I wish you hadn't taken it down too. I planned to respond but it is a complex situation and I wanted a little time to mull on it. Based on what I remember, this is what I would say to you. He's told you what he wants to do - he basically wants to have your family life and keep her. He will visit her a couple times a year and the rest of the time be home enjoying your family. For some people and in some cultures, this would be an acceptable way to live. I am not going to judge that one way or the other. I think the only thing that matters is how YOU feel about it. Before he was lying and hiding it, now he is at least giving you the respect to be upfront about his intentions. Now you have two choices: 1) Find a way that the arrangement can work for you as well. In some cases like this, the decision is made to live together as best friends rather than lovers. This is often done both for the kids and for financial reasons. It isn't something I am comfortable with, but I've known couples that successfully came to this arrangement. Of course, if he is going to seek his romantic love fulfillment outside of your relationship than it is only fair that you be allowed to seek "a special friend" as well. If he is unwilling to allow you to get your basic human need for love and affection elsewhere - while he is - than he is being plain cruel and selfish. In that case, I'd tell him that divorce is the only option. There is one set of rules for your both. Either you both seek love/sex/comfort outside of the marriage (which becomes one primarily of convenience and friendship.) OR neither do. That's it. He doesn't get to play by one set of rules while you play by another. You seem like a rule abiding, God-fearing woman to me and he likely is counting on your desire to keep your home/family intact, and your own morals to keep you from straying. Therefore he thinks that as long as he offers to stay married, you will be willing to "look the other way" on his "indiscretion" while not indulging in one of your own. I wouldn't allow it. Pick which way the marriage is going to be - exclusive or not - and you BOTH abide by it or it is over. 2) Tell him it is unacceptable, and that it is time to divorce. Before you do that, go see a lawyer and gather whatever evidence you need to put yourself in a sound financial position. When you have your ducks in a row, box his stuff up and send him packing. What he is proposing is downright cruel. He gets to keep you, his family's respect and all your money, while getting to feel loved by you and another woman. You meanwhile get to be made to feel second best and put first by no one. He has you taking care of him and your life together, swallowing the callousness of it all and her waiting for him and sending him love notes. NO. It is consigning you to a life of sadness and depression with no romantic love, only casual and calculated cruelty by someone who should value you way too much to do so. He thinks he loves her. He thinks he loves you too. In his mind, this makes perfect sense. He can give you each what HE thinks you need and he gets what he needs from both of you. But as Firebird and Hurting have so eloquently stated - he doesn't actually know what love is. I don't think he even really loves himself. Because when you REALLY love yourself you want to look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of the person looking back at you. That is far more important to you than what other people think. But for your husband right now, he wants to hide whole parts of himself from his friends and family. He is ashamed of who he is and the decisions he's making (as he should be). Someone who truly loves themselves doesn't do that. But the likelihood of him do the incredibly hard work of changing and growing and learning what real love is (self- love and loving others) is slim at this late stage in life. As long as you continue to make it easy for him to NOT face the ramifications of his actions (losing you or your fidelity) it is not even possible. If you divorce him and move on, he MIGHT see the light and change. But he probably won't. But I think it will crush you to live the way he is suggesting. You are a kind and loving woman with a big heart. It is so clear in the messages you write. Not having someone in your life worthy of giving that love to and receiving it back from will diminish your joy in life. And if you keep giving it to him - while he gives his love and sweetness to another woman and only gives you heartache and sadness - it will lead you down a path of despair. Better to separate and pour that love into your children. Who knows? God works in mysterious ways and he might bless you with a man who sees you for the beautiful and loving spirit you are when you least expect it. But whatever happens, living a lie like your husband is suggesting seems completely at odds with the woman you are. I don't think you will be able to be happy. And I don't think he plans to stop. So, it is time to start delivering consequences for his choices and behaviors. You need to decide how you are going to live - the same as him (take a lover) or divorce him since he refuses to give her up. Tell whoever you want. That is not your cross to bear. Instead you should have all the support you can get from those who love you. As always though - please note that this is my OPINION. You need to decide what is best for you. We will all support you in whatever choice you make.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child DD May 2016 “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl