Wife Cheated

Q: How do you handle finding out your wife of 19 years had an affair with a good friend? -- Ted, 41

Dr. Susan: You do one of the following, depending on your nature: you cry quietly, you cry loudly, you march around the house ranting and raving about what such a betrayal has done to you, you insist your wife attend counseling with you and never see the guy again, or you see a lawyer. If you're like most people, you will already have done several of these things (and more) by the time you read this. What you need to do after you've done some well-deserved venting of your immediate sorrow and anger is to decide how much you want to hang onto this marriage. Lots and lots of couples surmount affairs, as you can read about in my Loving in Flow. Not easy though, and not speedy. And you both have to sincerely want to get past this. Foremost is remorse and total honesty on her part, which doesn't mean you need to ask for or hear intimate details that will drive you mad. What honesty means is that she admit her responsibility for the choices she made and not make excuses nor blame you. Perhaps she wasn't happy, but that forgives nothing. Whether you have the courage to begin working together on this painful issue is up to the two of you to decide. If you still love her, I suggest you make the effort. Don't worry about forgiveness. That will come later, if it does.

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