I am 38 years old and terminally ill. My husband and I have been together for 25 years and married for 13. We have two children together, ages 7 and 9. He was in the military for 15 years and is now in the Reserves.
I found out he has been having an online affair with another woman for two and a half years.
The woman he is involved with is on active duty, and he has a long history with her. He was involved with her 13 years ago, before we got married, when he was assigned to Germany. He came home and married me, and now he says he always felt guilty for doing that to her and that's why he started talking to her again.
He said he turned to her also because I am "just a spouse" and I will never know what it was like to be deployed. He has been to Iraq two times and Afghanistan two times.
I don't care that he talks to her -- it's the online sex that they are having that bothers me. He doesn't think what he is doing is wrong.
I just can't believe how much someone can change. He used to be so compassionate; now he has turned into an evil monster. He says he wants to make things work with me, but he isn't willing to budge on his relationship with her. What should I do? Our kids are so upset.
-- Husband Did a 180
I hope my letter finds you and your children doing well.
You mentioned that you are terminally ill. As you know, the stress and worry you have dealing with a husband who is having online sex with another woman is not good for your illness. You have to take care of yourself and being in a healthy relationship is part of that.
It's very easy for your husband to say "she gets it." That's his way of rationalizing his behavior to you and to the other woman. He makes her feel important by telling her that "she gets it," and that you don't.
His behavior is not helping any situation. It's not helping you with your illness, it's not helping your marriage and it's not helping your children. If anything, it's making everything worse.
What he is saying is that he wants to make everything work, but he is not willing to budge on his relationship with the other woman. Let me interpret this for you: "I want an open marriage" -- that's what he's really saying.
You have some choices too: You can stay in an open marriage where he is free to have a relationship with whomever he pleases (because it's this woman today but it will be a different woman in the future), or you can leave. Remember, he said he won't budge on this issue.
Whatever you decide, you need to start building a network of support that includes close family and friends who can be there for you in your time of need. You need people who will help take care of you and be in your corner, not a husband who is being troublesome and adding to your illness.
I'm thinking about you. Please let me hear from you again.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki