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by Abigail Van Buren

Bipolar Wife Leads a Double Life

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 28 years. Over the past three years, I have survived a cancer diagnosis and a serious car accident. Earlier this year, I found out my wife has been leading a double life. The doctor says it is because she's bipolar.

Over the past year, she has had five boyfriends, three online and two in person. None of what she posted online is repeatable as it is X-rated. It came to light after a checkup and blood tests that resulted in an STD diagnosis. Now my doctor wants to test me for HIV. HIV is permanent, no cure, but having it would destroy me.

I am still with my wife, but I have lost all respect. All I can think of is how I was betrayed and what little time I may have left. I don't have the money to seek help. Can you recommend some way to help me through this? -- BETRAYED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR BETRAYED: You have been through a lot, and I empathize with you. Have another talk with your doctor, and when you do, please allow him to test you. There have been major changes in the treatment of HIV since the 1980s, when it was an automatic death sentence. Many HIV-positive individuals now lead long, productive lives because they got tested and medicated, so please try to control your anxiety.

A final thought: If your wife refuses to get help for her mental illness, then you should consult a divorce lawyer.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Mental Health | Health & Safety