Dear Abby: Woman can’t make the break from her decades-long affair

Dear Abby: I have been dating a married man for 30 years. Our relationship started a few months after he got married. I know it was wrong to begin the relationship, but it started just as a way for me to get sexual experience. For him, I think he was infatuated with the idea that a younger woman found him attractive.

I asked him out knowing he was married, thus safe from expecting a commitment. I don’t think either of us expected our so-called relationship to last this long. I have dated other men (who knew nothing of him) and gave birth to a child (not his), so it’s not like he’s the only man I see. (Of course, he knows I date other men.)

Many times I have thought about ending our affair because I feel guilty, and sad for his wife. My problem is our conversations are intoxicating, our kisses, touches and lovemaking are like no other. Must I stop seeing him? Or do you think what others don’t know won’t hurt them? – Can’t Stop Seeing Him

Dear Can’t Stop: The problem with the rationale “what others don’t know won’t hurt them” is that, at some point, the truth usually comes out. And when it does, there are usually plenty of hurt feelings. Frankly, I’m surprised your lover has been able to keep you under wraps for 30 years without the two of you being spotted somewhere.

If you are truly sad for your lover’s wife, you should end the affair. However, because it has taken you three decades to discover your conscience, I somehow doubt you will.

Dear Abby: I would love to see you refer to couples without children as “child-free” instead of “childless.” Not every couple wants to have children. The term “childless” sounds like something is missing. – Free in Massachusetts

Dear Free: You make a good point. But I usually couch my terminology according to what the writer has stated. If someone refers to her- or himself as childless, I feel it would be wrong to imply something the person didn’t.

Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.