Once a cheater, always a cheater?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Creators Syndicate Inc.

DEAR ANNIE: My husband and I are in our 40s. We have been married for 15 years and had a marriage most people would envy. We have no children.

My husband recently admitted to an indiscretion with a woman he has known for four years.

This is not a woman he would ever take out in public. His pursuit of her was purely for sex. Once it happened, he never saw her again. (She confirmed this.) He only confessed because he developed a medical problem and was scared.


We are now separated and he is seeking counseling for self-esteem issues.

He has begged and pleaded with me not to divorce him, but I feel as though I am married to a complete stranger.

How could an intelligent, educated man who supposedly loves his wife actually go through with such an unspeakable act? Is it true once a cheater, always a cheater? Is there an explanation (other than mid-life crisis) to assure me this was just a one-time experiment? — Heartbroken in the South

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: We don’t know why your husband felt the need to cheat, although therapy should help him find out.

And we can’t promise he won’t do it again, but if therapy helps him, there is a possibility this was a one-time deal.

The issue, as always, is trust. Which is why we recommend counseling for you, too.

Marriage doesn’t come with guarantees. Counseling will help you decide if you can live with the uncertainty. You have to do what lets you sleep at night.

DEAR ANNIE: My dad is a longtime survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, but his battle has become a losing one and the doctors say he is terminal.


This wonderful man has always been the strength in my life. I would not be who I am today without him.

I am heartbroken by what he has gone through this past year. I want him to get something like a last wish sort of thing, like they do for sick children.

Is there something out there to grant wishes for adults who deserve that, too? My dad is very special, and I would love to remember him with a big smile on his face. — Daddy’s Little Girl

DEAR DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL: While most such organizations deal with sick children, there are a few for adults, although they are not as expansive in scope as the more well-known groups. Try Dream Foundation (, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; Fairygodmother Foundation (, 213 West Institute Pl., Suite 509, Chicago, IL 60610; The Dream Lives On (, The Dave Bruchhauser Fund, 9138 Arlon St., Suite A3 — Box 134, Anchorage, AK 99507; Happiness Unlimited (, 310 South St., Morristown, NJ 07960; Her Heart’s Wish (, P.O. Box 294, Lititz, PA 17543 (this one is for women); and Never Too Late (, 8538 Tidewater Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46236 (for seniors). We hope one of these will come through for you.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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