DEAR ABBY: This is my wife's second marriage. When we were dating, she led me to believe that I was the second sexual partner she had ever had. Shortly after our wedding, I found out through some mutual acquaintances she had attended college with that she had been very promiscuous during her college years and that the number of men she has been with is far greater than two.
I feel lied to and trapped in my marriage. (If I had known this, I would not have married her.) She knows I know. She dismissed it by saying the past doesn't matter, but what she fails to recognize is that it matters to me. I can't help but wonder if she has lied to me about something this important, what else will she lie to me about?
I love her and want to stay with her, but I feel betrayed and, frankly, embarrassed by her now. What do I do? -- CONFOUNDED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CONFOUNDED: People lie when they feel threatened, when they want to impress someone or when they're ashamed of something. The lie your wife told you may fall into the latter category. She wasn't honest about the number of men she had been with because she knew you would react the way you have.
You say you love her, but if you truly feel embarrassed by the fact that you're not the second man she has slept with, then you either need to change your attitude or do her a favor and think about ending your marriage. From my perspective, the number of lovers she has had since the wedding is far more important than the number she had before.
Please be aware that many women in our society have had multiple partners, so if you're looking to replace your wife anytime soon, you may be hard pressed to find a woman with no experience. If you want to salvage your marriage, I strongly recommend you talk to a therapist, but don't spend your money unless you can forgive your wife for being afraid to tell you the truth.