considering it, tell him of your suspicions and ask him to think about your marriage before crossing that line.

Will he answer you honestly? That is hard to say. Watch his body language to see what his being is telling you. Ask him if he is committed to your marriage. If so, choose to figure out things you can do together that can strengthen your bond.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I are separating after 14 years of marriage. We have two sons, and they are having a terrible time dealing with it. My husband has said some horrible things about me to them, and I fear that he is teaching them bad ways to treat woman. I know I don't have any control over what he says or does, but I am distraught by it all. It's bad enough that he is dumping me for another woman. Why does he have to bad-mouth me, too? What can I do to help my boys learn how to be good men? -- Ferocious Mom, Westchester, N.Y.

DEAR FEROCIOUS MOM: Somehow, you need to get to your husband and remind him that the two of you will always be parents to your children. Ask him to try to remember this as you go through your divorce. Appeal to his love for the children as a reason that he should resist speaking negatively about you or your marriage. Suggest that it is possible to break up without being disrespectful and that this is important for your sons' health and well-being.

If necessary, get your attorney involved. If you believe that he will continue to defile your name, ask your attorney to go to court to request a hearing to discuss custody of the children.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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