My husband of 50 years has had an “emotional affair” for a year with an old flame from college.
They have exchanged very intimate emails and texts, which I discovered by accident. When I confronted him, he denied that it is an affair, but just two old classmates exchanging messages.
When I confronted him about the intimate nature of these emails, he told me that he only wrote those things to make her feel good.
In one email, he told her that he didn’t marry me for love but to have a family, and that she is his soulmate.
He wrote that he can’t be with her because he doesn’t want to hurt others.
Of course, I am devastated. This is all I think about. The things he wrote to her have wounded me.
He reassured me that he loves me and that he doesn’t want a divorce.
We have two adult children, and grandchildren.
He agreed to stop the affair but didn’t confirm to me that he has done so.
The thing that bothers me the most is that he has never apologized to me. He has never owned his actions.
He behaves like nothing happened.
Should I bring my concerns to him?
I don’t want to nag him, but should I give him an ultimatum?
I don’t really want a divorce, but don’t want to be his second woman either.
How do I move forward?
— Hurt and Betrayed
Of course your husband doesn’t want to discuss this with you! Once he had been found out, his preferred reaction was to put his fingers in his ears and say, “La-la-la-la — I can’t hear you.”
Talking about this episode would be extremely uncomfortable for both of you — and it is human nature to avoid this discomfort.
Please, don’t use the word “nag” to describe your right to express yourself.
I agree that he needs to “own” this. Yes, you deserve an acknowledgement and apology, as well as proof that he has stopped this contact.
Don’t lock yourself into an ultimatum. State your case, share your feelings, tell him what you need from him, and invite him to have the sort of intimate conversation you know he is capable of having.
Adults can benefit from comfort objects
The conversation about adults keeping comfort objects prompted me to write.
I am a senior ranking soldier who recently returned from a deployment with a new “friend” in tow!
When I first arrived in theater, my predecessor handed off a “Beanie Baby” (cat) which he had received as a morale booster at the beginning of his deployment.
I kept it on my desk as a cheerful presence while I worked incredibly long, stressful days.
Within two weeks of arriving in theater, the pandemic hit and presented a real and present threat to the mission.
We had to take drastic measures to reduce forces while keeping the mission going.
Things became even more stressful than they already were.
Within three months, I was nearly broken as a result of the overwhelming workload.
I was in desperate need of relief with no way of receiving it.
Suddenly, I found myself reaching for that cat and resting it in my lap.
I can’t begin to describe the immediate impact it had on my sanity and emotional well-being.
In addition to the laughter it brought when others asked, “Is that a cat on your desk?” it also provided comfort.
It saw me through some of my worst moments. It looked on without judgment and maintained peace in a world of chaos. It may be an inanimate object, but it served an important role. It became a real friend.
Since arriving home, I’ve taken that stuffed cat with me on multiple road trips and hikes. I still hold it when I’m in need of comfort. I will definitely be taking it with me on my next deployment.
— Unashamed Soldier
Wait. I’ve got something in my eye.
Remember the lesson from the peerless book, “The Velveteen Rabbit”?
This is how beloved objects become “real.”
Bad advice on gathering with the unvaccinated?
I loathed your dangerous response to “Stuck,” who was torn between inviting non-vaccinated family members and a “paranoid” family member.
No vaccinated person should be sharing space with unvaccinated people. Period.
Each of us has the responsibility to assess our own risks, based on our own vaccination status and information provided by the CDC.
For many families, using a rapid home antigen test right before gathering might be the best answer.
Write to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068, or email [email protected]
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ask Amy: Emotional affair strains long marriage