NOTE: This archive only contains Carolyn Hax columns through March 2011. Her more recent columns are located here.

TELL ME ABOUT IT ®

Tell Me About It
(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)

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By Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Carolyn:

My wife of 10 years is filing for divorce. I have had depression as well as anger issues for some time, but recently got professional help and feel better than at any point in my entire life.

She has been telling people she cannot get over the problems I have had, and that is why we are getting a divorce. However, she has told me she has feelings for a female co-worker, and would like to spend more time with her and has actually kissed her.

So, basically, she is having an extramarital affair on me with a woman. She does not want anyone to know this, and I will not tell anyone as long as she wants to play the charade. However, she is dragging my name through the mud when she lies about the reasons we are divorcing. Do I sit here and take the abuse so she can save face?

Anonymous

She may be lying about the reasons, plural, that you're getting a divorce. But that doesn't mean your history with her isn't the primary reason. Your marriage was for 10 years and your promising treatment is "recent"; her crush on a woman hardly wipes out the decade with an angry, depressed husband as a motivator for divorce.

That said, her invoking your difficulties to any but her closest friends is inappropriate and unfair -- and would be even without the added element of deception. Divorces are public record but private in all other respects. The most affectionate parting gift couples can give is to leave (what remains of) each other's dignity intact.

Request this of her, by all means; suggest a more general explanation of "We gave it our best," since it's rare when that isn't true. Even if she rejects the suggestion, be mindful of those difficult 10 years by keeping your anger in check.

Hey Carolyn:

Almost 15 years ago in college I dated a young man. The relationship ended badly, with him basically blowing me off in a public and hurtful way. At the time I was so upset that I bad-mouthed him to pretty much everyone, including my mother.


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