My wife of 25 years was previously married for 24 years and divorced for 10 before we married. She’s now 72.
I’d been married for 26 years, divorced for five years, remarried for five years (it didn’t work out).
Three years later, I met my wife. Then, 18 years of marriage later, I discovered a file of hers which contained love letters and invitations to a liaison.
They described the affair she had with her lover during her first marriage, her years of non-marriage and 15 years during our marriage.
Some letters graphically described their meetings, including her "on her knees in front of (him)." Incidentally, he's married.
She moved to her parents briefly but she and her daughter convinced me to stick together. I’d already cancelled her credit cards and said many derogatory things to her.
She’s a very attractive woman, very talented, and has been honourable in her long career. I’ve held decent work for over 50 years.
We both acknowledged previous affairs during our first marriages but had vowed trueness to this marriage.
I insisted that she confess to her relatives what she’d done before I’d accept her back. Everyone thinks she’s an angel but she's a deceiver.
We agreed to see a counsellor. I needed help to understand why, after years of this adulterous relationship, she wanted to stay with me.
The counsellor said you both need help as I was drinking four to five drinks a night. Still am, after five more years.
Am I nuts? She recently inherited a lot of money.
You’re not “nuts” but still, understandably, very angry.
Still so hurt and devastated, you want everyone to think less of her.
Yet, with her inheritance, you now wonder if you’d be “nuts” to break up, or to stay.
Reality check: Depending on your legal jurisdiction, the inheritance may be hers alone, unless she chooses to share some with you.
Meanwhile, you’re both much-experienced seniors who’ve managed to live together seven more years after this shattering news of her affair.
What matters now is the quality of that shared life today.
If you see only her deceit, and drink to avoid any emotional connection, the quality’s pretty low and you’re keeping it that way.
You may feel that it’s too late to uproot yourself, but currently you’re only attached to your injured pride, and fury (evident in your longer-letter and details aimed at my possibly “outing” her and her lover).
Don’t live these later years with bitterness and hate. If that’s all you have with her now, tell her so, and proceed to a divorce.
But IF you think there’s still a possibility of being able to have a satisfying life together, then get back to counselling with her, and also address your long-time drinking problem as well as her long-time infidelity.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who constantly guards his phone (March 23):
Reader – “In any open and trusting relationship transparency needs to occur.
“My Significant Other and I have an open door policy on that to always make sure someone on either side isn't trying to divide us.
“If her husband guards his phone so heavily it’s because either he doesn't know when he’ll hear from his side-chick and doesn't want it to go off when his wife can see it, or he has content he doesn't want her to see on the phone.
“If he were actually monogamous he wouldn't be so fixated on the phone and likely wouldn't constantly have it on him either.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother rejected by her son based on his girlfriend’s false accusations (March 22):
Reader – “I’ve experienced, and continue to experience, the same treatment from my son, who is now 38. I did stop all communication for two years.
“That followed with some reconciliation and some improvement in his behaviour, but the behaviour eventually resumed with more preposterous lies and invented problems.
“I don’t spend time alone with him any more because I cannot trust him to not invent some new lies. I always see him with my husband present (not his father) for my own sanity and protection.
“I’m a professional in the field and found helpful the book Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, by Sheri McGregor, MA in human behaviour.
“This situation happens more often than we would think possible. Most parents are so hurt and dumbfounded that they don’t tell anyone about it.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t choose bitterness and anger if there’s a chance for better-quality life.