Dear Dr. Romance:

I need help! I am beyond confused. My husband is having an affair for more than six months with some woman who is 15 years younger than him. He lives with this women for all practical purposes and only comes home to sleep. He shows up at 11:00 p.m. at night and leaves by 7:30 A.M the next morning. We have been married for 19 years and we have 3 children.

It is very hard to know what he likes or dislikes about me because he communicates very little of himself. He likes to joke and make a joke out of everything and laugh while interacting. He comes home like nothing is wrong and we were never a couple. He is cordial with me and wants to have a conversation about the news or impersonal subjects.

I tried talking with him about what is going on (I have information from other sources) but he says He does not want to talk about it right at this moment. I feel trapped because my job is in jeopardy because of the housing problem. I have worked for this company for 8 years and I feel they would have to close pretty soon.

He gives me his check and spends some money but He does not pay the other woman's rent. I would like to try everything. Even though he does not seem interested in leaving this women. I need your help.

Dear Reader:

I'm sorry to say this, but I think you should call a lawyer. Sometimes, it's only when a man is confronted with the loss of his family that he'll realize he's making a problem for himself. My guess is that this other woman is an escape from all the hassles of life with you. Sorry to be so blunt, but, to him, you probably represent responsibility and lots of problems to solve, while she gets to be fun and sexy. That's not a tough choice for a self-involved man, until he sees it's going to cost him.

I don't know enough to know if you or he earns more money. If it's him, he may have to pay you spousal support plus child support. Actually, losing your job right now could be the best thing, legally. It would make him even more financially responsible under the law. That may turn his head around.

You have to take care of yourself and your children. Go see a lawyer, get some advice so you know where you stand. This is not just some casual affair. He's all but living with this woman. You need to protect your rights. Fight for your self-esteem, for your children, for your marriage. It will be tough, but worth it.  "Asking for What you Want"  will help you communicate what you want. "Setting Boundaries and Saying No"  will help you learn to stand up for yourself.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.