Extramarital affair threatens woman’s mental health

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

DEAR ABBY: I have been involved with a married man for the last five years. He lied to me about his status. He told me that a woman he’d had a 15-year relationship with had left him. I recently learned he has been with her for more than 30 years, and she’s the mother of his kids. I have tried to walk away many times, but I always go back. I don’t blame him, but I am very hurt by the deceptions. I have been hospitalized for depression three times since I’ve been with him. I’m not a homewrecker. He’s not a demon. I just need help. I can’t go on like this. My mental health is deteriorating rapidly now. Please help me. – HEARTBROKEN IN MARYLAND

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You are stuck in a self-defeating cycle that isn’t going to change. In my book, this married man IS a demon. He is an awful person with no conscience. Seeing the effect this affair has had on you (three hospitalizations for depression!?), if he had ANY conscience at all, he would have ended it. If you don’t have a licensed mental health professional to talk with to help you disentangle yourself permanently from this destructive cycle, PLEASE ask for a referral to one now, before you have to be hospitalized again.
DEAR ABBY: I was a devoted son. I called and visited my parents regularly and took them on trips with my family. I have two grown kids I seldom see or hear from. Some of my friends tell me their kids are the same. Is this common with this generation or is it an anomaly? – WONDERING IN FLORIDA

DEAR WONDERING: It may be more common today. Whether because of insensitivity, the fact that younger people face more challenges and distractions than previous generations or some unresolved resentment toward their parents, I can’t say. But your problem seems to have become less unusual over the last several decades. Phone calls have been replaced by texting, but texts lack the warmth and immediacy of verbal communication that former generations enjoyed. Could that be what you are missing?
DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful husband and four beautiful kids. But lately I’ve started crushing on his best friend, and I sometimes fantasize about him. I love my husband with all my heart, and I’m truly happy with our marriage. How can I rid myself of these feelings? I don’t know what they mean. – MYSTIFIED IN MISSOURI

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DEAR MYSTIFIED: It means you are human. A way to control your fantasies would be to quit feeling so guilty about having them. You are far from the only woman to develop crushes on unattainable men. Fan clubs for actors and television personalities come immediately to mind. The time to worry and possibly seek professional help would be when the crush starts having a negative effect on your marriage. You say you love your husband. If that’s true, show him the respect he deserves by reminding yourself not to follow through on those fantasies.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)