We recently heard from Charlotte, who was living with her twice-divorced boyfriend. He was 51; she was 44. He told her his first wife cheated and he and his second wife "grew apart." They have sex about once a week.
Five months ago, he started spending a lot of time online. She was suspicious and checked his browsing history. He'd been looking at sex webcams daily and checking out lesbian personal ads on Craigslist, along with an ad for a woman seeking a man and an ad for a marriage counselor.
She also checked his Facebook account and found archived messages from a woman he used to work with. The messages made it clear that they had had webcam sex while he was married to his second wife.
Charlotte was heartsick because he was the love of her life. She asked my advice.
I told her love of her life or not, he was a liar and a cheat — and some would consider him a pervert. I said cyber cheating was still cheating and advised her to confront him with her evidence.
I warned her that she had to be prepared to break up with him if he wasn't willing to admit that he's addicted to porn and get immediate help.
I wrote, "It may sound harsh, but better to end it now than waste any more time on something that will only cause you heartache."
Charlotte is back to say, "Thank you. I broke it off with him two nights ago and started moving out last night."
Dear Cheryl: I'm 46 with two grown children. I have a great deal of resentment toward my wife of 17 years, mainly because she made me choose between being a police officer and her. I chose her.
At the time, she was a travel agent. When she decided she wasn't satisfied being a travel agent and wanted to be a Spanish teacher instead, I told her to quit her job so she could go to college full time. It was a sacrifice on my part, but I was willing to do it so she could get her degree faster.
She graduated, but guess what? She decided she didn't want to be a Spanish teacher after all, so now we're strapped with $40,000 worth of tuition bills and a second mortgage that we took out to buy her a car. She refuses to tutor or do anything with the three languages that she speaks — Spanish, Italian and English. She also won't go back to the travel industry.
I'm bitter and resentful. I've suggested counseling, but she says we don't need it. Some days, I think I need to move on and let her figure it out on her own. — Feeling Used
Dear Feeling Used: The reason you're feeling used is because you were used. You and your wife had a deal, and she broke it. And to make matters worse, she doesn't think she even needs to give you an explanation.
You have some options. You can accept her for what she is — an untrustworthy user, liar and freeloader — and accept the fact that you will have to pay all the bills from here on out.
Or you can insist that she accompany you to therapy. If she says no, you can go by yourself.
Or you can cut your losses right now. It doesn't sound like she wants to be your partner. She much prefers being your dependent.
Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants, to [email protected] And check out my new e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."
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