DEAR ABBY: You have helped so many people, I hope you can help me. I have been married more than 20 years, and we have two lovely daughters. Everything was fine until my wife started to work as a secretary for a bank branch manager.
When I found out they had been having an affair for nearly two years, it crushed me. I asked my wife if she wanted a divorce, and she said, "No." I didn't either for the sake of the children and, strange as it sounds, I still loved her.
She agreed to quit working there, and about the same time the branch manager got transferred to a branch in another city, so I thought everything was all right.
She then took a job as a secretary to an attorney in a law firm. I became suspicious when I would call her at the office at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and was told, "She and Mr. 'Jones' went to lunch and then to see a client to take a deposition."
A private detective discovered that the "deposition" was taking place in a motel! When I confronted her, she admitted that she and her boss were having an affair.
We saw a counselor and our pastor, but my wife insisted it was no big deal and everyone was doing it. She still doesn't want a divorce and assured me it was over as far as her cheating goes.
She now works in an office with only women, so I'm hopeful her cheating is a thing of the past.
Abby, how do I cope with the second infidelity, since it, too, lasted more than a year? I want to save our marriage because of the kids. I saw a psychiatrist, but he didn't help much. Any advice, Abby? I'm really hurting. -- CAN'T FORGET IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR CAN'T FORGET: I respect you for wanting to save your marriage for the sake of the children, but one person can't do it alone. A successful marriage takes the effort of two people working together.
I also admire the fact that you sought professional help in order to put these traumas behind you. However, I am troubled by your wife's attempt to excuse her infidelity by claiming, "It's no big deal and everyone is doing it." That is far from the truth, and a lame excuse at best.
If the marriage is to be healed, your wife must agree to marriage counseling to work on the issues that caused the infidelities in the first place. You have done everything you can; now the ball is in her court.