Is it OK for Him to Sleep Around?

Q: It came out that my husband is seeing another woman. I've been very sad about this. He tells me I should accept his behavior since his father and uncles do it and it's very common in my culture. He tells me he loves me and he doesn't really love her and he always comes home to me. I don't know what to do. I worked to pay for his college and if we got divorced he would take all the furniture. I still love him and want to stay married.—Elida, 30

Dr. Susan: Certain cultural differences have the power to create hellish conditions for women, as we all know from reading the newspapers. In some societies women can be stoned to death for being with another man, or even for marrying a man who is the "wrong" religion. In the Western world, however, women do have options. Your husband has decided, without your consent, to sleep with whomever he desires. It doesn't make any difference to him if this behavior is extremely painful to you. Such activity also has other negative possibilities, such as his bringing a major disease home to you, his falling in love with someone else and leaving you, even his making babies with someone else.

I hear that you want to stay married. But now that you have been told that your marriage will include other women in bed with your husband, you have to think hard. If you can't accept that, then get out as soon as possible. Don't let the fact that he'll take the furniture keep you in a miserable situation. He won't change. If you push him, he may lie and say he'll change. I wouldn't trust him.

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