DEAR ABBY: I am a 47-year-old male, married for 26 years. I am hopelessly in love with my wife and still see her as the most beautiful woman in the world.
I have always been self-employed and have sometimes been at the extremes of feast or famine. During the bad times, I often worked 110-plus-hour weeks to save the ship.
Each time things have gotten really bad, my wife has had an affair to make up for the time, money and attention I can't provide her. I found out about her latest affair (her third) when I found a secret cellphone in her purse. For the last eight months, when she visited our daughter at college, she would check into a hotel with her lover.
I feel responsible for failing to meet her needs. She doesn't want a divorce, but admits she doubts she will ever fully stop dating, and says the effort she puts into deceiving me is proof she loves me and doesn't want to hurt my feelings.
I am amazed at the number of men willing to have sex with a married woman. My heart is broken, and I feel like a failure. Am I a fool to keep fighting for her? -- HOPELESSLY IN LOVE
DEAR HOPELESSLY IN LOVE: I hope you realize that as "beautiful" as your wife may be, your relationship with her isn't a healthy one. Please go online and look up the definition of the word "codependency."
If your wife loved you, she would prove it by doing everything in her power to help you through the rough periods, including finding a job to help with the bills, not sneaking around with other men. That she would claim her deceit is "proof of her love," and that you would believe her, is amazing.
This woman has shown no remorse; she has told you she doesn't plan to be faithful in the future. Do not let her hoodwink you into believing her infidelity is your fault because you worked yourself nearly into a physical collapse trying to save your business and provide for her. If you accept that, it would be foolish.