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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question
Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I need help to repair our marriage after an affair.

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Hi, I need help to repair our marriage after an affair.
Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I may be able to help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your marriage is having this difficulty currently, would you mind giving me more details on this issue so that I can be able to assist you more.

Customer: I had an affair with a woman I met through work. She lived in another country and I visited her 6 times over a two year period.
Customer: When I broke it off she contacted my wife and told her about the affair. We have been married 26 year without being unfaithful.
Dr. Z :

I am so sorry to hear this, may I ask what prompted you to have the affair? Were you unhappy in your marriage?

Customer: It has been 10 months now since this happened and I am still receiving emails from her, copied to my wife revealing things about the relationship that opens wounds.
Customer: My wife has confidence issues and we are unable to discuss the affair without a dispute
Dr. Z :

I understand your wife's position about having confidence issues regarding this, but it appears from what you are telling me is that you both want to try to work this out because it has been 10 months since the affair. Have you both considered seeking counseling to help her restore her confidence and trust in you?

Dr. Z :

Also in regards ***** ***** other woman emailing both of you I think it would be a great idea if you blocked her email address or changed email addresses because she is just reminding your wife about the affair and not letting her get past this

Customer: We live on a small Caribbean Island and we have limited access to counselors without compromising confidence
Dr. Z :

That is what I thought, I just wanted to ask. Have you considered online therapy though? That can be confidential and in the privacy of your own home

Customer: I have tried blocking address but she makes new addresses and continues. Have taken legal advice and option is to file legal action for stalking, which we do not want to do for fear of the publicity this could attract.
Dr. Z :

That is why I think closing your email account and then opening a new one with a new email address would be wise. You can inform your friends, family, and co-workers of your new email but no one else.

Customer: No, that is not an option. She sends to work 'info' address.
Dr. Z :

Okay, well that is an issue but hopefully she will get bored and stop emailing or find someone else to attach to.

Dr. Z :

Lets continue to concentrate on you and your wife.

Customer: Correction - not a solution
Customer: Yes I agree
Dr. Z :

So your wife is having difficulty getting past this affair, which I think we both can agree is understandable. Your wife feels hurt and is having an issue with trusting you, so it will take time to rebuild that trust with her. Since you both cannot see a therapist, have you both tried to self-help books that may be able to help you?

Dr. Z :

Also did you tell your wife why you sought the affair?

Customer: Yes read extensively - not just friends, and online journals
Customer: Book 'not just friends'
Dr. Z :

Yeah I know what you meant by the book, I have read it before.

Customer: To me, everything is so black and white and neat. I do not feel like I had problems befor the affair, I do not understand or are able to describe why I did this
Customer: Sorry - the book is 'black and white'
Customer: Not real to me, very simplistic
Customer: It all reads like an Opra show rather than reality
Dr. Z :

Maybe that is one reason why your wife is not comfortable yet because she does not know why you committed the affair so she wonders if it will happen again

Customer: Yes, correct
Dr. Z :

So a goal would be helping your wife understand that you will never do this again, so that she can start to trust you again

Customer: Yes
Dr. Z :

Okay well lets see if we can make some headway on this... this other woman was she younger?

Customer: yes, 20 years younger than my wife
Dr. Z :

Okay that is definitely younger. And who initiated the affair? Basically who started flirting first her or you?

Customer: I initiated it
Dr. Z :

And was the affair primarily sexual or not?

Customer: she was a consultant providing advice and I was attracted to her. She gave me indications that she was interested, but it was me who lead
Customer: yes sexual. Occurred while I was on business trips in city she lived
Customer: it was only about sex for me, never considered any kind of relationship
Customer: never considered leaving wife to be with her
Dr. Z :

So it sounds like this was the mostly a physical affair with no real personal attachments to this woman, that is actually something that works in your favor. It is possible that you found this woman attractive and that you were fearing, subconsciously, that as you got older you would not be able to attract a woman like this in the future, so you thought this may be your last shot to have an affair with this young of a woman. Basically it was an affair of opportunity for you.

Customer: Yes definitely
Dr. Z :

That can be a start to help you gain more acceptance of your role now in your marriage with your wife and help you realize that you want to be with her and only her, but that will take time to convince her, but of course it does not help with this other woman emailing both of you

Dr. Z :

I urge you both not to read the emails when she sends them and just throw the in the trashbin on your computer because reading them will just be a step backwards in helping repair your marriage.

Customer: Okay, that is good advice, thank you
Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can do to assist you?

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