Can't Let Go of Wife's Affair
Q: I have been with my wife for 11 years. She had an affair with a friend for 2 years. Before that, this man was having an affair with another friend's wife that we both knew about, and I told my wife to stay away from him because he was no good. No matter how I spoke about this man, she decided to have a relationship with him. I have a daughter that I love very much. I tried to make things work four times because she asked me to come back home, but she didn't want to talk about it or go for counseling and she still continued to talk to the other man. The families of both households know what went on. She also brought him into my home to spend time. I am in the beginning of a divorce. The man's wife has called me three times and told me she is very emotional, and they are going to counseling. I have respected my wife and worked very hard to give us a nice life, but I don't think I can continue with this relationship. -- Paul, 35
Dr. Susan: You may be right about your marriage ending. If your wife won't talk to you, won't agree to counseling even to save your relationship, then she is apparently not as committed to making it work as you have been. It would be very hard for you to "get over" her two-year affair, yet it can be done. But only with her help and full cooperation. People get crazy when they're in the early stages of an affair. They don't think straight. They act like addicts. They actually forget how much they loved their own mate earlier on. They mistake this new person as their "real" love. If a marriage is to have any hopes of surviving, your wife has to let go of her affair partner completely. She's being unfair to you, your daughter, and the other couple also, as they seem to be trying to save their own marriage. 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.