DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we have four beautiful children together — twin 8-year-olds, and 7- and 3-year-olds.
I recently discovered my husband sending nude pictures over the Internet to an unknown email address and asking the recipient for a no-strings-attached sexual encounter.
I was completely shocked and heartbroken! To me, this is cheating!
He said that he was seeking attention from other women because our sexual relationship hasn't been up to par in his mind. He said he has never cheated on me. He claimed he was just looking to see if he still "had it."
He works a lot out of town and now my recent findings have my mind racing about what he is doing every minute of every day or who he is doing it with.
I can't seem to get this email or image out of my mind. It's all I think about from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed! It absolutely disgusts me!
I question him all the time about where he is going or what he is doing.
I find I am constantly checking his emails and his phone for some indication that he might be having conversations with other women and, of course, he gets mad at me and says if I can't trust him then why be with him?
Part of me wants to leave because of this trust issue, but a part of me wants to stay with the father of my children. What should I do? — Heartbroken
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Sending nude photos and asking for sex puts your husband in a special category — this behavior takes him beyond the "I'm flirting with a co-worker to see if I still 'have it'" standard. If the recipient is underage, this could be illegal.
It's possible to recover from this, but not without your husband's full, honest and open participation. "I was seeking attention from other women because our sexual relationship is not up to par" is blaming you for a choice he has made.
Has he apologized? Other than to tell you he's not satisfied, has he offered to work with you on improving this sexual relationship that he finds so unfulfilling? Do you even want to be with him?
Trust is the cornerstone of a marriage. With four little kids at home, you have better ways to spend your days than wringing your hands and trolling through your husband's outgoing email.
He's going to have to earn your trust and prove himself worthy of it. I'm skeptical.
DEAR AMY: My financially irresponsible sister-in-law's beloved dog died last year. A month later she found another dog, which cost $400. She asked me to lend her half the money.
Since she had borrowed small sums in the past and repaid the debts — however late — I reluctantly lent her the money she needed with the promise it would be repaid in two weeks.
A year has passed and still no attempt to repay. What should I do? — I'm No Bank
DEAR BANK: Oh, but you are a bank. And like a bank, you will have to judge future loan requests based on the debtor's repayment history.
First you should ask your sister-in-law for the money. If she doesn't repay you, fear not — you're off the hook for all future loans.
Taking this loss now might have saved you from a potentially bigger loss down the line.
DEAR AMY: "Frightened Father" was worried that his son was bankrupting his daughter-in-law.
This sounds like my situation. My ex stopped working and spent almost all of my paychecks on beer and cigarettes. Eventually, the credit cards were maxed out, the utilities were cut off, and I came home for the last time to all the food being eaten, no money in the bank account, and pregnant with child No. 2.
My in-laws helped us out a lot, but my husband refused to change. I finally found the guts to kick him out and I haven't seen him since. It has been the best decision I could have made for my kids. — Finally Out
DEAR OUT: Stability — even in a single-parent home — beats chaos.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.