Dear Ann Landers,
I am a 30-year-old married woman who is having a full-blown affair. I never thought this would happen to me.
Before "Bob" and I were married last year, we were compatible and had similar interests. I was not in love with him, but we had been dating for six years. I was almost 30, and most of my friends were married. When Bob proposed, it seemed like the right thing to do. Immediately after the wedding, we began to fight. Bob goes out drinking every night, and I hate it. I have suggested counseling, but he won't go. We haven't made love for six months.
Several weeks ago, I became friendly with a man at work. "Max" paid a lot of attention to me and built up my battered self-esteem. It didn't take long for me to start seeing him on the side. Max is 40 and has never been married. He says he can make me happy and feel fulfilled, and I know he is right. Max has asked me to leave Bob and marry him.
I love Max, but I hesitate to throw away the long history I have with my husband. Also, I don't want to admit to my parents that my marriage is a failure. Another problem: Bob's mother is very ill, and I'm afraid a divorce would kill her.
What should I do, Ann? I feel torn and trapped. I am in desperate need of advice. -- At Loose Ends in Pennsylvania
Put everything on hold until Bob's mother is well or, heaven forbid, no longer with us. Tell Bob he must go to Alcoholics Anonymous or the marriage is over. Be firm about this unless you are willing to be married to a drunk who is sure to get worse.
Stop seeing Max until you give Bob a chance to dry up. If Max really cares about you, he will leave you alone and be willing to let you give your marriage a chance to make it. You have a lot on your plate, lady, and I hope you are equal to the challenges that lie ahead.