DEAR ABBY: I just found out that my husband of 37 years is having an affair. I have supported him in every way I could – raising our daughters, taking care of the household and holding a full-time job while he traveled for business and his many hobbies.
We both work hard and have developed a good life. We have been discussing retirement and maybe a move to another area. In recent years he has become evasive and has improved his appearance noticeably.
While it’s true that I fell out of love with him several years ago because of his selfishness and lack of respect for me, we have still been good partners and parents and enjoyed doing things together. I do not like him spending our money on another woman and don’t want this to get back to the children as it will really, really hurt them.
Should I continue to pretend I don’t know, or do I confront him? I
doubt he would end the affair completely even if he knows it has been found out. And yes, there are a lot of assets involved if this comes to divorce. – KNOWS THE SECRET
DEAR KNOWS: What a sad story. You say you fell out of love with your husband several years ago. Is it possible that he sensed it?
Because there are “a lot of assets” involved, consult an attorney about what your spousal rights are in the event that a continued partnership is not what your husband wants for the rest of his life. Then tell him you know what has been going on and offer him the option of marriage counseling so the two of you can repair your marriage. His reaction will tell you what you need to do next.
DEAR ABBY: My mom and I had a very close relationship until two years ago when I found out she was hanging out with my ex-husband. This man ruined me financially with his gambling habit, and Mom was first in line telling me to divorce him. From day one she never liked him. My ex went on to make my life a living hell for many years by not paying child support or spending time with our three kids.
All these years later, they now go to the casino together, and she’s got him going to her church. I feel hurt and angry. She sings his praises – “he’s a changed man!” I had to finally stop my daily calls and the many texts we shared all day long because, even after I told her how much this behavior hurt me, she told me she was sorry I felt that way. She claims there is nothing to their relationship except friendship. How do I get past feeling replaced and disrespected? – MISERABLE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR MISERABLE: Your mother may consider your ex to be “changed,” but I have to question how much someone with a gambling problem has changed if he is accompanying her to a casino. She must be desperate for company to befriend someone who treated her daughter – and grandchildren – so badly.
The way to get past feeling replaced and disrespected is to get on with your own life and spend as little time as possible looking back. Your mother has made her choice, and she isn’t going to change. Now it’s up to you to find things to fill the void she left.