‘Just kidding’ 35 years later

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for more than 40 years. During the first five years of our marriage, he confessed to several instances of infidelity. He begged for forgiveness. I forgave him.

Well, recently, I found out he was lying and never actually had slept with other women. He told me that he had been questioning my loyalty and made up situations to see whether I loved him enough to forgive him and that I had passed the test. Well, yes, I forgave him each time because I loved him, but my feelings about him did change a little from the hurt of the supposed infidelity. I went through hell internally back then, but I didn’t let him know.

I don’t understand what would make someone do that. He has been an excellent husband for the past 35 years, but I could have had a much better marriage had he not lied the first five years. I can’t stop thinking of how things could have been and what the real truth is. What would you suggest I do? — Happy or Sad

Dear Happy or Sad: If he truly was making up these lies about cheating as some kind of test of your loyalty, that’s pretty twisted. If he did cheat but now has decided to rewrite history and pretend he wasn’t an adulterer, that’s pretty twisted, too. Which is true? At this point, the more important question is why he would jerk you around like this at all. Such emotional abuse is unacceptable.

Tell your husband that if you’re to ever free yourselves from the tangled web he’s woven, it will be through marriage counseling. If he refuses, I encourage you to attend counseling on your own.