My husband of five years recently had an affair with a co-worker. We're in counseling, separately, before couples’ counselling commences.
His mother would like to visit our one-year-old child and us this Christmas - for three months. She doesn’t know of the affair.
I’ve expressed concern to my husband that we’re not ready to have any houseguests while in recovery mode. A hotel is out of the question and she won't agree to a shorter visit.
I feel that it’ll place added stress on our marriage. His parents’ marriage ended due to his mother’s cheating. I feel anger towards her that her horrible examples contributed to my husband's behaviours.
I also think that her long visit will take away much needed time for re-building our relationship, just the two of us.
Awkward Christmas Visit
Everything you say makes sense… except blaming your husband’s mother for his cheating. He could’ve as easily used that role model to be determinedly faithful. He cheated for his own reasons, not hers.
That’s what he needs to explore in therapy and you need to hear and work through together. Also, this MIL will be in your child’s life for years ahead, so drop your resentment of her past, of which you were not a part.
Nevertheless, the proposed visit is the wrong move, at the worst time.
The person who cheated has to accept this as one of the consequences. He must tell his mother that it’s a bad time (providing the truth or citing work stress, whatever you two decide).
He can suggest a defined-limits visit e.g. one week or two, if you agree. Or offer a later date, say six months down the road, for an extended visit, when hopefully you two will be far along in your reconciliation.
Since my old friend and I began hanging out 25 years ago, I’ve been to university, spent years outside the country, and recently re-trained in computer technology.
He’s stayed at a safe factory job, makes good money, but never expanded his horizons. We have increasingly less in common.
Now, I’ve learned that he's been calling me "weasel" behind my back.
I have a wife and kids while he has none, and he lacks sympathy for the time, effort, and compromises, that being a good dad requires.
I’d like to scream at him. But prefer to not have anything more to do with him.
I know he has few friends so feel badly for that. Yet he obviously doesn't care about what he says to others about me. Do I choose loyalty or cut off someone who has no respect for me?
Seriously Put Out
He has little understanding of your life… which you can understand since he lives completely differently without wife, children, and broadened horizons.
It’s likely he feels jealousy because of those differences, and some misunderstanding of how one behaves within married life and parenthood.
Give a 25-year friendship one last effort – ask him why he calls you a “weasel,” say it’s a hurtful show of disrespect and you’re surprised after all these years that he’d be so disloyal.
He may surprise you with some account of hurt by you, of which you’re unaware. Or, with his feeling of you distancing because of family obligations that he doesn’t “get.”
Or he may just end the friendship himself, which solves the dilemma for you. But at least you know you took the high road and gave him a chance to explain himself.
I received more parental attention than my sisters due to my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which inhibited my ability to control my temper/words.
My two sisters became very jealous, angry, and hurt, which I now understand.
Eventually, I learned to control my behaviours. I’ve apologized repeatedly but one sister won’t give me a chance to prove that I’m a different person.
I’ve tried talking to her and to earn her respect. I feel that she should put herself in my shoes.
Her refusal makes me hate her and want to say or do mean things to her, which I want to avoid. She won’t attend counselling with me.
Continue with your own counselling, since her hanging onto past resentment is dragging you back into past anger.
You’ve progressed in your own life and with other relatives, so you know you can overcome and manage OCD. You don’t need her to confirm that.
Tip of the day:
Marital recovery after an affair requires avoiding disruptive factors that can slow the process.