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FROM ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022

DEAR ABBY by Abigail Van Buren

NEWLYWED DIVIDES TIME WITH WIFE AND CO-WORKER MISTRESS

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my wife for a little over a year. I love her. However, right before our wedding, I met a co-worker I'll call "Alexis." We hit it off, and I consider her a close friend.

Alexis and I hooked up a few times before and after my wedding. We never discuss the encounters after they happen. After we've had a few drinks, we both say things about being together, but usually, we're just best friends. While my friends believe this is odd, it's almost a blessing that the awkward conversation doesn't happen after a night of something happening.

There have been instances when I have ditched my wife to hang out with Alexis -- not to do anything, but just to hang out with her and her mother. My wife says I spend too much time with Alexis between work and after work, but she's fun to be with. My wife is kind of a homebody. She doesn't like to go out and have a good time.

My wife doesn't trust Alexis, and while I can't blame her, I'm conflicted about what my next step should be. I love my wife, but I also love Alexis as more than a friend, and I know she feels the same. What should I do next? -- LOVES THEM BOTH

DEAR LOVES: You may love both of these women, but you are being fair to neither one. Your wife doesn't trust Alexis because she senses something is wrong -- and she's right. You and Alexis aren't buddies; you are lovers. That you have confided it to friends "who think this is odd" (in your words) means it is just a matter of time until your wife is in on the secret. Your first loyalty should be to your wife. At the very least, you owe it to her to have an honest discussion with her and figure out WITH HER what the next steps should be.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been going to the same dentist for 20 years. We have always had the same dental hygienist. There's a computer in the room where she works, and she always schedules our next six-month cleaning with her before we leave. Over the years, we have noticed that she's not very clean. She is sometimes very unkempt -- with greasy hair and body odor. Her treatment room is also very messy. The last time I was there, she opened her cupboard, and I was appalled at the junk crammed in there. We are concerned that this is unsanitary and we no longer want to see her.

We love our dentist and the office staff. They are the nicest, most considerate and professional people. I would like to call and ask the front desk to reschedule our appointments with the other hygienist and include in our files that we only want to see that one. My husband thinks we should switch dentists. To be honest, I'm shocked the dentist would tolerate this, but he is a kind individual, and maybe that's the problem. Any advice would be appreciated. -- DENTAL DRAMA IN THE EAST

DEAR DRAMA: You should have discussed this with your dentist years ago. Your concerns are valid. It is your right to be treated by another hygienist for the reasons you have stated. However, for your dentist's sake, as well as your own, tell him exactly why you felt it was necessary to make the change. It will be doing the practice a favor.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, chooker@amuniversal.com.)

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