Dear Ms. Meniscus,
I’m 50 years old with rheumatoid arthritis. I’m married (27 years) to a good man who is also having an affair (I know because people have told me they saw them together). I can no longer have sex with my husband because of the pain. I would rather not say anything to him that I know about the affair but people say I should or my marriage is a fraud. I’d rather look the other way. We get along well and he’s very helpful. What should I do?
The Wife Knows
My Dear Wife in the Know,
There are so many definitions of “marriage.” Clearly, yours is unconventional. Three is a crowd. But in your case, it’s you, your husband and rheumatoid arthritis. Madame suspects you when you took your vows that you didn’t expect the “other woman” to be a chronic disease. I’m saying this because it seems that you and your husband love each other. As for your friends, they mean well but they don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in your moccasins. I doubt they feel your pain. Knowing Wife, you sound like a good woman, with a good man with “flaws” who prefers to pretend she doesn’t know. If you’re okay with the arrangement, let it be. It’s your marriage, not theirs. Madame suspects you can find the words.
If your husband is a good man, he may be struggling with the guilt of his affair. You might want to make a pre-emptive strike by talking with your hubby and telling him that you have been stressing over how your RA has killed your sex life. Tell him that you know he is a healthy man “with needs”; you don’t want him to implode. After many sleepless nights, say: I’ve decided I’m comfortable with you getting those needs satisfied outside our marriage but please be discreet. I don’t want to know about it and we don’t want tongues wagging.” This gives him the opportunity to open up and be honest. If he is a good man, you will come to some arrangement. You can share your conversation with your concerned friends and perhaps they will get back to their Mah Jong game. Madame feels for you, Knowing Wife, and wishes you the best of luck. Feel free to contact Madame if you need additional help with your friends.