Af­fairs re­vealed

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

My wife and I were mar­ried for 61 years. We had three sons. “Mary” passed away this year from com­pli­ca­tions of Parkin­son’s and de­men­tia.

Mary and her friend “John” had a re­la­tion­ship most of our mar­ried life. She had gone to school with John and re­newed their “friend­ship” soon after we were mar­ried in the 1950s. I only dis­cov­ered all this about 10 years ago by find­ing John’s name on tele­phone calls he’d made to our home. I could not act on it then be­cause my wife was hav­ing cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment, which soon de­vel­oped into de­men­tia.

In the past, I had thought some­thing was wrong with our mar­riage and asked my wife sev­eral times whether she wanted out, but she just said no. Maybe that was be­cause in our gen­er­a­tion, there was a stigma around get­ting di­vorced, or it could be that John’s wife re­fused to give him a di­vorce.

It has dev­as­tated me, as I al­ways thought my wife loved me. Ev­i­dently, she loved an­other man. Ther­apy did not help; I tried that. I can­not de­scribe the hurt. My sons and their fam­i­lies do not know any­thing about this, and I can­not tell them, as they all loved my wife. — Sleep­less in Any­where,

USA

I can’t imag­ine what you’re go­ing through. My heart goes out to you. You’re right not to tell your sons about their mother’s af­fair, as that would ben­e­fit no one. Time is the only thing that will ease your pain.

And it might of­fer you some com­fort to know you’re not alone. Just this week, I re­ceived the fol­low­ing let­ter.

My wife of 59 years passed away three weeks ago. While go­ing through her things after her death, I came across her di­aries. She kept th­ese her whole life. The worst mis­take I have ever made in my life was to read th­ese di­aries.

I thought we had a very sat­is­fy­ing mar­ried life. We con­tin­ued hav­ing sex well into our 70s. Thirty years ago, while I was away on a busi­ness trip, she and a friend went out barhop­ping. She met a guy whom she de­scribed as “a very car­ing and sex­ual man.” She wrote, “He brought out feel­ings in me that I never thought I’d have.” This man swept her off her feet, and she pro­ceeded to have sex with him mul­ti­ple times over the next month. She raved about how good the sex was.

Dur­ing this time, we also had sex with each other at our usual fre­quency. At that time, she was 48 years old. She was beau­ti­ful. She could have passed for 28. She was an up­stand­ing mem­ber of the com­mu­nity, was in­volved in var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions and was a grand­mother of two.

I can­not get over this af­fair. I can­not sleep or eat. I keep vi­su­al­iz­ing what they were do­ing. This knowl­edge, on top of my griev­ing for her, is leav­ing me sick. There is no one I can talk to about this. I don’t want the kids to know about it. I have al­ways loved her deeply. In my heart, I have for­given her.

An­nie, what would make a woman who seemed oth­er­wise sta­ble and sat­is­fied do some­thing like that? What can I do to ease my pain? I can­not get this out of my mind.

— Sick and Hurt

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I don’t know why your wife did what she did. Per­haps it was a midlife cri­sis and she wanted to feel de­sir­able and young. But what she de­scribed in those pages was in­fat­u­a­tion, not love. The terms might ap­pear to­gether in a th­e­saurus, but they have lit­tle to do with each other where it re­ally counts.

In­fat­u­a­tion is in­tense, pas­sion­ate and su­per­fi­cial. Love is pa­tient, strong and self­less. It is the most pro­found kind of friend­ship. In­fat­u­a­tion fades with time; love only grows deeper. In­fat­u­a­tion’s got noth­ing on love. Those few weeks sev­eral decades ago can­not negate the life­time of hap­pi­ness you shared. May your wife rest in peace. I wish you all the best.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dearannie@ cre­ators.com.

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