Ask Amy: Long-married wife faces extreme surprise
Dear Amy: I found out recently that my husband of many years has been having sex with men for the last 52 years.
He says he is bisexual, but his appetite for sex with men is stronger than with women. He is into fetish and crossdressing.
I believe he needs to come out and live the life he craves, and not try to keep up the appearance that he is a heterosexual married man.
He says he never cheated on me with another woman, and that he would like to stay married. He offered to give me equal time to the time he spends with these men, but I know he has never been that attached to our sexual life. Plus — I got married to a man who pledged his fidelity to me, and I chose not to share.
I feel this marriage is done. We both got tested and we are OK, but he is not only a regular at a couple of (senior) gay clubs, but also has put himself out on three internet sites, asking to hook up with anyone who would like to have some fun.
He will be 74 and I will be 80 next month.
Over the years, he went from seeing men two to three times a year — to two to three times a week. We are talking about 100 to 150 different partners over the years.
He is not willing to give any of this up.
He says he will be honest with me about what he is doing when he goes out. Am I supposed to believe that?
What is your opinion? Do marriages survive this? — Broken!
Dear Broken!: My opinion is that your husband is quite obviously going to live his life the way he wants to and the way he has been. He has announced as much to you.
You have the right — and the duty — to do the same.
Marriages survive all sorts of circumstances, including lengthy separations, loss, sexual and emotional infidelity, illness, shocks, gender transitions and sometimes — genuine trauma. But marriage is supposed to be the embodiment of mutuality: I elevate you, you elevate me. Not: I do what I want and you either tolerate it ... or leave the marriage.
Your husband does not get to define fidelity for you. His choice to explain away his own behavior as being actually within the bounds of your marriage is gaslighting. His sexual behavior is putting both of you at risk.
Eyes open — you must make the choice that is best for you, both now and longer-term.
Dear Amy: While my daughter and son-in-law, “Brian,” were waiting for their new house to be built, they lived in our basement for six months.
Brian is a hoarder. I moved some of his things, and he attacked me in a fit of rage, breaking three of my ribs and bloodying my nose.
We called the police but did not press charges.
My daughter and Brian have since moved into their new home. We paid for the mover and gave the couple a generous house gift.
They have a new baby. We have visited, avoiding contact with Brian.
He has yet to apologize and has shown no remorse. He has complete control over our daughter and is verbally abusive to her.
How can we maintain a relationship with our daughter in light of this?
Should I continued to avoid him? — Fearful Father-in-Law
Dear Fearful: I wish you had chosen to press charges when “Brian” assaulted you. This would have shown your daughter the reality of what she is facing.
At this point, you must do everything possible to stay close and supportive.
Your daughter is in an extremely dangerous situation.
Tell her, “We love and care about you. We are here for you and we want to help.”
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great resource. Check thehotline.org or call (800) 799-SAFE (7233) to talk to a counselor. Always call the police if you witness violence.
Dear Amy: Shame on your answer to “Pandemic Pandemonium” where you suggested that a woman who has stopped wearing makeup and fancy clothes might be suffering from depression!
Maybe you love getting dolled up every day, but I was truly disgusted by your sexist response. — Disgusted
Dear Disgusted: I don’t happen to wear makeup — ever. But this isn’t about me. This man expressed dismay about his wife suddenly neglecting her hygiene. Many people are struggling right now, and I believe it is important to pay close attention to our mental health.