DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, my 50-year-old husband confessed that 46 years ago, shortly after our son was born, he had a one-night stand with a total stranger that he had ridden to. She offered him sex and they went to a hotel for the brief encounter. He said he completely forgot until recently. He said he was very upset when he remembered, to the point where he felt sick.
He decided to tell me because he didn’t want any secrets between us and he asked me to forgive him. I forgave him, but I’ve been devastated ever since. He was a virgin when we married, and he was unfaithful only this once.
Abby, I can’t get over him doing this to me. Not a single day goes by without the pain and images of his being unfaithful in a marriage that I thought was near-perfect until then. Take hold of me and make me very sad. I don’t cry so much anymore, but the intensity of the pain hasn’t let up.
I haven’t spoken to anyone else about it. My husband loves me and has been very supportive of me, but it has not been enough to heal this pain. Your words of wisdom are valued. – Wounded in Florida
Dear Wounded: Your husband decided 46 years ago to calm his guilty conscience about this one-time infidelity and to impose it on you. It would have been kinder if he had “confessed” to his spiritual advisor.
Focus on the fact that what happened (once) four years after you got married is less relevant than the quality of the relationship you shared over the next nearly half a century. Since it’s been two years since your husband told you and you are still in emotional pain, it is advisable to seek help from a licensed marriage and family therapist. When you pronounce it, these feelings can dissipate so that you are no longer haunted by the images in your head. Please don’t wait for it. Your doctor will be the first to ask for a referral.
DEAR ABBY: I’ve read how narcissistic, angry, depressed people shame others and spread lies on social media. Can I take a moment to remind your readers that they don’t HAVE to have social media? I stopped looking at it two years ago after my sister died. People said some terrible things, so I decided enough was enough – I’m done. Not only did I not miss it, I’m much more peaceful and less stressed out. I connect with people I love through email, text messages, and sometimes good old-fashioned letter writing. That is OK for me. – FREEDOM RESTORED IN CALIFORNIA
LOVE FREEDOM RESTORED: I have received more and more letters from people about issues that have a social media element. For those who are overwhelmed, I recommend limiting your online time.
For people who have become victims of trolls, another solution is to simply block them or delete them.
I share your suggestion for anyone in need – and I suspect there are some. However, separating from social media is more laborious as the high school leavers have to decide not only who they want to communicate with, but also the means by which to do so.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.