Dear Annie: A few years ago, my husband had an emotional affair with an old girlfriend. This woman has caused problems throughout our marriage. I never seem to measure up to her. The first time I discovered that my husband was seeing her, I told him it had to stop. But just before our anniversary, he told me he wanted to be with her instead of me. I was devastated. Of course, a few days later, he got down on his knees and begged me to forgive him. He promised not to see her anymore.
However, he refused to stop speaking to her. I found his e-mails and had an emotional breakdown. When I told him in order for me to stay he had to cut her off completely, he did, but mourned as though she had died. We worked through it and became closer than before. I thought he loved me the way I loved him.
Two years later, they were e-mailing again. He said he didn’t think I’d mind! He found out she had breast cancer and told me if no one was available to take care of her, he would do it even if it meant ending our marriage. He made it plain that she was more important to him than I was.
I told him this was his last chance, and he promised to give her up, so I forgave him. I made it clear that if I discovered he was in touch with her again, I’d divorce him.
Well, last year he joined her online high school website. He didn’t even go to that school. He says it isn’t cheating if they aren’t having sex. But emotional affairs are just as devastating. – Still Hurting in Tennessee
Dear Tennessee: Cheating is when one partner shares intimacies, sexual or otherwise, with someone other than the spouse. Your husband has offered this woman time, energy and devotion that belong to you. Since he doesn’t seem to understand your objections, please try counseling before walking away.