Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I just discovered that my husband is, and has been, involved for quite some time with a woman in another city. He travels for business and spends at least a third of the year in Venezuela at his company’s main headquarters. It turns out that not only is he having an affair- he has a whole other life he has been maintaining for many years. This other woman is part of his business and social life, the same as I am here. She is now pregnant with their SECOND child! This is how I discovered what was going on- I found a bill from the GYN clinic in his pocket.
Aside from the sense of betrayal, I feel utter astonishment. The thing is that he is an excellent husband while he is home. He is attentive to both me and our son, he helps around the house, takes an interest in what I do, and is reasonable and responsible in the life we have built together. I have never heard even a hint that he has cheated on me here, and trust me, word nearly always gets out when something like that happens amongst my friends.
Here is my ultimate dilemma- I was completely happy before I learned the truth, and I almost wish I didn’t know. His time in Venezuela is so separate from our life here that it doesn’t touch it. If I didn’t lose face by everyone finding out, I would honestly rather live with things as they are than end what I have with him and go out alone with our son to build a new life. I don’t want a new life- I want the one I have. I just wish there wasn’t someone else sharing my husband with me.
I need some perspective on this. Can you help?
Inevitably you would have found out, even if only at the will when both you and the other wife showed up. Your life is your choice to do with what you want. There is no right way to live it. The only problem here is that you can’t become unaware once you are aware; it will just drive you nuts.
You need to make a decision, but there is no immediate need to act. Whatever you decide you need to make exigency plans, establish your own bank account and do whatever you need to insure your own security and that of your son. If you choose to stay there is no guarantee he will always come back from his other life. You should definitely seek legal counsel as to what your rights are. Your marriage, or the other, might be illegal if he married this other woman too. Keep records, receipts, and proof.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: twenty years ago, I might have advised you to dump the bastard. The irony here though is that other than having another family, your husband isn’t a bastard at all. His treatment of you during the time he spends shows that in an isolated way, he respects and cares for you and feels duty towards the family.
Unfortunately, you are living in a glass house. Circumstances have been such so far that he has not been forced to choose between you and this other woman, or to reconsider his ties to you. But what if she became ill and he decided his first loyalty was to her? What if his other children had an exceptional need for him? Or his company asked him to transfer to Venezuela permanently? This is a world of change and uncertainty and anything could happen.
Seek legal counsel. Who is he is leaving his support to in his will? Are you better educated and does he consider you to be better able to support yourself after he is gone? Change your own will if you have one. Leave everything to your son. The legal aspects are of far more importance than the emotional ones in many ways, because feelings come and go but an estate is forever.
Quite honestly, I understand your reluctance to change. There are few good men out there, and he treats you very well when he is with you. But a man who is capable of such a great deception is capable of many other things. Keep in mind that the man you know may not necessarily be the man he really is.