How many more chances should I give him?
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I have been married for more than three decades. Six years ago I learned that my husband had been dating about a dozen women he met on a website for married folks looking to have an affair. I was absolutely shocked! It had been going on for more than a year. We each spent months in therapy and reconciled eight months later. Things were pretty stable until two years ago, when I learned he was having an affair with a new (married) women. While we were in couples therapy for five months, he continued to carry on with this woman, but lied to me and the therapist. After a few months, when I learned he had seen her again, we separated.
While separated, he started dating women he met on a traditional dating site, posing as "divorced." I was aware but indifferent. I knew there was no other way he could entertain himself living alone. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the peace of living alone and making myself top priority. Several times over the past year, he has made attempts to reconcile. We recently spent two months living together without much conflict. Then one morning he announced he "needed space," so I moved out. He was pretty elusive about what he was up to the weekend after I left. I just learned that while we were living together and working on a reconciliation, he met a separated woman through a friend and invited her to spend two days and an overnight at his home, which is the reason he needed me to leave. That romance didn't work out, so he is now begging me to reconcile again.
I am exhausted dealing with this serial adulterer and his constant lies. He says he is through with other women, I am the perfect woman for him and, if we reconcile, he will make the remaining years the best years of my life – "full of affection, laughter, adventure and joy." A year ago I had an attorney draft divorce documents, so it would be really easy to pull the trigger. I feel I have provided this guy with plenty of opportunities. How many more chances do you or your readers think saving this marriage deserves?
– Sucker in Suburbia
No more chances. He deserves zero chances.
He has a long record of lying – big, huge lies.
They're lies that take extensive planning and, sometimes, coordination of real estate. He needs to go away now. Put today's date on your paperwork (or whatever the lawyer says to do) and get it signed. Reconcile with yourself.
I want you to read something you told us about your time away from your husband. "I enjoyed the peace of living alone and making myself top priority." Let that sink in because it's a lovely thing to feel. You like a life that isn't focused on investigating and managing someone else's drama. You're very open to entertaining yourself.
Also, you don't mention it, but being single means you're available to others. What if you met someone who wanted to hang out ... and tell you the truth?
My guess is that readers will agree that the chances have been used up, and that all benefit of the doubt disappeared long ago, maybe even after that first betrayal. You worked hard to fix what was broken, but he couldn't make this work. Walk away knowing you did your best and that you're capable – and deserve – so much more.
Feel free to get therapy on your own to process what when down and how your life will change when this is 100 percent over.
Readers? How many more chances?
"Stop asking what he deserves - that doesn't actually matter. What do you deserve? Do you think you deserve to be lied to and cheated on? To have your time wasted for months in therapy by someone who is being completely insincere? Constant emotional exhaustion caused by a person who continues to demonstrate they don't respect or care about you? Is that what you deserve? I hope that you have enough self-respect left to finally divorce him because you should have done that a long, long time ago." – bonecold