She won’t discuss her affairs

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I have been married for almost 30 years to a woman who grows more beautiful and sexy as time passes. After we had two children, my wife began a secret affair with a wealthy married man. It lasted 10 years before I discovered her infidelity. I felt angry, betrayed, and embarrassed that I was naive enough to believe that her long visits to see her mother in another state weren't actually vacations with her lover.

I moved out with the children to a different neighborhood the next day. I fully expected my wife to stay in our old flat and carry on her affair, but she knocked on the door to our new house the next day and wanted to talk it out. To make a long story short, I forgave her. That’s been a feature of our marriage ever since. Once she was forgiven for her affair, she went on to have many more without being secretive, and she eventually began to distance herself from our marriage. She would run off with a lover for a week, stay a month, come back for a few weeks, and disappear for half a year. Our children became resentful, and this kept her away more. The final straw was a two-week trip with a lover that turned out to be for two years. She eventually came back a year ago and has been remorseful ever since.

She feels ashamed by her past behavior, although exactly what that was, she won’t discuss. I would like the fun, sexy wife back that I married a long time ago. She’s developed a hangup about sex and won’t even discuss the matter with me. I would like to begin enjoying life to the fullest again. Don’t recommend therapy. That’s something she refuses to consider.

– Refused

You say she refuses therapy. That's it, as far as I'm concerned.

It's not that I believe therapy is some magic thing that fixes every marriage, or that every therapist has the same skills to bring someone to a better, happier place. It's more about a willingness to work on a relationship. If your wife doesn't want to make an effort, how will things get better? It doesn't sound like she's wants either of you to have a better experience in the marriage. Whatever she's doing isn't helping the partnership evolve.

My advice is for you to seek therapy – on your own – to figure out whether you can stay married. You want a former version of your wife, but she's gone. Can you be happy with the person your wife has become? It’s time to talk that through.

Also, do you like your wife? Sex is part of the marriage, but are you connecting in other ways?

I'm not sure she can enjoy life to the fullest with you, by your definition, so you'll have to figure out your own next steps. There's a path to happiness outside of what you have. Talk about why you haven't taken it.

– Meredith

Readers? Next steps?