Some questions remaining from my LIVE CHAT, After the Affair, Dec. 5:
We’ve been to marital therapy, sex addiction counselling for him, individual therapy for me… and still have the same problem. My husband had a married lover, 12 years older than him, from when he was 18. He always goes back to her even after counselling.
We’re late-30s now. He swears he loves me, loves our family, but she’s part of his life he can’t get past. One therapist said I should just accept it. What do you think?
Can you accept it? Why should you? Either you get this lover out from between you, or you go on without both of them.
He’s putting HIS past on your back to bear. If he believes he needs her most, so be it. I say, once he says she’s there permanently, you need to cut your emotional ties to this unhealthy threesome.
Tell him that he’s clinging to her because of some insecurity, guilt, or dependency, and he needs individual therapy to get past this and into his real adult life with you and your family.
Then, re-negotiate the relationship in a way that works for both of you.
I’m dating a player, but hopelessly in love. Is there any chance that he can stop cheating? He’s always left his previous girlfriends that way.
He says I’m the first he’s ever wanted to commit to long-term, but I play the game of being indifferent, because I’m sure if I give in and tell him how I feel, he’ll be off for another conquest.
We’re both in our 20s, and he’s the first man I’ve felt this way about. But we haven’t had sex, just fooled around.
Is there Hope?
Stop the game. Trying to outsmart him is a wasted effort, because winning isn’t guaranteed to be worth it. You may just end up with heartache.
Can he change? Maybe. But it’s far from certain. Since you’re still young, take a break – six months – and see how you feel then, which is more important than how he feels.
If you distance yourself from his pursuit, you may decide not to risk years of painful bites from trying to tame a wolf to be a faithful partner.
My husband of ten years has climbed the career ladder quickly and he now has a high-powered job with a big income.
Because he’s young and good-looking, everyone - males and females alike - fawn over him, and he’s learned to expect it. At company events, I can hardly get near him, there’s always a crush of women around him.
I’m pretty sure he’s had several fast flings in these past few years… I did snoop and found some evidence through his emails. I’m afraid he’s one of those people who cheat “because they can.”
He’ll keep cheating “because he can” if you keep expecting and accepting it.
Examine how you really feel about his inflated ego and straying behaviour, and then tell him straight up.
He may’ve become addicted to the attention, like some celebrities apparently crave, so ask if that’s more important to him now than the emotional connection between him and the woman he married.
If, for him, applause outweighs intimate love and trust, can you live with that? Are you staying even after knowing about his flings, because of the goodies he provides?
If not, alert him that you won’t be staying around for his final bow. See a lawyer instead.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s uncertain whether his girlfriend is needy or shy (Dec. 4):
Reader – “Is it not possible that the girlfriend is simply an introvert?
“Introverts are not needy, dependent, or inherently shy, and we don't need to be counselled or "fixed." We just don't enjoy this sort of thing (group socializing, cliques, parties) and never will.
“Like any mixed relationship, an introvert/extrovert couple might work if BOTH parties are willing to have insight, compassion, acceptance and willingness to compromise.”
Ellie – Interesting perspective, and the reader has included this informative article about the “habits and needs of a little-understood group” known as introverts.
Read on and be fascinated:
Example: “Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/302696/
Tip of the day:
Staying involved with a lover during years of marriage is emotional bigamy.