My husband is having an affair - can we still save our marriage? | Agony Aunt

Dear Fiona: I have just learned that my husband has been having an affair for the past eight years.

We’ve been together since we were at college, and I thought we were a happy, close family.

We have a good home and have been generally OK for money, as we’ve both worked. We also have two great sons, both now left home but living nearby, and a great circle of friends.

All of which now seems to be threatened – and I am angry, confused and upset. I also feel betrayed.

A couple having marriage problems. PA

However, the thought that we stand to lose all of this if things fall apart has made me decide I want him to stay.

He says he is willing to stay with me, even though he loves the other woman. It seems she has family commitments too that she is not prepared to leave.

I am struggling to hold it together, especially as I know that he is still seeing her. I tried Relate counselling but it just became too expensive. I am reading all the self-help books I can find, but nothing seems to make this any easier. Then, last month, he announced he was giving up his job.

I have no idea why he has done this, and it leaves me as the only breadwinner – pressure I can do without, as I struggle to make ends meet. I can’t shake the idea that he’s only stopped working so he can be with her more.

How can I ever trust his again? Do you think our marriage can survive like this?

H.N.

FIONA SAYS: CAN YOU ACCEPT THINGS AS THEY ARE?

I applaud your willingness to try to make this marriage work, but if your husband has stopped working simply to spend more time with this other woman, I struggle to see how it can survive.

In effect, you will be subsidising him to continue his affair, and the damage this will do to your self-esteem over time will be huge. And you will need tremendous support.

My go-to source of help in this situation would be Relate, but as you are already struggling to make ends meet, I can understand why this may not be for you.

Relate does offer subsidised counselling for low-income households, and free counselling for those eligible.

All of these options may worth exploring, and could hopefully enable you to get the emotional and practical support you are going to need. If not, your GP may be able to refer you for counselling, though waiting lists are likely to be long.

However, even with this level of support, I am not optimistic that you can make this arrangement work.

Your husband has betrayed you deeply, for an extended period, and as far you know continues to do so.

Over time, this knowledge and lack of trust will wear you down, and only you can decide how long you are prepared to accept this. At some point, probably not too far off, I fear you will have to issue an ultimatum: me or her – not both.

Dear Fiona: Over the past year, I have come to suspect that my husband of 25 years is having an affair.

I’ve got no real proof of this and have not spoken to him about it. However, I can’t stop thinking about it and it’s making me miserable.

To cope, I started binge-eating cakes, chocolates, and any ice cream I could get my hands on. My weight has ballooned by over two stone. Now I feel even worse because all I’ve done is made myself even less attractive, and therefore more likely to drive him into the arms of someone else.

I have started a diet, but I may as well not bother because I ignore it at every opportunity, especially when I am alone. I am desperate to stop eating but can’t. Please help.

K.E.

FIONA SAYS: YOU NEED TO TACKLE THE ROOT CAUSE

Forget the diet for the moment. You won’t resolve the over-eating until you confront what’s driving the underlying depression, which would seem to be anxiety about your marriage.

Your husband may or may not be having an affair, but you simply won’t know unless you talk to him.

Try to explain that something feels wrong in your relationship and it’s making you miserable. Then encourage him to talk. You need to identify whatever potential rift exists before it gets any bigger.

Hopefully, this may simply be an issue of a lack of communication, not uncommon in long marriages.

Perhaps relationship counselling could be helpful. Please contact Relate (relate.org.uk). Readers in Scotland can contact relationships-scotland.org.uk.