Q: “I have been married 21 years, and my husband is a pathological and habitual liar. In the beginning he was an attentive husband and caring person, but for the past 3 and 1/2 years he has had an affair; he has pursued this woman and financially supported her and is still lying. He states he has broken it off after being caught for the hundredth time. I need him to break it off in front of me but he refuses to do so. We have had three physical confrontations in the past 21 years, which resulted in minor injuries to us both the last two times. We still live together because of financial obligations; we have a 20-year-old autistic son and it seems to keep us together. I just don’t want to do this anymore. I have met someone who makes me smile — a younger man — and I just want to know what to do. We went to counseling once and he lied the entire time and was still carrying on the affair with this same woman. Please help. I’m just tired.” -- Vickie
A: Vickie, this is not about your husband, who you described as a “pathological and habitual liar” and a longstanding adulterer. Let’s not forget, you also mentioned that there have been three physical altercations that have ended in “minor injuries.” How much is enough? Again, this is not about your husband, it is all about you. For whatever reason, after 21 years of marriage, you still think he’s going to change. Really? Why? He has proven over and over again that he is going to do what he wants to do, regardless of how you feel. It is quite obvious that he wants to have his cake and eat it too.
You stated that he has another woman that he is dating and supporting financially. It doesn’t matter if he breaks it off with her verbally in front of you or behind your back. It is not going to end as long as he is still emotionally attached and involved with her. Why should he give up the other woman if you’re going to continue to be totally disrespected and tolerate his behavior? It appears that you are using your 20-year-old autistic son and financial obligations as excuses for staying with this man. If he has money to support the other woman, he definitely has enough money to find another place to live. Given that you have an autistic son, your husband is still financially responsible for helping meet his needs. This may mean some changes in your lifestyle, but it would definitely be worth the peace of mind if you are really tired. Regarding the younger man who makes you smile, keep smiling but keep it moving — especially if he offers as little as your husband does now. -- Dr. Sherry