I’m 52, and mistakenly left my beautiful wife of 10 years for someone else.
I’ve since ended the other relationship and realize that my wife was the sweetest, kindest, loving woman.
Ellie, how do I convince her that she’s the only woman I want, that I do love her, and that I’d made a terrible mistake? We speak to each other and she’s very understanding. But I’ve hurt her very much.
I traveled a lot in our marriage and during a particular trip I had an affair. The excitement, combined with guilt, caused me to leave my marriage.
I now have a new job that requires no travel.
I’ve learned through past counselling the reasons why I strayed. It had nothing to do with my wife.
She’s forgiven me and loves me, but how do I earn her trust back and rebuild our relationship?
The proof is in what you do, not say. Going to counselling (and continuing awhile) is a major step, as is having changed jobs.
The talk should be less about how you feel and more about understanding how she feels: to that end, you’ll need to tell her enough about the affair for her to understand, too, why you got involved.
Then you’ll need to hear and respond to how your straying affected her.
You both need to work on re-building together – through your intimacy with each other, date nights, and plans for mutually enjoyable outlets such as taking trips together.
It becomes a stressful time for everyone, and especially for adult children of divorced parents, as Christmas plans get set this early.
Even at 27, I’m forced to choose between my parents every year.
Now, with a fiancé, we must incorporate his divorced family.
Fortunately, his father celebrates on Boxing Day, giving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to his ex-wife.
My sister’s solution: she and her husband go to one family on December 23, one on the 24th, and one on the 25th.
But my fiance feels his mother should get either the 24th or 25th (also rotated each year) as she represents his side and my parents are the other side.
So I must rotate my two parents on the 23rd and the other two days, meaning they only get to see us on Christmas Day every third year. And we’d miss my sister some years.
My parents both prize Christmas Day, with the 23rd being almost an insult. They both hold grudges.
I want to be able to see everyone at this special time. I also want what’s best for my future marriage, and for all our family.
I wish you could also aim for World Peace that day, but you’d find it hard to pull off on your own. Similarly, this demand for the perfect solution isn’t realistic.
Come up with what works best for this year, and explain to all the parents involved that it’s only the beginning of years of hopefully happy get-together. Plans will have to adjust if and when babies arrive, or families move, but you’ll do your best to see them all.
Consider inviting anyone you can’t see on Christmas Day dinner, to your place for a brunch on the 25th or 24th; or try leaving one set of parents after dinner and have dessert with another.
Whatever your “first-time” solution, call all the households, including Sis, on Christmas Day, to wish them a joyous holiday and hopes for peace and goodwill to all.
After my neighbour moved in three years ago, she talked to me whenever she saw me.
Last summer, I decided to be friendlier and invited her over for lunch. We set a date, but she didn’t show. I saw her talking to other neighbours that day. I realized she might be uncomfortable with other people's food (I’m Chinese).
I was hurt, but felt it was understandable.
Suddenly, she stopped talking to me. I’m sure I didn't offend her.
Should I never speak to her again?
It’s better to have a neutral relationship than a rift that attracts other neighbours to take sides. Smile pleasantly, but walk on unless she speaks first.
Maybe she prefers only street contact with her neighbours, rather than personal visits.
Still, she should’ve cancelled the date, offering some reason.
But you can take the high road by demonstrating good manners and friendly borders, through polite distance.
Tip of the day:
Trust returns through day-to-day behaviour, not through promises.