I’ve been married for 16 years, no kids. My wife has cheated on me four times. The first three times I forgave her because she assured me it wouldn’t happen again.
Three weeks ago, I found out about the fourth time.
I’m not sure if sex was involved but I know she went out to movies.
Ever since the third time, I’ve been unable to stop thinking about it even though it happened four years ago.
And this fourth time has devastated me.
It’s hard (almost impossible) for me to trust her. She doesn’t want me to leave, but to work things out instead, but how?
I love her but I cannot trust her anymore.
I’ve only stayed because I’m trying to reason with her and make things easier for both of us.
I believe that a repeated mistake isn’t a mistake but a habit. A pattern.
Does she want me to stay because she’s comfortable?
The “cheating” is oddly confusing, since this last may’ve only involved going to a movie.
You don’t say if she went out with a stranger, or the same man from four years ago and is therefore having an ongoing alliance, or you’re mostly upset because she went out without your knowledge.
It matters. Because incidents of mostly going to a movie – if that were the case – would sound like her “pattern” is a sign of loneliness, not desire for another man.
Especially since she doesn’t want to end the marriage.
You two need counselling, whether you leave her or not.
There’s no understanding of what’s behind these incidents. Children aren’t keeping you together, yet she doesn’t want you to leave and you’ve stayed 16 years.
The big “mistake” in all this is neither of you opening up about what’s really happening in this marriage.
If you don’t see a professional counsellor, you’ll never know what she needed most from you, what you lost by leaving, or how you two could’ve made it work.
My friend of 12 years and I were really close in our 20s and share many hobbies. We always got along well and took five trips together that were all fun and no conflicts.
But he's very disorganized. On two trips, he wanted to leave his wallet in the hotel room – an easy steal for housekeeping staff. I convinced him otherwise.
Also, on one trip, he left his cellphone on the plane, which flight attendants later found.
I now don't travel with him, as I wouldn't want to risk his losing a passport.
We're now almost 30 and not as close. I’m losing interest in this friendship.
I'm socially active with a large circle of friends and prefer to hang out with closer and newer friends instead of him.
But I'm a compassionate guy and he doesn't have very many friends and needs my friendship.
However, he doesn't socialize well with my other friends, or people in general. He appears disinterested and withdrawn.
He's been at almost all my birthday gatherings for years, so he'll wonder why he's excluded if I don't invite him this summer.
I know how it feels to be hurt so it’s a tough decision.
Time To Move On?
You already know he will be hurt if you don’t invite him.
You’re the lucky guy who has a whole social group including new friends.
So why cut him out? See him sometimes, and invite him to the birthday party. He shows up, so that means he wants to be there.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who claimed to misplace a cheque for six years (May 16):
Reader – “To me, it’s a toss-up of who’s the flakier of the two: the borrower who claimed to need it at the time, or the writer, who doesn’t keep track of a cheque she’s written and whether it remained outstanding so long (cheques become “stale-dated” and un-cashable after time).
“Asking a bank to produce duplicate records going back six years, could cost a big charge.
“Asking the borrower to provide the original, found cheque doesn't seem an unreasonable request, and, despite the writer's changed circumstances, would warrant her replacing it.
“Then the writer should feel guilty about not paying.
“However, if there’s no cheque as proof, then the acquaintance was never a friend, just a fraud artist looking for a mark, and, as you say, it is unlikely she would "return... to the well a third time."
Tip of the day:
If “cheating” stems from loneliness, counselling might end the pattern.