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After his affair, I feel like a second choice

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Annie Lane

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: My husband of 50 years had an affair with an old college lover for about a year. Both are in their late 70s. I found out two months ago, by accident, on his text messages and confronted him.

He denied it at first, but after I mentioned to him specifically their intimate email exchanges, he admitted it. The thing that hurts me more is that he told her that he didn’t marry me for love but rather for making a family and that she is his soul mate. He said that she is the one he wants to be with but can’t because he doesn’t want to hurt others. We have two adult children.

After I confronted him, he insisted that he loves me and doesn’t want a divorce. He agreed to end the affair but hasn’t confirmed to me that he has. He behaves like nothing has happened, and I am kind of going along with that, but it really bothers me and I’ve been losing sleep over it.

On top of everything, he has not really apologized or owned up to his actions. Of course, I am devastated and feel betrayed. I think about it all the time.

Should I tell him that I am not well with everything? I am the one who brings it up all the time. He hasn’t initiated any conversation about it or clarification. I don’t like nagging him all the time, but I can’t shake things up and move forward.

I don’t really want a divorce, nor do I want to be his second choice. Do I give him an ultimatum? How do I move forward?

— Hurt and Confused

Dear Hurt and Confused: What your husband did to you was heartless and cruel. I don’t blame you for losing sleep over it.

It is true that sometimes people say things they don’t mean. But his actions afterward are telling — not explicitly ending the affair, not communicating with you, and not going above and beyond to repair the damage he did to your relationship.

A couples counselor can help you two move past these communication roadblocks and determine whether this marriage is something you want to save. Start there.

Dear Readers: As I’m sure you all know, today is Thanksgiving, a holiday dedicated to celebrating the things we’re grateful for. To get in the spirit, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for this year. Send your responses to

Here’s a letter from a reader who got creative when it comes to holiday scheduling:

Dear Annie: I hated Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday since I worked the day before and the day after. My husband suggested we could celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday instead. That was 45 years ago.

It’s worked beautifully, as my daughters have never had to choose where to spend Thanksgiving Day. These days, Thanksgiving Saturday is open to family and loved ones, and it’s a joyful celebration.

— Thankful

Dear Thankful: Thanks for sharing this tip. I’m sure it will be helpful for other readers who have to work on or around Thanksgiving Day. And for those who do get Thursday off, why not enjoy two celebrations?

Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to


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