DEAR ANNIE: My husband and I have been married for eight years. My first marriage ended because my ex was a serial cheater and all-around creep. “Mike” seemed to be the exact opposite. However, shortly after we were married, I found out he was checking out dating sites. I confronted him, and he deleted his accounts.
Then, about two years ago, I found out he and a 22-year-old co-worker had a sexting relationship. I was going to file for divorce, but he promised me he would stop. I insisted we go to counseling, and we went a few times. He said he had never been physically unfaithful to me. I warned him that this was strike two and that three strikes and he would be out.
A few months later, I checked his Twitter account and was disgusted by the sleazy women he was communicating with. Strike three. He pleaded with me to stay. Eventually, he deleted his Twitter account and promised to stay on the straight and narrow.
A few months ago, while paying our cellphone bill, I glanced at the record of his text messages. I found several texts sent in the middle of the night to an 18-year-old high school girl whom he used to work with. Can you tell me any good reason a 60-year-old man should be texting an 18-year-old girl he does not even work with anymore?
I am getting up the courage to confront my husband about this and to most likely go through another gut-wrenching divorce. Why am I writing to you? I guess it’s just to validate my feelings — to tell me I don’t deserve this. By the way, I have never cheated on him in any way. He reads your column every day in the paper. If you would agree that a 60-year-old man reaching out to girls younger than his own daughters is creepy, he might listen. But I’m not holding my breath. — Deja Vu in Wisconsin
DEAR DEJA VU IN WISCONSIN: If you’re looking for someone to tell you that your husband’s behavior is creepy, you have come to the right place. His behavior is very creepy. The first text with a 22-year-old woman from work should have tipped you off. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is preoccupied with relationships with others. It’s time to pack your bags and head out. It might cause you pain in the short term, but in the long run, you will be liberating yourself from a lifetime of lies and deception.
DEAR ANNIE: This is in response to “Child-Free and Tired of Judgment.” My husband and I have been married for over 40 years and chose to not have children. We were told repeatedly that we would regret that decision. I can tell you truthfully that we have no regrets. We’ve always told people that we are selfish and want to do the things people with kids just can’t pick up and do. All those people who had kids — some wish they hadn’t had them, and that’s a burden, financially and psychologically, that can’t be reversed. Some have the joy of a lifetime to cherish children and grandchildren. When feasible, always re-evaluate your position. But know that the childless position you have chosen could be spot on for you. — Childless With No Regrets
DEAR CHILDLESS WITH NO REGRETS: I’m printing your letter so that it might offer comfort to anyone facing criticism for not having children — though I take issue with your calling yourself selfish. Having children out of peer pressure would have been selfish. You and your husband made the right choice for yourselves.