Confused, Hurt and Angry
February 14, 2000 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
My husband of almost 10 years,had an affair with a girl whom was my little sister's friend...
I allowed her to stay in our home unti she could get on her feet...she got on her back instead!
We had a rocky relationship from the start (my husband & I) yet it was still us. She is now pregnant with what might be my husband's child (she was also sleeping with a few others). He was planning on moving in with her but couldn't let go of me....now the problem is I know that she don't want to let go.
I love my husband, he says he loves me and treats me better now, but I refuse to let all of this go...I am starting counseling soon because I now go from one extreme to the other emotionally.
How can I tell if all this hell that I am going through is worth the pain? I really need your help. I am soo confused, hurt,& empty.
You have been dealt a very low blow. No wonder your emotions are all over the page. Only you can say whether the relationship is worth saving. To decide this, you need to do a relationship, cost benefit analysis. Think about all the benefits that you gain from staying in the relationship and examine the deficits. When you are done making your list, you need to ask yourself if the good outweighs the bad. While it is true that the bad may outweigh the good, at least right now, it doesn't mean that this can't improve. For many couples, an affair is a springboard for growth and change on both sides. After you get past the initial hurt, shock and anger, you would do well to shift how you are looking at the affair. Instead of saying, "I was cheated on" it would be good to say, "Our relationship had an affair." I know this latter sentence will be hard to say, especially since you feel wronged and betrayed. I'm not saying that your husband was right to behave as he did. Clearly, cheating isn't the ideal way of dealing with marital troubles. However, if you can get past your outrage over his misbehavior, and focus instead on the couple, you both can begin to heal the marriage and rebuild it on stronger foundations. To make this shift from finger pointing to examination and repair, begin asking what was missing for you both in this marriage. Both of you need to state what you need to feel more connected to each other. Both of you also need to be examining how you each contributed to breaking the connection. Taking personal responsibility rather than finger pointing is key. While individual therapy may comfort you and nurse your wounds,it is still a way of holding on to the, "I'm the victim, and he 'done me wrong' position." If you love each other, it is worth the effort to repair the relationship. But, you both must be willing to invest in making the changes. I noticed that you sounded tired of trying and I was concerned that you may be putting in more than your fair share of the effort. Your decision to keep the marriage, must also be based upon whether or not he is willing to invest himself in rebuilding the relationship. If only you are the one who will be changing, then you will need to ask yourself, "What's in it for me to stay?" By the way, there's a new book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Affair-Proof Love." It is published by MacMillan and should be in the bookstores any day now. I wrote the foreword on this book, and I know that it will give you both the tools to rebuild your marriage. Let me know what you decide to do.
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Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
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Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
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