I'm a part-time worker in my 50s.
Recently, I happened to look at my husband's cell phone, only to find evidence that there is a woman for whom he may have deep feelings.
The woman, who dated my husband before we met, is a one-time divorcee.
It seems that he renewed his contact with her several years ago.
I have also found out that he gave the woman flowers and jewelry on her birthday and at Christmas.
He prayed for her child's success in passing an entrance exam at a Shinto shrine, where he bought a good-luck charm and sent it to her.
They also appear to have met on a number of occasions.
During that period, I changed jobs and was at my mother-in-law's deathbed after we had lived together.
I am confident that I have done my utmost to serve my family in my own way.
I have also worked to raise my children to adulthood.
It hurts me to realise my husband finds me unattractive as a woman, and also that I lost to her as a woman.
It's tough to be together with my husband, but I just cannot stop crying when I'm alone.
My husband doesn't know that I have found out about the woman yet, and continues to stay in touch with her.
What should be my next course of action?
S, Shiga Prefecture
Dear Ms. S:
I can imagine the extent of your shock at finding out that your husband has given gifts to a woman he dated before marrying you and that they were seeing each other.
So what exactly should be your response?
This will depend on your feelings about your husband.
That is to say, if you are unable to forgive his actions, your only recourse is to consider divorce.
But if you still love him even after finding out about the woman, I believe you should try to regain his affections.
So I suggest you confront your husband with the facts you've discovered and question him about his feelings toward the woman and his intentions with regards to your marriage.
I then advise you to honestly tell him how you feel, and urge him to abandon his contact with the woman.
Emotional wounds do not heal easily.
But don't lose heart or feel as if you have lost to her as a woman before you're sure about his feelings and intentions.
A calm can come after a storm.
I suggest you take this opportunity to reexamine your relationship with your husband and deal with the situation, and be prepared to start over if necessary.
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer