Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how hurtful and distressing this situation must be for you. I am so sorry you are going through this. This is very hurtful. You are ready to continue the marriage you say. I am glad to hear this but it has to be for your own sake, not the kids' sake. It's your marriage. If it's for their sake, the same problems that caused him to be unfaithful will again occur.
So we are discussing this with the belief that he will also recognize he values you and your marriage and will want to make changes to have a great marriage. If not, then you do have to move on. You have to be able to trust him.
You've clearly been hurt and disappointed and now that you've been "burned", you're hesitant to put your self back close to the "fire". But if you it is not forgetting the hurt that will help. It is putting the hurt in the proper perspective. The purpose of being burned once is not to never use the stove again but to respect the proper safeguards we must have and the way to approach the heat more safely and properly.
I want to give you a framework to ponder: You have to understand how trust works. Trust is not a GUARANTEE about the future. Trust is a mutual agreement among people. You can't ever be certain about what anyone will do in the future. So how do you trust in someone or anyone? You have to BESTOW trust in them.
You want to remember the hurt but remember the hurt as part of your learning process and part of the growth of your marriage. That's right, part of what will make your marriage a great marriage that' stronger in the future. YOur question is how to confront him. There is no good way. One possible way is to already have a couples therapist in place, someone you've talked to at least by phone and that you can then schedule an appointment with for the day after or two days after you tell him you know about the affair. I do not recommend writing her. I do not recommend having any connection with her. She is a part of his leaving the marriage vow; she's not a part of your life. He has to make his decision based on his values and his commitment. Do not try to influence it by getting her involved between you and him. You need to talk to him and let him know, cry, etc. And then either have the therapist already in place or perhaps do the following program. It's up to you.
Take some time and process: what have you learned? He needs to do the same. He also needs to learn how to have better trust in his own commitment to the marriage. So the two of you need to not be worried about instant trust again, but about working together to build and bestow trust: communication.
Again, I'm assuming he is having an affair for the usual reasons and not because there is some mental health disorder. Communication is the muscular system of love. And love is the circulatory system. Let me repeat that because it's so important: it's not sex; it's not beauty or looking good; it's not being smart or clever. Communication between the two people is the love muscle; it's the muscular system of love. The desire to give to the other person, to make the other person happy is the heart of love, the circulatory system.
Having my answer be part of the process is important to moving forward. Show him your question and my answer and have it be part of the process of your marriage healing.
I want you to print out my answer and take it and him to a Starbucks or other quiet place and discuss it and commit to the program to try to make your marriage a success. You're going to start with a book. You'll get 2 copies, one for each of you. Each night you're both going to read a few pages or a chapter and do the exercise there if there is one in those pages. Every other night, or at most, every third night sometimes, you will get together, either at home or at the Starbucks and talk about what you read. What you think of it, what it inspired in you. Make notes in the margins. And each one talk about the subject of the pages and what you think. That's your assignment and dates.
The book: It's by the foremost researcher into relationships in our day, John Gottman. He's famous for being interviewed on TV and being able to tell when a couple will get divorced within 5 minutes and having 90% accuracy. I've studied his therapy and use his therapy in my practice and that's why I'm concerned that you two do this. So the book is the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. You can get it cheaply online or see if you can get it locally to save time.
Now, a secret: the magic is not in the book. The exercises and Gottman's insights will be very useful and important for the two of you. But the magic is in the act of working together on your marriage! The two of you paying attention every single day to your marriage and making effort every single day: that's the magic ingredient in great marriages that GROW in love as the years pile up. I want to make sure you both understand this. Because that's the key to our work here. Okay?
If this work gets you two to first base but not all the way, if it isn't a home run, then consider therapy, which is more than likely something you'll need: the two of you MUST work on how emotional connections are made and maintained. The two of you together need help in learning how to make your marriage more emotionally intimate and positive.
One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why this type for you? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Here is the web address for their therapist finder:
On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg.
There are not that many therapist who work in these therapies and so I recommended EFT couples therapy knowing that often it's a way to orient you on the type of work you want the therapist you do choose to focus on.
Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (they show you a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list couples therapy in their orientations. Interview the therapist and make sure he/she shares your values and you each feel confident in him or her.
I wish you the very best in this and in the future!
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