Dear Margo: Staying Married Is Not for Everyone

Margo Howard’s advice

Staying Married Is Not for Everyone

Dear Margo: As a mother, I’m sure you can empathize. My daughter married a four-door, gold-plated cheater. I frankly do not know why he bothered to get married — or why my daughter wanted him. Maybe she thought being married would make him less of an alley cat.

They “celebrated” their 15th anniversary last month. While my daughter does not complain, she has made no secret of the fact that she is mulling over giving this guy the gate. Their children are now teenagers, and so, by my lights, a divorce would not be the end of the world. (My daughter does not work because the skunk makes a nice living.) If I am flat-out asked for my opinion, what would you advise me to say? — Distressed Mother

Dear Dis: Having been around since ice covered the earth (well, almost), I have formed a definite opinion about these kinds of men, and that opinion is best expressed by the late Arizona Congressman Mo Udall, who quipped, “That condition can only be cured with embalming fluid.”

I also believe in being truthful when asked for an opinion. Should your daughter open the door to this discussion, the honest and constructive thing to say is that these situations don’t get better, they get worse, and she would have your blessings and moral support were she to change her life and return to a single state. The decision, of course, must be hers — and like some other things in life, it would be more advantageous if made sooner rather than later. Good luck. — Margo, beneficially

Can a Skunk Lose His Stripe?

Dear Margo: My husband and I met and fell head over heels for each other. “I love yous” were exchanged quickly. A couple of months into our relationship, I saw that he had posted some inappropriate and suggestive comments on a “friend’s” Facebook page. I asked him about it, and he said he was trying to “boost her self-esteem,” apologized and took the comments down.

A couple of months later, he lied about the circumstances under which he had lunch with his ex-wife. (They supposedly ran into each other, but I found out it was requested by him.) I called him on it and said I didn’t appreciate being lied to. We moved on and got engaged, and I then saw an extremely explicit Facebook chat with his son’s ex-girlfriend. You can imagine the age difference and my disgust. I nearly broke off the engagement, but I yielded to his assurances that nothing like that would ever happen again.

Fast-forward: We’ve been married for two years. We’ve had some fairly sizable arguments over his need for attention and approval from other women. I don’t actually believe he has cheated on me physically, but I recently found out he lied to me again about taking women to lunch while traveling for business.

I’ve had enough; I have a hard time believing anything he says. Now he wants to go to counseling and says I need to keep the “commitment” to our marriage. I say that I’m out of “chances” and do not want to waste more time with empty promises and assurances. I feel like we would just be delaying the inevitable. He’s definitely pushing my guilt buttons, and he knows my propensity to do what I “should” do in the eyes of others. — Heading for the Door

Dear Head: First of all, “the eyes of others” fit in nowhere in a decision about a marriage, because others are in no position to know what is going on or how it feels.

Second, are you waiting for a building to fall on your head? This man is a serial liar whose promises mean nothing. And what you call “his need for attention and approval from other women” is the kiss of death — for him. I agree with you about not wasting any more time. If you do, you could very well wake up as a middle-aged woman with a rotten marriage and a husband who has lots of “likes” on Facebook. — Margo, supportively

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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42 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I admire you for your restraint over the past 15 years in voicing your opinion about the cad your daughter married.  I don’t think I could have remained silent!  By all means, IF SHE ASKS, tell her you will support her decision to leave the guy.  If she decides to do so, encourage her to get good legal advice so she will have the financial wherewithal to rebuild a life for herself. 

    LW#2:  Whoa!  You have been in serious denial and I hope you are now waking up.   I would bet a steak dinner that he has cheated on you not only *emotionally* (if you can call his hamhanded sexual bantering emotion) but has cheated and is cheating on you physically because unfortunately, there are always women as desperate as you were when you first hooked up with him who will tolerate his behavior and lies.  If you are the type who worries about what people think you *should* do, consider that his facebook activity is fairly public so a whole lot of people know you are married to this loser with *inappropriate* posts to women not his wife and think his wife is a sucker for putting up with him and that she *should* leave his sorry behind.   And when you do, see a good therapist to figure out why you are willing to put up with this nonsense.    

    • avatar Constance Plank says:

      I cannot express this better that Katharine has already.
      This makes me sad, not because I disagree, or am in competition with Katharine, but because I like expressing my own opinions.

      Bless you, K. you are right on the money! I’ll deal with you expressing my opinions!

      Constance in the Sierra Foothills of CA, where we are really tired of all the smoke, thank you!

  2. avatar JCF4612 says:

    1) My concern would be that your daughter might not be able to support herself in the manner to which she’s become accustomed. If her cheating louse of a husband is providing a generous meal ticket and a life of leisure, is she ready to go it alone, with a possible need to clock in somewhere five days a week? Child support and alimony don’t last forever. If asked — not the IF — point out the downside to termination. 

    2) Boost your own self-esteem and give Romeo the gate.   

    • avatar LuckySeven says:

      1) Let the daughter worry about that. She might not be able to maintain the same standard of living but, if she’s come to her senses, she’ll be OK with a small apartment and a life free of the philandering loser.

    • avatar mayma says:

      So, help me understand this, JCF.

      If LW2 is getting a “generous meal ticket and a life of leisure,” should she also consider the “downside to termination?” Why is the advice different for her? Why should LW1’s daughter trade her self-esteem for security, but not LW2?

      I mean, it’s ridiculous. Alimony doesn’t last forever, so you’d better just suck it up?! You can’t be serious? This isn’t 1950. Women have options.

      • avatar JCF4612 says:

        Mayma … the differentiation, as I see it, is that LW1 is from the mother … I don’t see that the daughter is doing much other than bitching once in a while, and my guess is that for whatever crazy reason, she prefers her life of comfort to getting out there, asserting independence, and earning her own keep.

        By contrast, LW2 is writing in about herself and the cad she married. Not that much time is invested, and they (thankfully) have no kids. As Margo points out, he’s a serial liar and a jerk to boot. Dumping him is a no-brainer without anything much at stake.  


    • avatar Abby Stevens says:

      As I know unfortunately all too well, alimony can last a long time. There are a handful of states in this country that have laws basically providing for permanent alimony, after a marriage as short as ten years. And NJ goes a step further, with the alimony receiver having the ability to file suit for larger amounts of alimony every couple of years. Until there is a “change in circumstances” (basically meaning the receiver has remarried), and even then the payer has to petition the court to have it changed (or could be put in jail for nonpayment). It creates awful incentives on both sides. In my case, I am not marrying my significant other because he is in this position, and I don’t want joint income being considered when she does try to sue for more money. She is relatively young and could (and previously did) make good money, however decided she would rather do nothing. Ultimately he left because he was being taken advantage of, but unfortunately the legal system is set up so that someone like this can take advantage of someone who works hard for the rest of their lives.

  3. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LW1 – It is obvious to me that your daughter stays because she likes the life she is leading – she likes the life the “skunk” is providing.  If not, she would have left long ago.  It appears that she is happy in the arrangement or she would have left eons ago. My advice to you is to stay out of it.

    LW2 – run far and run fast – but then again – judging by your post you are a glutton for punishement.  You know the score.,  Your rat bastard husband is constantly looking for attention from others.  If he has not cheated, it is only a matter of time.  I am sorry to appear harsh but I have no sympathy for people in your situation.  Live with it or get out.  Simple choices.  Quit whining and do what you need to do or get off the pot.

  4. avatar lincer says:

    I too agree with Margo and Katherine.  C’mon its the old “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…..”

    To both letter writers, Get rid of the loser ducks. 

    (I would rather have used an f in place of the d, but I’m trying to be good)

  5. avatar htimsr40 says:

    (My daughter does not work because the skunk makes a nice living.)

    First, having raised two kids … your daughter DOES work … just not outside the home for a salary.

    But, putting aside the mischaracterization of her work status, she doesn’t like the business deal she made for herself?

    She likes the lifestyle that the money he earns buys her … she doesn’t like what has gone along with it. She picked a bad company to be employed by. One can always sell one’s stock and move on to a different company.

    • avatar LuckySeven says:

      Sorry, but get over it. Everybody works. We all know what is meant by this so we can stop beating the pseudo-feminist horse about it. Mom’s point was that her daughter doesn’t have an outside income.

      • avatar jabbeycat says:

        No, LuckySeven, not everybody works. Some people have a spouse who makes enough money for them not to work and they choose to spend their time doing other things, like volunteering or caring for their aging parents or grandparents. Some people, especially women, do not work by choice and their spouses support this. I’ve been on both sides, I’ve worked and I’ve not worked by choice. I’m very fortunate and very thankful.

        LW1 – Depending on the market your daughter lives in, leaving her husband might be a bit difficult financially. Even with a decent settlement and alimony, she will likely have to work and finding a job if you have been unemployed for years is a challenge to say the least. Even if you have good work experience and went to a top school. I would completely support her leaving her husband if she is unhappy in that situation, but she should look at the financial ramifications before leaving him. It might be that if you she makes the decision to leave him, she needs to plan her exit. No lifestyle is ever worth your dignity.

        LW2- I’m sorry, but if you think he isn’t cheating, you’re dreaming. Run. Then get tested.

        • avatar Katharine Gray says:

          I really do not want to get into the *mommy wars* here, but to suggest that *not everyone works* and then point out that some women volunteer and take care of aging parents as an example of *not working* seems odd to me.  I am sure that there are some very privileged women who are married to profoundly rich men who do nothing all day but eat bon bons and drink cosmpolitans while their au pairs, cooks, chauffeurs, maids and assistants attend to the mundane aspect of keeping their lives going, but I don’t see anything in LW#1’s letter to suggest that her daughter is in this category.    I have *worked* and *not worked* and I will tell you that I would vastly prefer to attend a business meeting than clean a toilet or worse, change an aging parent’s diaper.   And while I recognize that some *volunteer* work is just a matter of writing a check and seeing your name on a program and climbing socially,  there are volunteers who actually do things like dole out food in food kitchens, sort through other people’s discards to put something up for sale at Goodwill, take food on Meals for Wheels etc.  I’m not a big volunteer person but I know some who are and I know how much time and effort and stress it can be for them.

          It is clear that if the daugher has not worked outside the home she needs to prepare herself to support herself without her husband’s money and that the sooner she does so the better.   But I am a little surprised at the venom of some posters who suggest she is just in the marriage for the money.  She has kids, she married the guy, she loves him, and maybe is hoping for him to change.  He will not.   The LW says her daugher is talking about getting out of the marriage.  My earlier post stated that mom should only give her opinion if asked.  

          My crystal ball says the cad will wait until the kids are no longer minors and he doesn’t have to pay child support and then he will leave her.  The best a advice the LW can give her daughter is to get herself prepared for life without the cad.       

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            I fervently agree: NO mommy wars. I’ve been a full-time working-outside-the-home-mom, single and married, and I’ve been a SAHM, and let me tell you, I’ll take the latter any day (I had no nanny/maid/cook, no family to rely on, and a child with special needs and a toddler at the same time). Yes, you work as a SAHM, but it is a lot easier than being a working mom, or at least it was for me…and my older son WAS a handful, and the younger a very energetic, curious, very intelligent toddler. I did take care of myself, and my house, and cooked and blahblahblah. I enjoyed my kids thoroughly too. Now, the youngest is 15, and I’m going back to part-time work. I will still do the majority of the house work, but Rusty does pitch in, and so does Morgan, our son. No, I did not train them…we’re a family, and families should function as such.

            I loathe business meetings AND changing out the Diaper Genie, I hope to never have to change an adult diaper, or have my sons feel they should take on that responsibility (or my husband), and I see the necessity of cleaning as much as the need to make money, though an onerous office job is just that…a means to an end. I read my infants Stephen King, Peter Straub and T. H. White in a gentle voice while a rocked them to sleep, and sang them Chicago blues and Dead Can Dance songs and bluegrass. I was rarely bored (I have a very high boredom threshold) because there was always something to do.

            No mommy wars. Good grief. What works for one does not for another, and what I considered, and still do, relatively easy and uncomplicated another might find impossibly difficult.

            Katherine, I might add that I know women who are not stupidly wealthy, just upper middle class, who do NOT work outside the home, but who DO have a nanny or au pair, a cook, a maid and a yard person. There are quite a lot of them in the area in which I live, and they spend their time playing tennis and golf, going to have hair and nails done, or to the spa, driving enormous, $60,000 gas-guzzling vehicles, no trailer hitch, doing lunch, and shopping at the Galleria. This is actually fairly normal. Many volunteer, but it’s “dainty” volunteering, at the proper sorts of events , mostly through churches or schools. No grimy, unwashed homeless people, or donated clothing for them.

            So anyway, I got the impression from L#1, just by reading these words: “While my daughter does not complain, she has made no secret of the fact that she is mulling over giving this guy the gate.” They’ve been married 15 years. She doesn’t complain, but her mother “knows” she’s considering a divorce, or at least a separation? I think that might well be wishful thinking on LW1’s part. Her daughter has no job, no means of support (unless she’s “mulling over” significant alimony, now known in the PC world as “spousal support” as well as child support. The latter will end when the kids turn 18, and most states do NOT grant a lot of alimony these days), and she doesn’t complain…so how does mama come to the conclusion that she’s had it with Mr. Open Zipper?

            I think LW1 wants permission to broach the subject with her daughter, because she hates the cheating, lying bastard she married. I think just maybe she’s terribly frustrated by her daughter’s indifference (no complaints) to his wanton ways. I would be. I’d want to get my ass-kicking leg in gear. I’d really want to believe that my child had enough self-respect and integrity to walk away from a putz like that. But I’m not inclined to delude myself, and I think LW1 is perhaps seeing something that isn’t there.

            Her daughter may have reached a modus vivendi. He can do whatever he wants, as long as she has no actual knowledge of his philandering. In return, she keeps her lifestyle. Maybe for her this is a reasonable trade-off. Her mother is not privy to all of her thoughts and secrets, and that’s pretty much the way it should be. An adult married 15 years is free to make her own decisions, no matter what her mother thinks.

          • avatar jabbeycat says:

            Katharyn, when I said not everyone works, I simply meant not everyone works for pay. That is not to say that volunteer work is not at all work or that raising children or running a house are not work, all those things are a different kind of work. As far as your volunteer work description, you and I apparently live in two different worlds, as in mine, someone who simple wrote a check isn’t actually volunteering. It’s great that they’re giving money, but that isn’t volunteering, it’s simply donating money. Volunteer work is hands on. It’s serving dinner to the members of a shelter, helping foster kids with social support, stuffing envelops for charity gala, hanging drywall to help renovate a building for a non-profit, these are the kinds of things a volunteer would do. I don’t know any social climbing women and I don’t think I’d want to know a person like that. My point had nothing at all to do with the so-called mommy wars. Housewife, volunteer, stay at home mom, career woman; to me, whatever a woman wants to do and can afford to do is a valid choice. I don’t think anyone is any better than the other. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having children and working, or staying home with them, or having none at all. People can judge women for different choices all they want, it just seems silly to me. You never know the other person’s motivation and desires.

  6. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: Why are you letting this (as Margo rightly calls him) serial liar push YOUR guilt buttons? How do you have any “guilt buttons”? **HE** is guilty. And I’d punch HIS guilt buttons (there’s plenty of them) continually and hard until he’s out the door/my life once and for all. He is not going to change, and you really don’t need Margo (or us) telling you what you already know. He’s a pathetic scumbag trying to make you feel guilty for HIS GUILT. Stop subjecting yourself to this liar’s nasty games; get out, get on with your life. He is the wrong and guilty party — not you.

    L #1: Might be easier said than done; you mention your daughter doesn’t work as he makes good money. What is her educational level? Did she establish a work history prior to marrying him? Does she have any marketable skills? Chances are she will balk about leaving him if he’s financially secure and her options are minimum-wage cashier (and there’s no shame in honest work such as that; but I’m just sayin’ — big $$$ difference).

  7. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #2 – “I don’t actually believe he has cheated on me physically….” Why?

    What has he done or said to warrant your trust that he would not cross the line between flirting and having sex with another woman? This particular subject grates on my nerves. There are so many men in the world that flirt shamelessly with women, gawk at other women, yet expect their significant others to accept it and chalk it up to their need to feel validated by other women. And the most annoying thing about it is the millions of women that buy that trash.

    I will bet all that I own that is the root cause of all of the crazy women that agree to swinging by their husbands. Telling themselves that it is a “turn on” to see their guy with another woman. Or the truly laughable one… “I’ve always considered myself bisexual so I don’t mind having another woman in bed with us”

    This letter writer has made huge mistakes. She clearly has esteem issues, because anyone that marries a man that showed you from the very beginning he is a pathological liar and cheat……she needs therapy. Literally. What she has essentially done is meet a man that slapped her. Forgave him and then he slapped her again. She marries him and then he slaps her again.

    Years into the marraige she then ponders…. “I can’t believe he slapped me”

    He showed you he was going to hurt you the moment you met him. It’s your fault that you chose to not believe him.

    Letter #1 – I love Margo’s answer, the only difference I would make would be to begin he conversation with “The decision is completely yours but….”  I too believe in being completely honest at all times if asked an opinion.  But only if asked. There is a vast difference between posting opinions online via blog sites and offering up your opinion to people in your day to day lives. In those instances it is always best to keep your mouth shut until asked, but once asked…..all bets are off! 🙂                 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      “I will bet all that I own that is the root cause of all of the crazy women that agree to swinging by their husbands. Telling themselves that it is a “turn on” to see their guy with another woman. Or the truly laughable one… “I’ve always considered myself bisexual so I don’t mind having another woman in bed with us””

      How these bizarre non sequiturs appears in every one of your posts, or why, I can only guess. I did not see in L#2 anything indicating that Ms. Door had been asked to swing or swap by her prevaricating husband. However, according to women who swing, 43% of them initiated swinging, as compared to 57% who stated their male partners did (not as big a gap as one might expect, eh?), and it is the men in either situation who feel the most insecurity and jealousy when polled, rather than the women, and who most frequently, by a wide margin, decide to leave the lifestyle.

      No, Rusty and I do not swing, swap, cheat or have Crisco oil parties in the garage when the moon is full. However, let’s do stop interjecting ridiculous journeys into the fevered land of “desperate woman will do anything to keep her Ma-yan” when commenting on one individual who’s so far only said that her less-than-delightful honey lies like a dog, and ought to be sacked.

    • avatar Dannygrl says:

      Ok, I usually come to this website just to read the column and browse the replies..very smart women post on here but this response made me register just to give my piece on a misunderstood slice of life..

      I was following you Belinda Joy right up until you mentioned swingers and bisexual women. Now while I am sure that there are some men who pressure women into the lifestyle and some spineless women who go along with it (and vice versa as well..much more common than people realize)..the vast majority of women who enjoy swinging are NOT as you refer to them “crazy” nor is it “laughable” that a woman who is “bisexual” would not mind a woman in bed with her husband.

      It’s fine that their sexuality is not yours, but do not pass judgement on something you don’t understand.

      For those curious, yes I am a bisexual female who does not mind sharing her significant other every now and then. To each his/her own 😀

      • avatar tj goldstein says:

        I’m right there with you Dannygrl… however, my significant other quite likes another of his own kind to make an appearance in our bed… and I like to encourage it.

        Don’t be alarmed when Belinda Joy condemns us for being unGodly and sinful and too sexualised and obviously too weak to know what we are doing is wrong and thus, blames sex on all our troubles… just remember that Belinda Joy isn’t a very happy person.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        No kidding. I hate it when I hear or see comments in places like “bisexual does NOT mean I can’t be monogamous” well actually for me yes it does because no being with a man doesn’t satisfy my urge for women, or vice versa. I can be *mostly* monogamous. I can be gender-monogamous (one guy and one girl) but I can’t go a whole lifetime with ONE person period just no not without being miserable. Luckily after many years the husband and I have found a very comfortable ground where he’s fine when I bring home “presents” for him a handful of times a year 🙂 I just don’t like doing it without my husband near as much as I do with him.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          I am bisexual. Gender is not my first consideration when finding an individual sexually attractive, and I find men and women to equally attractive with no strong preference for either gender. I am, however, monogamous, and in my case, bisexuality has no bearing on this choice. I happen to be married to a man; if he were a she, I’d still be monogamous. I don’t fault people who want to share, or enjoy bringing home “presents”…so please don’t get irate with me because monogamy is what ***I*** and my husband choose for ourselves.

          It’s quite possible that we are missing out on an occasional treat…we have discussed various possibilities, however, we are also both very hesitant to upset an extremely varied, experimental, passionate and active sex life if things went awry.

          We also still have a 15 year old at home in a not terribly privacy efficient house. This complicates life on occasion, but we still manage a remarkable degree of spontaneity.

      • avatar Belinda Joy says:

        ROFL! I love it!

        Well I am very surprised that i have such power to affect so many people on this thread, this is hilarious! Everyone cares about what I think and how I may be “judging” others.

        It’s completely lost on you ladies that you are voicing a position in which you accept and see nothing wrong with bisexuality and/or the sex practice of swinging, yet have an issue with anyone that doesn’t agree with that mindset. No indeed, to not see swinging and wife swapping as acceptable means others well….they just don’t get it….who do the think they are?  ROFL!!!!!  I really am all smiles over this reaction girls. Talk about hypocrisy. 🙂

        First of all, I truly (and you must trust me on this) don’t care about anyone’s sexuality. Heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, trans-sexual….I truly don’t spend a lot of time thinking about other’s sexual preference. However….what I said in my response to this letter writer is valid. You girls don’t have to agree with me, but I assure you it is valid.

        There ARE men like the one she explained in this letter that seek out the attention of women even though they are in committed relationships. They love flirting, they love seducing women (even when it is thrown in their wife’s face) and they DO (sometimes) fall back on the line “I’m just flirting, it’s not a big deal”   My point in my response was the correlation of giving up one’s morals and values to satisfy someone we love. Women err on the side of trying to please their man far too often by looking the other way when he flirts with others…ignoring it when he outright disrepects them when he speaks of his attraction for another woman….and yes…the ultimate disrepect in my mind, suggesting swinging. Suggesting that they bring others into their bedroom, bed and marraige just to satisfy his need for attention from another woman.

        And YES there are women that agree to engage in this simply to please the men in their lives.

        I take it you girls don’t believe this? I take it you girls think ALL women that engage in swinging are doing so because THEY want it and it has nothing to do with low self esteem or the need to keep their guy happy so he’ll stay with them. Well ladies, you are living in a fantasy world. Women have low self esteem sometimes and sometimes….they compromise their morals and values.  You all may not be doing it, but that doesn’t mean other women are like you. (See that’s the part where you are all hypocrites)

        This letter writer has esteem issues based on the degree of humiliation she has allowed him to heap on her. The only saving grace is she didn’t allow that degragation to pull her down to something as disgusting and vile (my opinion) as swinging. Yes girls, I AM saying you are engaging in something vile, but let me repeat myself, I’m not in bed with you girls (Ompf… I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit  🙂 so why do you care how I feel about swinging?

        Boy, you girls are knee deep in broken glass aren’t you? All those stones being thrown among your glass houses has left a huge mess.  ROFL!   Thanks ladies this was fun.           

        • avatar Irreverent says:

          Gosh darn it! Where’s that LIKE button when you need it??

          Thank you, Briana, for your post. (I mean it sincerely).

        • avatar Belinda Joy says:


          Let’s not kid one another, you have gone out of your way to insult me and have stated directly and in a very pointed and direct manner how you “don’t like me” over and over again. That is laughable because you don’t know me. You see a photo of me and read my words, and from that you don’t like me? That’s pretty shallow. There is a vast difference between not agreeing with someone’s opinions vs. making the leap I don’t like that person because of their opinions. That is what you do and have done when it comes to me. 

          And unlike you, I am okay with that because I am open minded when it comes to accepting not everyone is going to agree with me. You and others that post on this site act like “mean girls” in high school, as if you are part of the “cool clique”  Well this isn’t high school. This is a place where people that don’t always agree with what others are going to say post their opinions. If you and others are such sensitive wilting flowers that you can’t handle that, my response is oh well.

          I’m not bisexual and I am grossed out at the thought of being with another woman. What does that have to do with you? Why do you care that I am grossed out? Why isn’t your immediate thought response “Well she doesn’t know what she is missing out on….:-) “ and go on with your life. Instead your immediate response is to pounce! How dare she judge me!

          Your way of looking at life is very different than mine for sure. Keep the attacks coming, I find them terribly amusing.  As I said, this is fun.           

  8. avatar HoustonGal says:

    Letter #2: I would agree with all the comments posted here, except for a phrase you said ‘ We’ve had some fairly sizable arguments over his need for attention and approval from other women’.

    He may be a love and sex addict. People who are love addicts compulsively crave attention and approval from other people. In some cases, gender, doesn’t even matter. Addictions are not curable but treatable, and the fact he wants to go for counseling is a good sign.

    However you have all rights to end this marriage now. I guess it all depends on how you feel about him and whether you still love him. There is no ‘doing the right thing’ in other people’s eyes, they are not the ones having to live with this.

    The reason why I know about this is because my ex-husband was a love addict and so is my son. Now that I have a son with the same condition I understand what this is about much better.

  9. avatar redhead says:

    LW#1 – Some women don’t care if their man isn’t monogamous. I think the man’s attitude is that those other women are for sex only, but the wife is the one he LOVES. If she likes the rest of her lifestyle, who am I to judge. She certainly isn’t the only woman out there married to a wanderer.

    LW#2 You, on the other hand, don’t seem to like the wanderer. Cyber stalking him is only going to make you more insecure and jealous, maybe time to pull the plug.

  10. avatar Michelles11 says:

    LW2 To make it perfectly clear, if you don’t get it by now:  HE IS CHEATING.  In every way possilble.  Run.

  11. avatar mjd4 says:

    LW1 seems think that now that the children are teens, it is a good time to get a divorce. A lot of people think this way, and it is not true. Research has shown that the teen years can be the worst time, with teens often taking it harder and taking a longer time to get over their parents’ divorce.

    Please note, I am NOT saying that they should stay together for the sake of the children. A household filled with deception and resentment is not great for the children, either. There are many factors to be weighed and the answers are not simple. I just object to the assumption that it won’t affect the kids because they are old enough.

  12. avatar wendykh says:

    LW1, it’s a shame your daughter has spent years complaining to you and doing nothing about her situation because now it’s a predicament where if she stays you’ll be appalled. I suggest detaching. It’s truly not your problem.

    LW2, your husband has no business asking YOU to keep a commitment he was not himself keeping. If he’s serious he can go to counselling alone. Trust me as one who has walked that road with a very similar man, his goal is to get you to counselling and to SHUT UP so he can go back to his fun. He may well love you, but he’s not ready to be the husband he wants to be or that you want him to be. If he’s serious about fixing it he can go to counselling ALONE first because YOU are not the problem here. He’s the one lying and sneaking around and looking for female approval and he wants joint counselling? Forget that. He’s not even willing to see HE is the problem yet. Get out now before you get in too deep. Not worth it! I’d be fascinated to know why his previous wife is no longer in the picture? Mmmm hmmm.

  13. avatar ann penn says:

    Re LW1
    One poster has dealt with the impact on of divorce teen kids, something to be considered IMO.

    I am not up with current laws, but I think the wife needs to do a little research before proceeding with divorce. I believe that if she stays married 5 more years she will be entitled to support from his Social Security and pension. She should do NOTHING without consulting an attorney first, and go to the attorney with a clear understanding of the current financial situation they are in (debts, assets, joint ownership, savings, etc.)

    • avatar lebucher says:

      You have to be married at least 10 years to be able to claim Social Security benefits (retirement, and I think also disability) based on your spouse’s income.  The other financial items are variable by laws in their state of residence.

  14. avatar Diane Shaw says:

    Ltr. #1 – Margo is right on the money! Should your daughter ask, just lay it on the line and be supportive.  Be careful in thinking that her asking will give you license to bash her husband.  That might backfire, causing your daughter to defend him.  Cheer inwardly while staying matter-of-fact outwardly. 

    Ltr. #2 – See Ltr. #1.

  15. avatar Daniele says:

    LW #1, it seems that right now, your daughter has no real means of supporting herself. Whether she divorces Mr. Cheat or not is a bit less of a priority than you daughter making sure she has a way to have her own life. Someday, he WILL trade her in for a younger model and she’ll be left with what? Cheaters do that. Once his idea of an acceptable time to divorce comes along, he’ll take action. Even if you do not have divorce discussion, you should talk to her about developing skills and networking for a future career. It’s never too late to go to college, etc.

  16. avatar J. Smith says:

    LW1: If your daughter asks for your opinion, encourage her to either get a job, or learn a skill so she can eventually support herself. But do not be surprised if you find out that your daughter prefers living with a philanderer to taking responsibility for her own financial life. From your letter, I got the impression that she is not that unhappy with her current life.

    LW2: I am amazed you married this man. Marriage does not change a person’s basic personality. Leave him now. Counseling would only be a waste of time.

  17. avatar staili says:

    I love the colorful phrasing in the first letter! “four-door, gold-plated cheater,” “giving this guy the gate,” “by my lights” — the LW is probably a hoot! She also doesn’t seem like someone who is reluctant to give an opinion…

    • avatar Hellster says:

      @ staili, I, too, appreciated LW#1’s turn of phrase. She sounds like a plain-spoken broad, the kind Jessie Royce Landis played in the movies. Strange to think she raised such an insipid daughter; however sometimes it works out that way.

  18. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Re: L#1: In my life, I’ve known two women who married serial cheaters and their money/lifestyles/security. They would always “suspect” what everyone else knew, and when the suspicions ramped up sufficiently, they would run to someone suggesting that they’d “had enough”. Of course, everyone had quite a lot more than hints, rumors and allegations…neither of the men was the subtle sort…and both women were given support, suggestions to get it together and leave, not tolerate the infidelity anymore. Some of the friends were extremely outspoken, some were gentle hints.

    In neither case did the women leave their husbands. I would not term them “wimps”, though I think that such women are on a par with the world’s oldest profession in a very real sense, as they trade themselves for a life of luxurious material gain. Neither was willing to work, to leave her wealthy life, or to move on…even after her children were grown and gone. For all I know, and I would guess it’s true, they’re both still married to their cheating, lying husbands…unless one of them died.

    Point is LW1, if your daughter asks, give your opinion, but don’t expect her to take it to heart. She sounds like she just needs to kvetch on occasion, but is basically content with the cash bull she married, regardless of his philandering. I doubt she WANTS to work 40 hours a week, divide property, sacrifice her leisure time and alter her lifestyle. If you don’t want to hear about it anymore after she doesn’t listen, set your personal boundaries and tell her, “You bought it, you named it, and you won’t give it up, so live with it and don’t whine to me about it”.

  19. avatar hillidaa says:

    When first I read LW#2, I actually thought that it sounds like she might be the overbearing type. I have know friends in my own life that would throw hissy fits if their male counterpart were to be friends with another women, and thus, those men may be deceitful when all they really wanted was to have some friends that were girls. We don’t know the nature of the “suggestive” comments, and to someone sensitive to these issues might find a comment like “Your hair looks great” to be a come on.

    It seemed unusal to me that if he were such a cad, that he’d want marriage counseling, since that would really highlight his problems, not hers. But I don’t know as many cads as I do possesive women, so I could be off on that.

    Ultimately though, I realized that it doesn’t matter. If she does not trust him, no matter whose fault it is, it likely not going to work out.

  20. avatar Amy says:

    LW#2 is the perfect example of the definition of GULLIBLE.

  21. avatar Briana Baran says:

    So, WoW, who is doing the moderating these days? Back to your old ways, I see. Please do erase all comments so that nothing makes sense, then allow certain members to be insulting, specious creeps while others have to deal with their cranial-rectal inversions. I still wonder precisely what said members contribute to the site. Money? Favors? A certain attraction to nether orifices?

    I don’t take it personally, but it is a revolting habit that not a single site other than this one that I frequent indulges in: favoritism. Fairly “high school” for a site supposedly dedicated to mature women.

  22. avatar BunnyinGlasses says:

    LW#1 – Did your daughter go to college, or does she have any marketable skills? I know the economy is tough in many places, but quite honestly, a job as a barista while one gets on their feel ought to be a welcome alternative to being constantly humiliated. And if they do divorce, I’d say that with some documenting, she could get a nice chunk of alimony and child support.

    If you’re going to advise that she leave the jerk, realize that she will most likely be very dependent on you for some time. Emotionally and maybe financially. Be prepared to help find a good divorce lawyer and to help guide her to the right track. As I often do, I’m going to recommend that your daughter sees a counselor. She’ll need insurance, probably, but she could also perhaps find some support groups or get recommendations for an affordable counselor. (If her kids are in high school, the school counselor could make a recommendation. It’s all supposed to be confidential.)

    FTP, I used to work for a company that specialized in services to incredibly wealthy people. We did not solicit business unless the home’s value was at least one million–and even that was slumming it. The clients’ personal lives were known in the office, and it was SAD how many wives were living in a pseudo-marriage because they didn’t want the other woman to walk into that lifestyle.

    LW#2 – Take off your blinders, dump the creep and thank your lucky stars you were only asleep at the wheel for two years or a little more–not sure how long you were dating. Seriously, this is a disgusting situation and I suggest seeing a lawyer, pronto, as well as a therapist to help figure out why you ignored your instincts and stayed with this guy. Make yourself less of an easy mark and get some help growing a spine.