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She went into her shell as a protective measure

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife used to be a hooker, but now she isn't. I found out about her past from a guy at my work who said he'd seen her in another city, and she was working out of a certain hotel. He seemed sad to tell me but he thought I should know. I asked him if he was sure and he said, "Yes, because I was with her once myself." I went home and packed my bags. I told her I knew the truth. She said she was waiting for this to happen and it was almost a relief it was over. She said she needs a guy who loves her and doesn't judge her past. She was calm, very calm. She didn't seem to have any feelings about it -- it almost seemed like nothing could faze her. I don't get it. She was really loving me until now. -- Shaking My Head, Downtown

Dear Shaking: When a person has been treated badly -- abused, hurt, lived in harsh circumstances -- he or she will sometimes go numb as a defence. They seem to have no emotions. That is how they got through the bad stuff before -- to will themselves to become a wall, waiting for the bad time to pass. Your wife went into protective mode when you judged her past. She may have expected violence. She may held herself tight and cried later when you left. Now that you have walked away, you will never know, and you may feel very differently when the shock has worn off. Take it one day at a time. She is not a hooker now and she loved you -- although the trust in you may be gone after you abandoned her

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband and I have been married for almost 24 years. A year ago I caught him in a compromising situation with someone else. He was very drunk and says he does not remember anything, but I think he does. Anyway, I got a spam email a couple of weeks ago for one of those online dating sites and thought it would be funny to pretend I was someone else to see what kind of responses I would get. Well, you know who I found on the site? My husband! I know his email address and the profile fits -- the only thing that's different is the age (he is 46 and he put 39). What are the chances of someone else having the same email address? I do not know what to do. Do I confront him or not? I love him but I told him a year ago, if it happened again we were done. Please help me! -- Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken: You caught him again and you don't want it to be over, do you? Tell him what you did and what you found. Ask him to go to counselling with you to figure out how to fix this relationship or to dissolve it as amicably as possible. You knew him to be cheater a year ago and held on. You also know him to drink and claim no responsibility for his actions. You let that go, too. Look, no two people have the same email address or we'd be getting each other's mail. If you decide you want to live with a guy who cheats, then you need to negotiate an open relationship where you can see other people too. If that is repugnant to you, then you only have one thing to do and that is to leave him. Staying will turn you into a bitter, permanently heartbroken woman with a husband who's a broken prize.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2013 C2

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