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Parasitic Relationship

Direct Answers 'Column for the week of March 15, 2004

Something in my life is weighing heavily on my mind, and I don't talk to anyone about it. I married my husband when he was 21 and I was 20. After being married six months I found out I was pregnant with our daughter. She was and is the apple of our eyes. She just graduated from college and is doing well in her new career.

Our marriage was not easy. It was constant chaos. I felt as though I had a baby and a 15-year-old son. My husband drank, stayed out late, and when he was home, I was told I had better make it worth his time. I come from a strict Catholic family, and it never entered my mind that divorce was an option.

I kept trying to be a better wife, whether that meant cooking, being sexier for him, wearing makeup all the time, or keeping my house spick and span. When our daughter left for college, it was hard for me. I asked my husband to help me through the process. He told me people want to get rid of their kids and that I should "get a life."

Our daughter had not been at school more than a few months when she called me at work one day. She was on the computer doing school work and noticed Dad had come home from work and was talking to someone online. She asked if I knew who it was. That was when the nightmare began.

We found love letters between him and a married woman. I felt helpless. It was starting again. Five years ago a woman told me my husband was cheating with a good "couple friend" we had. We would get together with this couple to play cards, and our children played together. Apparently this woman went to my husband, said she was not happy with her sex life, and said she knew I was happy and she wanted a piece of the action.

My husband agreed. He claimed he was doing her a favor, and it was like a job for him. I have since learned of his involvement with at least three other women. This is my question to you. I'm 44, attractive, slim, with a good job. My husband says he has changed, but for some strange reason I can't believe him.

He asked me to get a boob job and told me all men like big boobs. That basically makes me feel I am worth nothing. I fear my husband looks at our marriage and thinks he may as well stay at this stage of the game because he is 46 and doesn't want to start over now. My daughter wants me to move in with her, and I feel I would be better off.


Mitzi, the pill bug is a small creature that seeks damp, dark places. Occasionally, however, the pill bug eats the eggs of a tiny worm, and when that happens, a worm hatches inside the pill bug and changes its behavior. The infected pill bug becomes a risk taker who seeks open spaces, where it is likely to be eaten by starlings. This is fine for the worm, which thrives inside the bird, but it is death for the pill bug.

Biologists define symbiosis as the relationship between two creatures who rely upon each other. The relationship is called mutualistic if both creatures benefit; if only one benefits, the relationship is called parasitic. Marriage is supposed to be a mutualistic relationship.

Every religious and legal system allows for divorce in the case of unfaithfulness. Even in the strictest systems of belief, adultery is the one thing which need not be tolerated in marriage, and the Christian expression of this idea is found in Matthew 19:9.

Your husband told you to "get a life." What a great suggestion. Go get one!

Wayne & Tamara

About the Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email:


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