DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Wavering," whose husband wanted her to accompany him to a swingers' party, was right on. If she goes, not only will the dynamics of her marriage change forever, she may never regain her self-confidence.
My husband talked me into the same thing in 1978, soon after our first child was born. I knew his first marriage had failed due to boredom, affairs, etc., and I naively thought it would keep him from straying. By the late '80s, I could no longer handle the lifestyle and the constant worry about AIDS. I finally got strong enough to say, "No more!"
In 2001, one year short of our silver anniversary, I learned my husband had been having affairs throughout our entire relationship, with or without the parties. We have been separated ever since, but only recently has he admitted that he needs help and is finally getting it -- too late for us.
Throughout our entire marriage, I never felt good enough because my husband always wanted something more. I didn't know until I began counseling, after our separation, that there was nothing I could have done to change his behavior or to satisfy him.
I wish I could take back all the swinging. I am so ashamed. I have herpes, but thank God I don't have AIDS. (By the way, he infected me with herpes before we ever started going to the swingers' parties.) I was too blind to see the truth.
Please tell "Wavering" NEVER to give in. Due to his sexual addiction, it's possible that her husband is already cheating. -- FOOLED FOR YEARS
DEAR FOOLED: Thank you for the powerful testimonial. While some couples argue that swinging opens up new doors of adventure, I see it as slamming the door on what should be a precious, meaningful, mutual demonstration of love between husband and wife.
Regret is the cancer of life. You cannot change the past. I hope you are still in counseling because it will help you to forgive yourself for your mistake.