Dear Annie: My wife and I have been together for 20 years and married for four. We have three kids. In the beginning of our relationship, it was bad -- and the bad all came from me. I cheated on her and hurt her. She stayed by my side, and that's when I realized that I have a wonderful woman. I got my act together and ended up marrying her.
This year, I have caught her cheating on me twice. All she does is say that I have done it to her in the past. I'm stuck, because I don't want to leave but I also can't accept the cheating. What do I do? -- Heartbroken Hubby
Dear Heartbroken Hubby: Though you put your affairs behind you, your wife clearly wasn't able to. It was wrong of you to cheat, but it was wrong of her to accept your proposal if she wasn't going to accept the past. Now she's inflicting wounds on you instead of healing her own. Such vengeance has no place in a marriage.
Marriage counselors aid couples grappling with these issues every day, and I recommend you and your wife set up an appointment as soon as possible. A professional counselor can help you unpack the years of baggage you're both carrying, lightening the load so you can finally move forward in love.
Dear Annie: I saw the letter in your column written by "Jealous in Wisconsin." I empathize with "Jealous," because I know exactly how he feels. My wife and I both met when we were just barely 20 years old. I was a very naive 20. I had only had one girlfriend in my life, and we'd never even gotten physical.
My wife and I married at 21 after going together for a year. I was deeply in love. A few years after we got married and had a son, I found out some things from a friend of hers. It seems my wife had quite a past with other men, including two married men. I didn't believe it at first, but it turned out to be true.
I have never looked at her the same. The love I had for her has disappeared. We've been married for almost 40 years now because I decided to stay with her -- not out of love but out of obligation, I suppose. I haven't been intimate with her for decades and won't ever again. I suppose she doesn't care about the intimate part; she already had her fun before she met me. She has been a great mom to our son, and she has been kind to me over the years, but things with us will never be as a marriage should be.
You can call it wrong to act or feel that way, but I do, and no counseling will ever change that. -- Sickened
Dear Sickened: Shame on you. Your wife didn't break any vows, but you did. Rather than love and cherish her, you've treated her like dirt, all because of some things she did as a teenager. Your pettiness has cost this poor woman the joy of a supportive partnership, and I'd like you to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself what it's bought you.
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