Dear Annie: Can a cheater ever change?

Dear Annie: When I was first married to my husband, he cheated a lot. We have two daughters. When we were 27, I found out he had a 5-year-old son. I stayed with him, but it was not easy.

Now we are 63, and I Just found out he has a 40-year-old daughter. He said he’s sorry. He’s disabled now. I know he loves me, but it still hurts. How many others are out there? I just wanted to tell my story. By the way, these were one-night stands.

-- Sad in Ohio.

Dear Sad: Thank you for sharing your story. You should sit down with your husband, tell him that you love him and ask him to come clean on all his transgressions. You are entitled to know everything that he did and whether he has other kids of whom you are not aware. You are also entitled to know the relationship that he has with these children. Was he financially or emotionally supporting them throughout their lives? Does he have any relationship with them currently?

The old adage “once a cheater, always a cheater” seems relevant here. You should understand the extent of his past and relationships that he carried out behind your back. If you continue to support him and be with him, it will make it easier if there are no more surprises.

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Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Cat Lady,” whose mother-in-law brings unwelcome and ill-behaved dogs to her home. I agree that this is the husband’s discussion to have with his mother, but another solution occurred to me.

Maybe the daughter-in-law and son could hire a pet walker to come by the house when the mother-in-law brings her dogs. If the dog walker takes them out to wear them out a bit and then wipes their paws before they reenter the home, that could reduce the problem. I have several working friends who have hired capable pet helpers and have been pleased with the results.


-- Might Be Worth a Try

Dear Might Be Worth a Try: That is a great suggestion. Thank you for your letter.

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Dear Annie: “Guilty Grandma” should have “Un-Birthdays” for the grandkids whose birthdays she cannot attend before she goes to Florida. Un-birthdays are when you celebrate on a day that is not your actual birthday that is convenient for others to attend.

-- Un-Birthday

Dear Un-Birthday: I am all for being flexible in order to celebrate your loved ones’ birthdays. Thank you for sharing your suggestion.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: