Q: My wife had a short affair recently. I don't want to throw away 28 years of marriage and neither does she. We are trying to work it out, but I have a lot of mixed-up emotions. Do you have any advice for me to deal with this? -- Mitch, 48
Dr. Susan: Among the many couples who go through what you're going through, some come out the other side in very good shape. It takes a lot of resilience and love on both your parts. Here are my recommendations (and you're find more in Loving in Flow):
- Both of you must face the fact that your wife made a poor decision. We all make mistakes. She must not blame you.
- She needs to let you freely express your hurt and distress. There is not a time when she can say, "Enough." Don't call her names, but do tell her what you feel.
- The two of you mustn't try to sweep this under the carpet. Talk to a professional if need be, preferably together.
- Make your marriage a priority. Discuss what might have been missing, and find ways to enrich your lives together.
- Understand that it will take a long time to regain a sense of security with one another. Put both forgiving and forgetting out of your minds for now. Good luck!
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.