Ramblings of Silver Blue

30 Mar

Words of Wisdom

Thanks to Tink for forwarding this to me

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

DEAR MARGO: I’ve been reading your column for years and have noticed that infidelity is a recurring subject. I have a new question regarding this. It is often said that when people cheat, it means they don’t love their partner. Does this necessarily mean they love their lover?

If the cheater doesn’t leave a partner, this could also mean he or she doesn’t love the lover enough to make the decision to live their affair openly. So, whom does a cheater really love?

I am asking because I found out that my husband is cheating on me, but he keeps denying his affair — even though I’ve confronted him with irrefutable proof. He tells me he loves me and that I am the woman in his life. I know I’m certainly not. What troubles me most is that he won’t leave me or let me go.

I have even told him to fight for his love of this other woman by at least acknowledging the affair. My guess is that if a man is putting his marriage of 18 years in jeopardy, then it means he is madly in love. I would like to hear your opinion about people living ambiguous situations like this. — LIVING ON A PRAYER

DEAR LIV: I do not find this situation ambiguous at all. Your husband wants to stay married, for whatever reason, and he wants the girlfriend on the side. As for your proof and his denial, it reminds me of the famous instruction attributed to Fernando Lamas: “Deny, deny, deny.” Comedians have embroidered on this line by adding, “Who are you going to believe — me or your own eyes?”

As for whom the cheater loves, I actually think it’s himself. Men who run around are often narcissistic, insecure and looking for excitement. In other words, they are not integrated, mature human beings. For a woman in your position, the decision is whether to put up with his dual life or live on your own.

When you say he won’t leave you or let you go, may I remind you that you are half of this marriage, and should you so choose, you can let him go. Good luck figuring things out. — Margo, decisively

Dear Margo: A couple of years ago, I accidentally discovered that my partner was posting personal ads in the casual encounters category on craigslist.org. I reacted by cracking the passwords to my partner’s e-mail addresses and reading all his correspondence with the women who answered his ads. He was exchanging photos and participating in cybersex.

I confronted him, and he was very upset, saying he hadn’t thought of his actions as cheating, but swore he’d never do such a thing again. Eventually, I married him, but the truth is that I continued to check his e-mail occasionally. In the past few months, I have come across more disturbing material.

This time, the exchanges aren’t as sexually explicit, but he is carrying on virtual flirtations with several women he has “met” at hotornot.com and myspace.com. I have not confronted my husband, in part due to the guilt I feel from spying on him.

To make matters worse, I have been physically repulsed by him since I discovered these latest Internet flirtations. I have forced myself to have sex with him about once a month, but I’m afraid that my lack of attraction to him is increasing his wandering tendencies.

However, I also find myself wishing he would actually cheat on me so that I could divorce him without doubting that choice. What do I do? — Guilty and Wronged Wife

Dear Guilt: In the situation you describe, I make no distinction between virtual cheating and straying “the old-fashioned way.” When you first caught him, he said he didn’t think what he was doing was cheating. Right.

Anyway, you got him to accept your definition, and he swore off. He is still fooling around with strangers as though he were available — not something committed husbands do. He has also broken his word to you. Additionally, he has so turned you off that he is now repulsive to you.

To feel both betrayed and repulsed doesn’t sound like you have much to work with in the let’s-work-it-out department. As for feeling guilty, I know some people disagree with me, but my belief is that when it’s your life involved, you may gather information any way you can.

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