Is it time to end the affair?

Dear Meredith,

I'm a 41-year-old woman, married, and I've been having an affair for the past seven years. I had been traveling a lot for work, so it was easy the first six years to jet off to his city and meet up. Going into this affair, I knew that he was also married, had a girlfriend (besides me), and had pursued many flings. Last fall I was laid off from my old position, and in my current position, I don't travel as much. Most of our relationship has been through text and sexting, except for the four times during the year that we've been able to see each other, and only half of that time did we have sex.

Most of the time he makes me do what we call "challenges" to prove I want to be with him; some make me feel degraded. I feel that I need to have his constant approval. I buy him things and shower him with gifts all the time.

My close friends who know of this affair claim he is a narcissist and just using me to make himself feel good. But I just can't quit him. I love my husband and we have a wonderful marriage. But there is this "50 Shades" of excitement thing that this other man brings to my life. My friends say I should just walk away now, while he's calm and less interested. How can I leave something so exciting that's gone on for so long?

– Desperate for Attention

"How can I leave something so exciting that's gone on for so long?"

You acknowledge that this affair is no longer simple or reliably rewarding. You admit that it's making you miserable enough to confide in friends (and this advice column). Then you walk away.

You will feel a loss – a void where there had been texting and strategizing with this man – but there are many other ways to fill that time.

One is to figure out whether you can bring some of this excitement to your marriage. You mention tests and "50 Shades." Can you get those shades from your husband if you ask for it?

I am confident that the Love Letters comments section will deal with the fact that you've been cheating for seven years. Commenters might also address whether you should tell your husband what's been going on (something tells me you have no intention of sharing that information). My big request is that you think about what can make you happier at home. I don't get the sense that you've talked to your husband about what you like. He might be very capable of understanding what you need.

– Meredith

Readers? How can she quit this affair?