Dear Dr Hedda: I am Confused

Posted on Jul 15 2014 - 9:11am by Dr Hedda Mae

Dear Dr Hedda:

Call me names, I deserve it. I’m a adultress, sleeping with another woman’s man. And enjoying every minute it except for the guilt.

I’ve heard stories all my life about women who wreck marriages. That kind of mean and wicked and selfish person.And I am doing the same thing. My marriage ended because of “another woman” and I said to myself I would never do that, and here I am doing it.

There’s always a reason. Some better than others. My wife doesn’t love me anymore but her church doesn’t approve of divorce, the children are to young for me to leave, she swore if I left her she get every penny I had and the list goes on.

This is a slightly different reason. Peter and I are both in our early 70’s. I have been divorced for several years. He is still married but his wife has Alzheimer’s. He claims she doesn’t even recognize him anymore and she lives in an assisted living facility.

It’s a good reason. I fell for it and for him. But how do I know that’s it true ? Could this be the line that men in my age group use to get some sex on the side.

I don’t love him, but, I sure like him a lot. The sex is the best I’ve had in years. Yet I still feel like I’m doing the wrong thing. Have I become just “another woman who sleeps with married men?”

This is keeping me up nights. Have I become exactly who I swore I would never be?

Can I keep seeing him? Is this one of those situations where he is married but not really married? Is there a book for older women explaining what you can do can’t do.It is definitely different then when I was in my 20’s and 30’s.

We need a new book on geriatric dating rules. For example if I wait a few months before I have sex with a new man he could have a stroke or die waiting for me to say OK. We’re not kids anymore.

Can I continue this affair without guilt and just tell myself he is not really married. His wife is out of the picture and she is never getting better or I am just fooling myself and married is married whatever age you are?


Dear Confused.

Yes you hit the nail on the head. The rules are different when we enter our senior years.
There is illness and infirmity to consider.

Do I think of him as a married man, yes, but,also no, I don’t consider him married.

Give him some credit for not abandoning her. It would be easy to walk away. As you stated she doesn’t even recognize him anymore. But he is still respecting the love and relationship they had by sticking with her during this very difficult time.

In many ways he is a single man and you should enjoy the relationship you have with him.

Not leaving his wife, or denying her existence is a good reflection on his character. He was honest with you and he didn’t have to be.

Be honest with him and share your feelings of confusion and guilt. He may have some of those feelings too.

You’re both grownups with long histories of life experiences. Talk it through and see what conclusion you reach together. It may turn out better than you think.

Dr Hedda

About the Author

Dr Hedda Mae is a psychotherapist based in Oregon. She has been in private practice in both the clinical and private sectors and has spent many years as a national lecturer on subjects such as family dynamics, childhood and adult personality disorders and multicultural psychiatry. She can be reached at -

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