Jodi Dean — Toledo, Ohio

We’ve been married for 15 years, together for 17 and have three wonderful children together. Two months ago, my husband told me that he had been having an affair for the past year with a twenty-one-year-old girl from work. She’d been twenty when they met (he’s thirty-six). He said it started off just talking, and it eventually turned into sex. I think I can tell when it started, because he became distant for a period of time, fearful that there was something wrong “down there” and had constant burning and discomfort. I suspected VD right away, and he hinted that he did too, but he didn’t admit to the affair when asked, so I didn’t push. I guess you can say that I didn’t want to know. After seeing the doctor, we returned to our usual four to five nights a week intimacy, we continued to spend time together every night, went on afternoon dates while the kids were at school, etc. So I really had no reason to push the issue. After I found out about the affair, I begged and cried for a chance to make it right, go to counseling, things like that. We’ve always gotten along great, always been close, loving, never fought aside from the occasional disagreement that always ended in cuddles and kisses. He refused to do any work though. He said he’d gone too far and that he “has to try” with this OW. I’m devastated. He admitted to having no plan beyond telling me about the affair. He just wanted to unburden himself apparently. The next day, I kicked him out. He, of course, took her with him and they stayed in a hotel for over a month before finding an apartment together. At first, he would tell me that he was confused every time he saw me. He didn’t want a divorce, asked me to hold off on a separation until we could get the bills paid down. He was standoffish with me, calling only to talk to the kids at night. But now that they’re in an apartment, I’ve noticed some changes. He follows me on social media, hiding in the shadows a lot. He texts me with any excuse, and we end up talking for a length of time about nothing at all. When he comes over to visit the kids (because they refuse to be around the OW or even in his apartment) he spends more time with me than he does with them.

I catch him staring at me, finding reasons to touch me or be close to me. Sometimes I think he’s thinking of kissing me even. It’s messing with my head. But the OW when I talked to her claimed she’d die for him. That she agonized over their relationship just as much as he did, because she didn’t want to hurt me or my kids. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t she have been asking herself that before she spread her legs for my husband all those times? As I said, she’s much younger than my husband. She comes from a very religious family according to my husband, and she moved straight out of their house to be with him. She had zero independence aside from her job. Last year she was dating a girl, now she’s dating a married man. I can’t help feeling like she’s rebelling against her upbringing, and it’s completely ruining my and my childrens’ lives! I don’t know what she can possibly get out of this affair other than freedom from her family and/or the excitement of pulling a man from his family to be with her. He can’t have anymore kids, he’s poor, he has zero sense of finances, and I am actively watching him dig a giant financial hole as he forges ahead with this new life. What bothers me most is that I fully believe that had I not kicked him out, he’d still be here. I said as much to him once and he didn’t deny it. But I know it was the right thing to do for my sanity. I can’t help regretting it some though, because I fear we may never be able to reconcile now that he’s shacked up with her. But she’s just stupid enough to have turned over all her earnings to him to manage, and I give them about a month before they realize they’re in dire straights. Even if she can get past that, is she really ready to be a step-mother to three kids? Is she really ready to never have any kids of her own, ever? Is she ready to fill my shoes and be his provider, servant, maid, mother, etc.? Does she really think he won’t do the same to her? My biggest question is for myself though. I do want to reconcile with my husband. I’m not ready to throw away my life because of this tramp. And now I feel like he’s giving me mixed signals, so how into her can he really be? Is it love or infatuation? Is the grass really all that greener, and is there a possibility that he might come back? Does that even happen in cases like this? I’m losing hope and am so lost and confused.

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