Everyone says, spare us the "details" after an affair, but I say they're wrong. My wife had a five-year affair from 1965, which I questioned her about when it ended, in 1970.
I learned that they met at a motel every three months, they were in the shower together, and would last to 11pm.
But, here's the "BIG detail." In 1995, when I asked about the affair 30 years after it happened, she said, "I had feelings for him". Now read the first part over again about the motel sex and tell me if you could live with, or forgive, someone like this.
If she'd given me these details in 1970 when I found out, I'd have kicked her out. And, if she'd wanted out in 1965, she knew where the doors were!
Your anger, which has simmered for 25 years, clearly exploded when you learned she had "feelings." But 16 years more have passed and you still don't realize what's meant by the "details." It's what happened in the motel (or other sexual facts of an affair) that leaves unnecessary graphic images. Far more important are the feelings, IF a couple wants to work on their marriage and get past the affair.
You might then have realized she had stronger feelings about staying with you, not going out the door. But the two of you needed some counseling guidance to get past the hurt and anger, and find ways to reach your own new level of intimacy. Maybe there's still a chance.
FEEDBACK Regarding your online chat about provocative dress (Sept. 7):
Reader - "I feel that when several men expressed how provocative dress evokes sexual behaviour in men, this was interpreted (by the female side) to say that women invite rape. That's not what those men were saying.
"Provocative dress evokes a sexual response in men, and in some, lewd behaviour. Not criminal behaviour... but, ethically questionable acts - staring, catcalling, inappropriate flirtation, etc.
"A woman may dress like that for her boyfriend's sake, but, like putting a picture on Facebook, it's out there for everyone to see. There's limited control over who sees and responds to it.
"You can call it "fashion," but this doesn't negate how it affects men.
"Whatever you call it, that style of dress is highly successful in making men feel, and in some cases behave, a certain way.
"Every man knows how provocatively-dressed women make them feel. They learn from other men that it makes them feel the same way. It's one topic every male can share when they think a woman isn't listening. Also, every man knows, through conversation or observation, another man who's acted out on his feelings.
"You will be stared at, leered at, flirted with, and hit upon. You will be thought of as accessible, or loose, or perhaps even as a slut. And there are many men who are very eager for women to embrace their rights to dress or act like, or be like sluts.
"While it's difficult to discuss a topic when someone shouts, "how dare you say that I wanted to be raped!" it has nothing to do with the debate about this. Misinterpreting what men say does no one any favours."
Thanks for your thoughtful opinion. Women who dress provocatively know they're drawing attention, just as men must know the nature of their response brings consequences, too.
Reader Commentary - "Children frequently get used as "a cover" in marital affairs. The unsuspecting partner is happy to see the other parent spend time "bonding" with the child. The affair is then given both time and an excuse.
"Many of us will stand passively by and watch a child get used in an affair, because of not wanting to interfere in a "private" matter.
"This is because most of us are unaware that it's abusive to the child.
"The child becomes a conspirator. She/he has to live a lie to protect the mother and the father. She/he may be angry and afraid the family's going to break up.
"Little wonder the child grows up to become fearful, angry, dishonest, unhappy and insecure. The child sees the role model and internalizes evasive, dishonest, and disloyal behavior. Many negative outcomes can follow.
"If you witness a child being used in this way, speak up. If you're having an affair, don't use your child as a cover-up."
Tip of the day:
Post-affair counseling is usually required for both spouses to learn how to re-build the marriage.