Man’s cheating shatters wife’s sense of purpose

Published 9:24 am Monday, December 19, 2022

Dear Abby: My husband of 2-1/2 years was having an affair with a much younger woman for what i believe was about two months. I never suspected. It ended because he got caught. I was devastated and asked him to leave that night. He always seemed uninterested in sex, and when we had sex, it was quick. He had difficulty performing so, of course, I was extra shocked.
We went to marriage counseling, which didn’t help. I decided to stay with him, but I’m miserable. I can’t get over the fact that he cheated, and I bring it up all the time. I no longer trust him and wonder why I stay. I love him and I don’t at the same time. I feel stuck.
I was married before, and I feel like a failure. I’m in good physical shape, financially successful and loving. What went wrong? I always felt he was hiding something, but he swears he wasn’t. He says this was the first time he’s cheated on a woman and he was confused. I wish I had the courage to leave, but I feel defeated because I just turned 60. Please help. — DEPRESSED AND HOPELESS IN INDIANA

DEAR D and H: You are not a failure. Your husband is. The surest way to find out “what went wrong” and begin rebuilding your self-esteem would be to discuss this entire scenario BY YOURSELF with a licensed marriage and family therapist. The reason you haven’t left this marriage may be that you are self-conscious about your age or think nothing is worse than being alone. Life does not end at 60, and THIS is worse than being alone.
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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 55-year-old male with five siblings ranging from 45 to 63 years of age. I’m the only one who is single. I don’t live close to any of them, although they live reasonably close to each other. I’m in regular contact with all of them and see them at least once a year.
My issue is that I’m tired of hearing about all their family drama. They all seem to be upset with one family member or another for whatever ridiculous reason. How can I remind them that having each other around is a blessing? Living alone on the other side of the country is (admittedly) very lonely.
I plan on retiring in the next couple of years and had always thought I’d move closer to them then. But now I’m afraid of becoming one of the pawns in their “who are we all mad at this month?” game. Advice? — BROTHER WITH A DIFFERENCE

DEAR BROTHER: Few families are completely free of “issues,” but successful ones manage to maneuver around them. Reminding your siblings how fortunate they are to have each other so close geographically should be raised privately with each of them, so you can explain your reasons for saying it. It might be the wake-up call they need. Use the next two years to decide where you want to live without being “too close,” and plan on cultivating relationships outside the family through activities you enjoy so you are not completely dependent on them.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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