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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5822
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My partner and I have been together for 22 years. We have two

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My partner and I have been together for 22 years. We have two children; one grown and the other is 15. We've had our ups and downs, like any couple, but have mostly been happy. He has always been a bit of a workaholic, and that has definitely affected things. We are both in the restaurant business; he's a general manager. We've gone through several periods where we didn't spend enough time together, including the past 2 years, and that has made us neglect our relationship.
Two months ago, I found out that he was sleeping the new owner of the restaurant he manages. It was devastating, but I was willing to forgive him, and work through our problems. He said that he wanted the same, but asked for a separation to "get himself right." He gave me his word that he was not seeing her anymore, and that he would not see her during the separation, and I want very much to believe that, but it's hard. He has to see her and work closely with her every day. Meanwhile, it has been two months and he has spent very little time with me and our family. He says that he has been busy trying to get the restaurant turned around, and that he needs to do that so that he can concentrate on making us better. I'm not sure how much of that I believe. I don't know why this restaurant has become the center of his universe, and why making it succeed is more important than our relationship and our family. I don't know if he's having a mid-life crisis, or if he simply wants to be with the other woman, and doesn't want to tell me. I just know that I want this separation over. I miss my lover, my partner and my best friend.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your partner is focused more on his needs right now than the needs of your marriage or even your needs. He has just admitted to having an affair with someone in the very restaurant he is working on right now. That is sending the message to you that the restaurant (and potentially the woman he was with) is more important than your feelings and your marriage. Given the situation, it is no wonder you feel as you do.

Your marriage should be the highest priority right now, especially with what the two of you are going through. If he has admitted to the outside relationship but has made himself unavailable to work out the damage to your marriage as a result, then it sounds like he has not fully accepted responsibility for what has happened.

The first step in dealing with this is to ask your partner to come with you to therapy. If he protests and says that he is too busy or just won't go, then go on your own. You need the support and the time to consider if he is taking your marriage and this situation seriously. He is basically leaving you to deal with this on your own, which will only hurt you more.

The next step is to try to rebuild the trust that was broken in your relationship. He needs to be involved in order to do this. It is necessary that he take these steps to regain your trust:

It is important that he find a way to stop seeing this woman so you can rebuild your trust. Even if that means a transfer, letting her go or getting himself out of that restaurant. He needs to put you and your marriage first, regardless of his other needs.

He also needs to admit to what he did again and be sorry for it. If he has no remorse, then he might be putting his needs first before yours.

You both need to be talking about what happened. He also needs to make his life an open book which means you are allowed access to his emails, phone records and his schedule. This is only until your marriage is repaired. But by doing this, your trust can be rebuilt.

Here are some resources that can help you:

Infidelity: A Survival Guide by Don-David Lusterman.

Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After
Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli.

You can find these both on or your local library may have them.

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
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