My husband, a retired government servant, and I have been married for 25 years. We have a son studying overseas.
We were happy until five years ago, when he met a group of old friends. Among them was B, an unmarried woman.
When all of us were young and single, we used to go out in a group. Sometimes, B would come along but she would only talk to the men in the group. We heard that she even solicited money from the men to go abroad to sit for a professional exam that she could have easily taken locally.
Most of our group are now aged around 60 and married. B is around 55 and still single. She mixes with men only and even goes out with married men.
After meeting his old friends, my husband has become sociable and just wants to enjoy life, party, travel and spend money. He acts like a big Romeo with women. He is an agreeable man with other people but at home, he is a narcissist and male chauvinist.
My husband has created a chat group for his professional friends. Everyone in the group is male, except for B. He also included B in another chat group of his close friends, both male and female, whom he jogs and travels with regularly. He did not invite me to be in that group.
Since then, my husband has stopped sharing a bed with me although we still have sex but only to satisfy himself. Once, he gave me an STD. He goes out of town once or twice a month without telling me where he will be and has blocked me from all his social media. He has improved on his personal grooming, and started using cologne and doing sit-ups.
Last year, B called my house to speak to my husband. I happened to pick up the phone. I told her she would not inherit our properties if she marries him. B threatened to make a police report and sue me for intimidating her. Since then, my husband has been at war with me.
He later admitted that he had sex with B, and has given her money and jewellery. We eventually separated. He has been telling his friends that we split up because I am aggressive. We tried to patch up our marriage when our son came home from university, but my husband refuses to give up B.
I would love to keep the family together, but have lost respect, love and trust for my husband. Should I stay with my husband on his terms or get out of the marriage?
Sick & Tired
Dear Sick & Tired
When a marriage falls apart, I usually advise people to look to the past and try to rebuild their foundation. Sadly, I don't think that is the advice for you.
My dear, look at the facts. Your husband blocked you from his life and as proof of his cheating, gave you an STD. When you tried to reach out for a second chance, he responded by telling you that he's keeping this mistress no matter what. And as if that weren't bad enough, he tells the world that you're the problem.
You don't have a marriage; he is off with his mistress and you're not in his life. It's no wonder you no longer respect, love and trust him.
So, what's next? I don't know what your circumstances are so I'd suggest you don't make any hasty decisions. Think over very carefully what you want. Do you want to walk out and live alone? Or do you want to stay where you are but live separate lives?
My advice is to consult the best divorce lawyer you can find and very quietly find out what your rights are. Once you know how much a divorce would cost you, what you'd likely end up with, and how long it would take to resolve, you can make better decisions.
At the same time, get yourself a good therapist. It's scary to start again after such a long time, and my guess is that your confidence has been knocked too. Get someone on your side who supports you 100 per cent and who can help you manage the stress you're suffering.
Readers will probably howl at this but I also urge you not to tell anyone that you're consulting a lawyer or seeing a therapist. Get all your ducks in a row before you make changes. I say this because you don't need people second guessing you, judging and otherwise meddling. You've been betrayed and humiliated and so the last thing you need now is more hassle.
Plan quietly, find out what suits your personal needs best and go for it. You deserve to be happy.