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Happiness takes work, not quick fixes

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 43 years. I have a good life, or so I thought. I recently found out that he has had an affair. When I asked him about it, he told me that it was only for eight months. And he said the reason was because I would not initiate sex. Ha, that is a two-way street. Anyway, I did some checking and found out that it was for two years. He has seen her on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And he even met with her on OUR anniversary. Then I found out that he went to see her a few hours after I had major lung surgery.

He has cried and told me how sorry he is. And how dumb he was for doing this. Every day since I found this out, he has said he is sorry. But here is my problem. First, he lent her some money — not much, but $400, and she paid back $100. He has been calling her wanting the rest. I found out he called her, and he told me yes, he wants his money. I told him to forget it.

Second, he has had back surgery three times. The last one left him with numbness and weakness in both legs. And he now has some kind of erectile dysfunction. So I am wondering if he stopped seeing her to come to me so I can take care of him. We have had sex, but he is different somehow. It is not the same as it used to be, and it really makes me wonder.

How do I get over this feeling that he may still be seeing her and talking to her? I found a burner phone with her number on it. I broke it.

I don’t want to go to counseling. Just some easy steps to get over all this garbage. — Sucker-Punched in Indiana

Dear Sucker-Punched in Indiana: It’s time to start punching back. Not literally, of course, but through your actions. You might not want to go to counseling, but you really don’t have a choice — for your sake, not his. Your husband has treated you very unfairly, and you deserve better. Trust your gut. If you feel that things are different, then chances are things are different.

Different can be OK. While change is scary, it can also be wonderful for transformation. But you have to do the work. Figure out what makes you happy and what you want out of life. Hopefully, through therapy, you can learn to forgive your louse of a husband for what he did and move on — with him or without him. In the end, that will be your decision. But in the meantime, it is very important for you to focus on yourself.

Sadly, there is no quick fix, but if you do the emotional work each day, you will get better and better. Eventually, you will be so far removed from the feelings that he has inflicted on you that you will wonder how someone as wonderful as you ever dealt with a partner who lied and betrayed you.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)

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