Dear Annie: I am 58 and have been married to “Hank” for 24 years. I have two children from a previous marriage, and Hank and I have a 21-year-old son together.
I’ve tried everything to be a good wife, but Hank never has been affectionate, and our sex life is nonexistent. Several years ago, I learned that he has cheated on me for most of our marriage. My older son caught him the first time, and I made Hank move out. We went to counseling, and I let him come back home, although I believe the only reason he returned was because of our son.
Recently, I received calls telling me Hank was cheating again, but he denied it. I finally hired a private investigator, who confirmed that Hank was having an affair. I told him to leave her alone and thought that would end it, but it didn’t. I discovered he has been seeing this woman for at least 12 years. I love my husband, but won’t tolerate sharing him anymore.
I knew when we married that we weren’t soul mates, but I felt we could have a good marriage. Hank knows if he leaves, his son will despise him and he won’t be able to see the grandchildren. Should I talk to the Other Woman and ask her to stop seeing him? What do I do? – Desperate in Indiana
Dear Indiana: Contacting the Other Woman will not produce the result you want: for Hank to stop cheating. He is unhappy in his marriage and thinks this gives him license to ignore his wedding vows. It does not. But you are also unhappy, twisting yourself into knots, trying to make Hank a faithful, loving husband. It isn’t working. Get some counseling. Find out what it’s worth to you to keep your marriage intact and what your next step should be.