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Dear Abby: Husband’s sexual assaults can no longer be ignored

Dear Abby: I have been with my husband for almost 14 years. I’m a sound sleeper, and I suspect he has been having sex with me while I’m sleeping. I have woken up without clothes on, my undergarments askew or the waistband “rolled on.” I called him on it and told him I knew and that I’m not OK with it.

Weeks later, I caught him red-handed. This time I was awake, but I was so frightened that I froze! I was sexually abused as a child and raped as an adult, and now I feel like my marriage has been turned upside down. My husband denies it. He claims it’s all in my head.

My friends say that for the sake of my children I should ignore it or I’ll turn their lives upside down. Abby, everyone thinks my husband is a catch! I’m sure if I walk away I’ll lose friends – maybe even some of my family. Please help me. I feel lost.

Turned Upside Down in Illinois

Dear Turned Upside Down: Your friends are wrong, and you should NOT “ignore” this. Sex without a person’s consent is rape! When a husband does what you have described, it is called spousal rape.

Because he claims this is “all in your head,” for your own sanity, make an appointment to discuss this with a licensed psychotherapist. With your unfortunate history, you should have spoken with someone already. Your husband is either grossly insensitive or derives pleasure from being a predator. His behavior is appalling.

Counseling can help you decide whether to remain in this marriage. Regardless of what your decision may be, it will help you be emotionally resilient enough to live with your choice regardless of what your “friends” and family members may think.

Haunted by fiance’s past

Dear Abby: My fiance, “Rob,” and I are pregnant. This should be an exciting time, but he keeps bringing up a previous relationship during which he had an unplanned child. That was 10 years ago, and the mother denied him access.

I have told Rob how much his mentioning it upsets me and I have asked him not to do it, especially during my pregnancy. I want to feel happy and special as the woman who will be providing Rob with an actual family unit. But instead I feel like second-best and resentful.

Please advise me.

– Soon-To-Be Mom in Denver

Dear Mom: You ARE special and you ARE the person who is creating a new family with Rob, but your pregnancy may be a painful reminder of the child he “lost.” He may be afraid the same thing could happen again.

Because his bringing up the past relationship is hurtful, suggest he talk with a licensed mental health professional about it. Sometimes the best way to stop grieving is to talk about it.