DEAR ABBY: I have started this letter many times, not finishing it because I know the answer to the advice I seek. I am a 48-year-old woman, married to a wonderful man for 10 years.
For the last 21 years, I have been having an affair.
It started when my first marriage came apart. My lover is a handsome younger man. Over the years I divorced, he married, I remarried, he became a widower -- and we continued our affair.
To our family and friends, we are old friends. We are thrown together for all occasions and no one has ever suspected. As the old song goes, "Daytime friends, nighttime lovers."
I know this affair must end. It has to, before we hurt and disappoint our families and friends. I love him and always will. But I need to know how to end it after all these years. -- NAMELESS
DEAR NAMELESS: The first step is to tell your lover exactly what you have told me -- that you want the affair to come to an end. Ask him to help by limiting the number of social occasions when you will be thrown together. (An eligible, attractive widower must get many invitations, not to mention offers.) You are both adults, and with mutual cooperation you can eliminate the opportunities to succumb to temptation.
The alternative would be to tell your husband what has been going on all these years. That, I guarantee, would end it.