Q: I married very young and came to Venezuela 35 years ago. We made a life together and raised 2 children. In 2008, I discovered that he was having an affair with a very young girl. We have not had sex since. The other day, looking for information in his email account (he asked me to!) I found a letter from his “ex-lover.” I am thinking of giving up on this marriage–maybe he has always been like this and I didn’t know. I do love him but I want to be free of this anger and sadness.
A: Ann, you didn’t really ask a question. What you’ve given me is really a sad statement. I would suggest that you confront him about what you know. Find out if he still intends to communicate with his “ex-lover.” What are his intentions with her? What does he want to have with you? In other words, you need to find out what he’s willing to negotiate and then you need to decide what you’re willing to accept in the form of a negotiated agreement. Perhaps you will only invest yourself if he’s willing to be accountable in marriage counseling. Perhaps you might choose to give up and get divorced if he will not be accountable about the “ex-lover.” Another alternative is that you choose to stay in an emotionally distant arrangement with him for the purpose of survival. These are existential choices and are context dependent. You get to choose but be conscious that you’re making a choice. Good luck.