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My husband has been having an affair for at least 2 years.

In the interim, he keeps...
my husband has been having an affair for at least 2 years. In the interim, he keeps making plans for us. We are in the process of customizing a mansion we bought last year and have twins on the way. I dont want to disrupt my kids family life, but cant allow him to disrespect me much longer. I plan to confront him and send her a letter once I have made copies all important documents from him. He has know idea that Im aware of his behaviour( I hired a PI). Im torn for my kids....What would you do?
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
6/1/2012
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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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:

http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

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.

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

I wish you the very best in this and in the future!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Hi Dr Mark, Thank you for your response. It appears that I should have given you more details. For instance, this is the second affair that I'm aware of, so he has already destroyed my trust before. Also, Because of the age difference and the fact that they work at the same hospital, and because of all the substantial future plans we have, I don't think this relationship is serious. I am however tired of the alienation of affection from him. Sometimes I want to walk away
y from the relationship and on the other hand, I'm simply afraid and don't want to start over again. With this being said,I would greatly appreciate another word of advise from you. I know that working on our emotional connection will be helpful, but at this point, it's very hard for me to allow myself to be too close to him. As you can see, Our relationship is in more trouble than initially expressed to. We saw a counselor the first time he had an affair. He suggested that we stop and started having another affair within a years time. Thank you again for your help. I'm trully at a loss of what I should do...
You are 29 years old. You are in a marriage with a man who is not who you thought you were marrying. You are only staying in the marriage because of fear. Now I'm going to say the difficult part and I want you to know I'm saying it because I care: you are using the twins on the way as a rationalization for your fear.

I gave the argument for reconciliation. It made you recoil: you really don't want to be in this marriage. Good, it clarified the situation. But again the hard part:

Fear is a bad way to make a life. Let me say for you the quote from President Roosevelt:

To not take a risk because of fear of taking a risk is to take the biggest risk of all.

What is my fear for you?

The third and fourth affairs and then you'll be popping pills to get through life. What kind of modeling is this for your kids?

So, yes, it's time to have him move out. It's time to ask for referrals from friends for an excellent divorce attorney. It will very likely make your husband change his tune. He'll be ready for my book above and the therapy, etc. More than likely. But you have to be careful. My recommendation?

Have him do the book and therapy while he's moved out. And see how you feel about it. Change the power structure in the marriage to you being the powerful one and he being the one who's trying to get you to take him back. This will give you a different operating procedure in couples therapy and let you ask the tough question of him and have the therapist guide you two through it: does he really want a monogamous relationship or is he looking for that lifestyle of wife and mistresses? And if he says monogamous, then he needs to be able and willing to do the work in the couples therapy of answering WHY he has had two affairs already when you're still so young.

I'm sorry you bought into a marriage under false pretenses. It's such a heartbreak, I know. But if you don't isolate yourself (if he just goes along with a divorce), you will be okay.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Hi Dr Mark,
Thank you for the advise.
I am 52 years old, which is why I'm so fearful of starting over again. I am self employed and my business hasnt been profitable in years now. Our twins are being born via surrogate.
She is 29 and my husband is 46 .
I still plan to write her an anonymous letter and yes, I also plan to confront him by letter as well because he has a way of sliding out of every confrontation.
Please tell me given this information if i should perhaps try a separation for now.
Thank you!
Oh, I understand much better now. Thank you for the information.

I am now concerned what your husband's motivation is. Is it that he's looking for more sexual adventure than the sex life the two of you have?

What is his motive for these affairs?

What is your hoped for outcome in writing to her?

Dr. Mark
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Hi Dr Mark,
I think he is going through a mid life crisis.
He never had an opportunity to hang out and have fun like his friends did.
He went from undergrad to med school to residency. Meanwhile, his friends were "getting all the chicks".
He now has money and more time and seems to be making up for it. I honestly believe and hope it's just a phase.
I know that he doesnt want to end our marraige, we have too many (and costly) plans together. And I dont want to end it either, but I am tired of being alone.
I'm writing her to 1)make her uncomfortable and feel humilliated about her behaviour 2) break off the relationship with him. And just in case my letter alone isn't enough,, Im sending a copy to her collegues to show what kind of person she really is.
She knows that my husband is married and that we have a young child. She sees his toddler car seat everytime he drives her home (I have a GPS on our cars). I think if she has any morals at all she will end the relationship immediately. Fortunately, I can do this without ever mentioning a name and she will know who it's from. The email will be sent from a no reply 1 time email address that she cannot trace. It will be interesting to see if she discusses it with my husband.
As you can see, I very upset by this. It is beginning to affect my well being...
Thank you again.
I am very concerned that your long term goals and your short term goals are at odds with each other. I'm not sure you recognize that your short term goal of communicating all this to her has more chance of sabotaging any chance of your marriage surviving this affair than it has of getting her to leave him.

I've just seen too often that the other woman uses it as a way to drive an even greater wedge between husband and wife and to coax him into leaving the wife. Your husband is well off; she may not be as ready to end this as you think. You are giving her a lot of ammunition. The anonymity is not going to convince him or her.

You are very hurt and you want to act on this before you become sick. But your long term goals are to keep your husband. May I recommend a different strategy?

He's being a stud according to you, playing the youth he never had. Well then, seduce him. That's her attraction for him according to your theory. So if you're right, beat her at her own game. Make him want YOU. Be very sexy. Accouterments, toys, everything you can find on Amazon.com to enhance sex. Get a new hairstyle. Go to the health club and start getting more energy back to be the enchantress. Make weekend plans for the great hotel in your area and have a wild night together. Do what it takes to in him over.

I imagine this is making you tired just reading it. This is because you're close to being depressed and have a lot of anxiety. Well, don't let her win him.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Thank you Dr Mark for the new strategy. I understand what you're saying about my conflict of goals. I just think it has a good shot of making both of them break it off. If I threaten to leave him with the kids, he would be so scared and disraught that he would brake it off immediately, it will be over in a flash!
I also disagree with how she will respond to my letter. If it was the other way around, I would feel bad if a wife told me I'm selfish for taking time away that he should be spending with his young child , but instead he out behaving like he's single with a woman almost half his age that does not have the welfare of his children in mind. My husband is not very trusting of someone that behaves this way and wouldnt think about moving to be with her.He would never get too serious about her. He knows that woman are attracted to his money and he using it to fulfill his current desires at the moment. He does not want to walk away from what we have, 3 kids , expensive homes and a lot of substantial plans together as a family. He's already started making an effort to keep me happy with material things so that I will stay. I plan to express to him that I need and want more physically and emotional love in my life with him.
He has already said that we are in this for the long haul, that he's not going anywhere and he doesnt want me to either. February I approched him about his where abouts during one of my business trips.He told so many lies, fortunately , I have proof that he drove her home and sat in from of her house for 20 mins. It took great precaution to make sure I didnt know about it because I would flip out and make his life miserable.. It would be a disaster breaking up a home with 3 young kids. He would not want to give that up, and he would not be able to work and take care of them himself. He does not want a divorce. This girl is young and will only wait so long before wanting her on family.
I can try being sexy, but dont know how far that will take us. He's fine with or without it. He's having an affair, but when he's being watched , he's having drinks or dinner or driving her home then leaving after 15 minutes. If he's having sex with her, it's not often...
I think I expressed all of my issues now. I would like to hear another response from you telling me im not being unrealistic.Thank you again for your advise.
I'm still confused about everything I want to express, I ust know that I need to do it.
Okay. You've gone through a lot of arguments against contacting her and you've stood firm each and every time. That's enough to get me on board. I am not as confident as you about the results, but you have knowledge of the situation and you've stood firm. So I'll support your contacting her and we'll hope for the best.

I'm very surprised and confused by the lack of sex. But again, you have the information. I would still try to make staying with you something he would want rather than something he does because of fear of the alternative. So consider taking those types of steps.

Wow, it's going to be dramatic. So keep in touch.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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