I have a question for you that I’m more than a little uncomfortable asking. I believe my husband of thirty-eight years is having an affair. He is sixty-seven and I’ve just turned sixty-five. We’ve had a long and, I would say, happy marriage filled with children, travel, good friends, much success. We have always, to this point at least, been open and honest with one another. His behavior toward me hasn’t changed and our life together continues in the same very pleasant way. But he’s more distracted than usual; his thoughts seem to wander and there’ve been a number of nights over the past few months when he’s come home late from the office, which is unusual for him. While we are very affectionate and close, we stopped having sex years ago. He claims he’s just not interested in it anymore, but I wonder. I could ask him outright if he’s been seeing someone else, but why rock the boat I ask myself. Why change the status quo and open Pandora’s Box? In other words, I might be better off not knowing what I don’t know. My question is, at this point in my life do I want to ask questions that might lead to unhappy changes? And since my husband and I don’t have a physical life together anymore, is it okay to just leave things as they are?
Thank you very much,
A Seasoned Wife
I think you know the answers to both those questions: yes and yes. In marriages where there are meaningless infidelities it’s always best “not to know what you don’t know,” as long as you are disciplined enough with yourself to put the situation out of your mind and not fret over it. However, if you get to the point where the whole thing begins to really disturb you, you will have to decide if you want to A) confront him and B) what you will do if he admits to being unfaithful. You might not know till you get there. And you may be surprised. A yes to infidelity could make you so unhappy that you decide to leave the marriage, or it could bring the two of you closer together in the way that honest discussion and understanding often can. I suggest you take it slowly and be philosophical.
All the best,
REACTIONS TO TOO MANY CATS
My mother is an animal hoarder and it’s very hard to deal with. She loves her cats, has far too many (thirty-three and counting), and refuses to give them up. We’ve found dead cats in her freezer — the poor things fell ill and she didn’t have time to cremate or bury them. It’s a really stressful situation and nothing we do seems to change it. At this point, neither my husband nor I can stand being at her house. We’ve tried getting her to see a therapist without success. I wish you better luck.
Linda G., Dallas, TX
I suggest you give your girl a chance. Sounds like you’re happy together and five cats isn’t the end of the world. My wife is a dressage rider, has four horses, three dogs, and god knows how many cats (we have a barn and need ratters). It’s a good arrangement for all, especially our children who have benefitted from growing up with lots of animals. So hang in there.
Peter M., Katy, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.