Life Advice



Should I Stay in a Loveless Marriage for My Kids?

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I never thought I would send one of these letters. I have been married for almost 20 years. Last September, my wife asked for a divorce after what was a rough year, one that was much rougher than I even thought. A week after the request for a divorce, I found out she had been having a long affair with my son's Boy Scout leader while I was working 16-hour days trying to provide for our family.

My request for her to leave was answered with a "NO, I am not leaving." After six months of counseling, I realized that she had promised us having a third kid over the last decade (we have two) by setting up a series of "If you want another baby, I need this," which included stable careers, an au pair, a new home -- and one we couldn't really afford. This has now been followed by her saying she will not have any more children and never planned to. She said she said those things to get what she wanted. I feel that was worse than the year-long affair she had with another married man.

After months of counseling, I can't help but have this weird feeling that the relationship is great as life partners and as parents. We do look after each other. But I feel if not for the kids and the intertwined finances, we would both walk away.

If the kids are my priority and the house is amicable, am I being selfish wanting more? -- Lost in Transition

Dear Lost: The betrayal you experienced, both in the affair and the broken promises, is deeply painful. Your wife's actions and deceit are understandably hurtful and have shaken your trust.

You've invested a lot in counseling, and it's clear you both have a strong partnership as co-parents. However, if you feel your relationship is only sustained by shared responsibilities and finances, it's crucial to reevaluate things. Wanting more from your relationship is not selfish. It's important that you feel happy and fulfilled.

Discuss these feelings openly with your wife and seek further counseling to explore whether you can rebuild a deeper connection or if it's time to move on. (At this point, more likely than not it will be the latter.) Ultimately, a healthy, honest environment benefits both you and your children.


Dear Annie: I have a good friend, and we go to a lot of places together. Whenever we arrive at our destination, she texts someone. When we are about to leave to go home, she texts somebody. During the intermission of a show, she texts somebody. We are both widowed seniors. I think she is texting her children. I find this totally unnecessary and kind of rude!

Do her kids need to know her every move and whereabouts every time we change locations? I tell someone where I'm going and that's it, until I'm home safely. -- Baffled Widow

Dear Baffled: Your friend's constant texting can indeed seem unnecessary and intrusive, especially during your outings. However, consider that she might feel comforted by keeping in regular contact with her children or that they might feel better knowing their mother is safe and sound.

It's worth having a gentle conversation with her about how you feel. Express that while you understand her need to stay connected, it sometimes disrupts your time together. Ideally, this will lead to a middle ground that works for both of you. Communication is key to maintaining your friendship while respecting each other's boundaries.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to



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