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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Many Conquests Leave Wife Feeling Defeat

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 58-year-old woman who has been married 40 years. I married at 18, put my husband through school and raised three children.

We have now been separated five years, after I found out that my husband had had numerous affairs. The last one lasted three years and I had no idea. During his last affair, he had the woman in our home and told her personal things about me. He lied and told her we were getting a divorce.

We have not divorced. Financially it would be hard. I can't seem to get over the pain and hurt. He still calls to see if I am OK. I continually visualize him with the other women. Thirty-five years is a long time, and he's the only man I have ever known.

I want to get over him, but it's hard. I now work full-time. My husband constantly sought women who admired his power and status in the community. I don't think I can ever get over his hurting me so. I tried counseling. It didn't work. He continues to call, which keeps me hanging. Should I break all ties? Is that what's holding me back? -- SAD IN OHIO

DEAR SAD: Let me talk to you like a friend and offer a suggestion: Talk to an attorney. After 40 years of marriage to a man with "power and status," one wealthy enough to afford serial "cookies" on the side, he must have accumulated enough assets that you shouldn't have to hold down a full-time job.

If you availed yourself of some of the assets to which you may be entitled, you might have enough to get more counseling and do some traveling, which might help to lessen your unhappiness. THEN you can decide whether or not to break all ties.