Q: My wife used the search feature for the Ashley Madison emails and discovered an old account I had signed up for late one night, before we were together. I had forgotten all about it. When she brought it up, I panicked and lied because I was embarrassed but immediately told her what it was. She was upset, but I explained the situation and that I hadn’t even thought about it since we have been together.
Now I feel hurt that she didn’t trust me and felt the need to check, using the guise that “some emails were hacked.” But she didn’t check hers, just mine. I am upset that she checked, as I have never done anything to deserve this. How do I get over it without starting a huge fight? I am now more irritable and closed off, and this is hurting our marriage. — Hurt in Pennsylvania
A: Rather than avoid a fight, tell your wife how hurt you are that she felt she needed to check up on you, and insist this be discussed with the help of a licensed marriage counselor so you can both lay your cards on the table. You need to understand why your first instinct was to lie to her, and she needs to level with you about why she felt compelled to see if you were in that database. There are times when a confrontation can be healthy, and this may be one of them.
Q: Our beautiful, talented teen daughter started cutting several years ago. She is getting help for her depression and the bullying that contributed to it, but she no sooner lets one set of cuts heal than she makes more. Sometimes I think she does it to try to limit people’s expectations of her.
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Abby, we talked to her about drugs, sex, distracted driving, all the things we thought were important, but cutting wasn’t even on our radar! We have now learned cutting involves more than 14 percent of young girls and to some degree is a social issue, in that they learn about cutting as a coping mechanism from each other. At a young age it can seem exciting, edgy and rebellious — even a way to “fit in” with a group.
Please advise other parents to talk to their children about this and, please, ask for feedback from people who are former cutters. She may listen to what they have to say, as opposed to her dumb old parents. — Heartbroken Mom From Anywhere
A: If your daughter is under a doctor’s care and continuing to harm herself, it’s time to consult another one because this one hasn’t addressed the root of her problem. If readers who have conquered a cutting addiction would like to chime in on this, I will either print their comments or forward them to you.
Q: A few days before my boss’s wife gave birth, her father was tragically killed in an airplane accident. I want to congratulate my boss and his wife on the birth of their daughter, but I also want to pay respects to her father’s passing. What is the etiquette in this case? — Happy and Sad in Italy
A: The most diplomatic approach would be to send your congratulations and your condolences separately rather than try to combine them.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.