Should I Divorce My Husband Who Cheated on Me 20 Years Ago?

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 60s. My husband, who is almost 70, had an affair with a married woman about 20 years ago and started living with her then.

The woman divorced her husband, but I refused to divorce my husband because of my pride. To forget about his betrayal, I worked hard to make a living.

My husband suddenly contacted me five years ago, telling me the other woman kicked him out of the house.

I had no intention to live with him again, but I helped him look for a place to live, thinking he might have changed. However, he told me that they had not completely separated.

If I divorce him, our children — who are now grown — will have to care for him as he gets older, so I’ve endured the situation so as not to burden them.

However, I’ve grown more irritated by my husband’s selfishness.

I’m reaching retirement age, but I won’t be able to live off the small pension I would receive.

Is it better to get divorced? What can I do to spend my retirement in peace?

S, Kyoto Prefecture

Dear S:

You should have shown your husband how proud you were five years ago when he contacted you. Perhaps you couldn’t turn him down because you still cared for him. Now is the time to decide whether he is the right person to support you going forward.

After retiring, spouses have to depend on each other more. Trust is vital. It’s a pipe dream to want to live peacefully with someone you don’t wholly trust.

If you stay married on paper, and if something happens to him, you will be responsible for his medical and nursing care.

Are you confident that you can support him? Will he support you? Carefully consider the situation.

Even if you get divorced, the parent-child relationship between him and your children will not change. I know you’re worried about him bothering them, but they are adults now. It’s possible that they can figure out what they can and cannot do beforehand and handle the situation well.

Regarding your financial concerns about post-retirement, you can speak to experts about your situation, including dividing your husband’s pension.

It’s important to gather as much information as possible before making a decision.

Tomomi Fujiwara, writer