Dump Old Hubby?
Q: I have had an affair with a 43-year-old man for the last three years. I truly believe he is my soul mate, since the first day I laid eyes on him. He loves me back and wants me to leave my husband and go with him. The only reason I can't decide is because of my family. Should I really consider my 41 years married to a man I have no feelings for, or be with the man who makes me happy? -- Rosa, 58
Dr. Susan: Affairs are tricky things. Their secrecy provides an extra dollop (or wallop) of excitement to a relationship. It's impossible to know in advance how long the same relationship is going to last once the hidden element is gone. So let's say you dump your dull husband and go with this younger fellow. A year or two of living together might make all the difference in how you feel a about one another. And then, in a dozen years, you'll be 70, when he's just hitting 55 and very possibly having a mid-life crisis of his own. The outcome? Who knows? But before you get to that point, do the right thing. Tell your husband that you're unhappy and want a divorce. If what you have with the new guy is so genuine, seems you could both wait until you were free of other entanglements. Bottom line: yes, you ought to "consider" those 41 years of marriage and at least be honest about what's going on. But no, you don't have to stay with someone, especially if your kids are grown, for the rest of your life if it means continuing to sneak around forever. Just don't count on happily ever after just because you've switched partners.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.