When I first started writing an "advice" column, I figured that people that wrote in to advice columns were really just writing in for someone to validate something they already knew. But after getting hundreds of variations on the same 3 questions from equally earnest people, I realized that people do think random strangers know more than they do! However, not all advice columnists have actual good advice, and thus Jezebel is here to provide an alternate point of view, as a public service.
Dear Cary: My husband and I have had a relationship for the past eight years, though we have only been married for three. We have two adorable young children. Five years ago, my husband had a sexual encounter (without intercourse) with one of my close friends...
We have since gotten past this, and I eventually even trusted him again. However, my sister recently told me that on two occasions in the past three months my husband has kissed and groped her when they were both drinking. After I confronted him, he told me about four other instances in which they kissed and touched. All of the occurrences he mentioned, he said, were initiated by her a year ago or more. He denied the instances she had told me about, which were much more recent and which, she said, were initiated by him. He claimed that he didn't remember doing anything she had accused him of, but when I asked if he thought he could have, he said yes.... There was no actual intercourse, and I realize that people make mistakes, especially when there is alcohol involved. The fact that it happened so many times and that it was with my sister makes it so much harder to forgive. I love him and want to have my family, but why should I believe he won't do it again?
Um, you shouldn't believe him, and he will do it again. Alcohol doesn't make anyone a different person, it just limits your ability to repress whatever it is that you can successfully hide sober. When I drink too much and have the right trigger, I get emotional, insecure and weepy because that's what I'm most embarrassed to be sober. When your husband drinks, he has trouble keeping his dick in his pants and his hands/tongue to himself (as if that's only a problem when he's drinking). Fidelity is, obviously, a bit more work for him than the average person, as is honesty, openness and basic decency (your sister! Good God!).
So, what you are married to is a man who says he didn't actually fuck your close friend before you were married (did you ask if blow jobs count?) and then says he remembers sucking face with your sister 4 times while "groping" her (so, how do you feel about finger-banging and hand jobs?) and doesn't remember the other two times but thinks it's possible. Great. You also have a husband who knows that he faces basically no consequences for his actions and has no real reason to stop (because, obviously, your feelings aren't that important).
So, you have two options. Either accept that he's not ever going to faithful and leave, or accept that he's not ever going to be faithful and have an open marriage. But, either way, stop bullshitting yourself that a man who has probably fucked around far more than you even know is ever going to be a one-vadge man, regardless of the alcohol. He's not.
Dear Margo: I am 55 and have been married to a wonderful 62-year-old man for 20 years. I have always felt our marriage was strong. However, during the last nine months he has been corresponding by e-mail with a 40-year-old woman he met through work a year ago. She is a single mom who lives in another state. One day I noticed that he quickly exited his e-mail when I walked into the room, so I began to read these e-mails, though he doesn't know I can. The letters seem innocent enough, exchanging news and photos, jokes, etc., though I would say she is definitely encouraging him. He asked her to send him a photo of herself, which she did, and the one she chose was obviously selected to show off her curves. He spends a lot of time sending these e-mails, reading them and re-reading them. He is careful not to let me see them and runs to the computer if he forgets to close out the program. Although he told me all about her when he met her, he now never mentions her, or news of her, when clearly he has lots! He has also been talking in a sad way that he is old and life is short, and I think he is wishing he was younger so he could have a new life and try his hand with her. I love him but am not keen on being with someone who is constantly thinking of someone else. Can you advise?
Yeah, sure. Your husband isn't just sending a couple of little emails, and he doesn't just have a crush. Has he, say, recently installed an IM program? Taken a couple of short trips recently? I mean, really. When was the last time you asked someone to whom you weren't related for a picture of himself? When was the last time you read and re-read correspondence to or from someone you weren't either incredibly pissed at or (at least) emotionally involved with.
Nonetheless, you don't really want advice about whether to stay. You're reading your husband's email, after 20 years. You suspect (and, likely correctly) that he's having some kind of affair. You are pretty sure that, after 20 years of marriage he's willing to put your health (and/or life) and your marriage at risk for a younger piece of ass. Do you want to stay? Really? I mean, you're an adult woman. You don't need someone's permission to leave, so stop asking. Do what you want to do and what you think will make you less unhappy than you are now, and stop waiting for someone to tell you it's ok.
My real advice, though, is to run (not walk) to your doctor and get yourself tested for STIs. Studies show they're on the rise in folks your age, in no small part because men like your husband fuck younger women like his mistress without condoms because they're poorly educated about disease and are only occasionally worried about knocking someone up. And, because if he loved you and cared about your well-being (emotional or physical) he probably wouldn't be putting it to another woman.
My husband is groping my sister [Salon.com]
Men, Menopause and the Proverbial Red Sports Car [Dear Margo]
Are older people at risk of sexually transmitted infections?A new look at the evidence [Reviews in Clinical Gerontology]