Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for more than 40 years. During the first five years of our marriage, he confessed to several instances of infidelity. He begged for forgiveness. I forgave him.
Well, recently, I found out he was lying and never actually had slept with other women. He told me that he had been questioning my loyalty and made up situations to see whether I loved him enough to forgive him and that I had passed the test. Well, yes, I forgave him each time because I loved him, but my feelings about him did change a little from the hurt of the supposed infidelity. I went through hell internally back then, but I didn't let him know.
I don't understand what would make someone do that. He has been an excellent husband for the past 35 years, but I could have had a much better marriage had he not lied the first five years. I can't stop thinking of how things could have been and what the real truth is. What would you suggest I do? — Happy or Sad
Dear Happy or Sad: If he truly was making up these lies about cheating as some kind of test of your loyalty, that's pretty twisted. If he did cheat but now has decided to rewrite history and pretend he wasn't an adulterer, that's pretty twisted, too. Which is true? At this point, the more important question is why he would jerk you around like this at all. Such emotional abuse is unacceptable.
Tell your husband that if you're to ever free yourselves from the tangled web he's woven, it will be through marriage counseling. If he refuses, I encourage you to attend counseling on your own.
Dear Annie: "Ongoing Unhappiness" wrote to you complaining that her daughter-in-law is a hypochondriac. She may not be.
For 30 years, I suffered pain and surgeries that I later understood most likely could have been avoided had I had a true diagnosis of fibromyositis, now known as fibromyalgia. It took 30 years to diagnose. Pain happens all over. It can feel like a bruise when someone touches you. It can cause debilitating pain when you bend over — which is the impetus for unnecessary gallbladder or kidney surgery or a hysterectomy when a doctor is mystified by the pain. I became uninsurable because of those pained years. I was misdiagnosed numerous times, had surgery after surgery and took medication after medication. None of it stopped the pain.
Too many people are considered hypochondriacs by those around them because they've never had a day free of pain. That is not to say "Ongoing Unhappiness'" daughter-in-law is in that category, but it sounds as if she could be. — Been There, Understand That
Dear Been There, Understand That: Chronic undiagnosed pain can have an incredibly dispiriting impact on one's life and outlook. I'm glad you eventually got the correct diagnosis. Perhaps your letter will inspire someone suffering similar pain not to give up looking for answers.
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