Dear Annie: I am in my early 50s and have been married for 34 years. My husband is the only man I have ever been with. For years, I put up with his cheating because I was concerned about my children and our financial future. Now the kids are grown and can take care of themselves.
My husband has been with his current lover for almost three years. Initially, I let it go, but then he started treating me even worse than before. He would get angry if I went anywhere, but would never join me, so I stopped going out. Then he cut me off from any access to our money. I now have to ask him for whatever I need, and he gets to decide if I can have it or not. He also told me I can no longer open the mail.
I started to check up on him and keep track of his phone calls. It took a while, but I was finally able to get undeniable proof of his affair. This is the part I can’t deal with: His lover is his first cousin. I’m so tired of living like this. I think I know what to do, but would like an objective opinion. I have no friends to ask, so please help me. – Suffering in the South
Dear Suffering: Aside from the history of marital infidelity, your husband is also guilty of abuse. Isolating you and controlling all the household money are key indicators. Your children are grown. It’s time to get out of this mess of a marriage. Start by documenting his treatment of you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), and then talk to a lawyer.