DEAR ABBY: I am married to a man who cheated on me for 30 years. First there was a long-distance romance with my high school girlfriend that lasted 28 years. Then he had another affair with a woman from church. It went on for eight years that I know of.
He always accused me of being "evil" because I expressed concern about his fidelity. Of course, when I found solid evidence of his affairs, it was, "It's over," and "It'll never happen again," etc. But the affairs continued, and I didn't leave. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I'm afraid of what's out there.
Is there something wrong with me? I know I'm "settling." But I am terrified of starting over. Everywhere I look, I don't see prospects that are any better. Are they ALL dogs? -- DEFLATED IN RALEIGH, N.C.
DEAR DEFLATED: Not all men are dogs, nor are they adulterers like the one you married. There are good men out there, but, like gold nuggets, it takes exploration to find them.
What you don't seem to appreciate is that there are worse things than being alone -- and one of them is the pain of having a husband who makes you feel you never measure up. You have paid a price for living with the evil you know rather than risking the unknown. If you do decide to divorce, you will need time to heal and rediscover yourself before you go prospecting for another mate, because the way you feel about yourself will dictate the kind of life partner you'll attract.