Last year, I discovered that my wife of 25-years had a relationship with a former co-worker. She ended it when I became suspicious. She’s unaware that I’ve since learned that the relationship actually lasted several years, not months.
We’ve both worked hard these past six months to improve ourselves and our marriage. It’s now stronger than ever, and we can have a wonderful life.
But I’m still consumed by the lying and deception, worried it’ll never pass.
My wife has never apologized to me. If I try to discuss the affair’s actual duration, she shuts down by saying it’s in the past.
My marriage is perfect today. So why do I keep thinking about leaving this woman whom I love? How can I save my marriage and get over this pain?
Take her off guard. Since you’ve both worked hard to improve the marriage, say that you now recognize that you both could’ve done better. Then ask her to apologize in return.
It’s crucial to your getting past the affair. Say that the marriage is only “perfect” today, if she can acknowledge that she hurt you deeply and is sorry that she did so.
Otherwise, she keeps the matter in in your consciousness by not acknowledging its length and impact on you.
That said, sometimes the best advice comes from within yourself.
You love her. You say that your marriage is stronger, and you can have a wonderful life. If that’s what you want most, do the work/get more counselling, try whatever it takes to forget the past and enjoy the present and future.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the question: Does anyone else have the same problem I have with my mother? (Sept. 4):
“I had a mother who needed to be center stage.
Even at my University graduation, the only one from the family, she was talking about how smart she was.
“With my children, when there was no way she could upstage them, she’d explain to everybody that had it not been for her they’d never achieve what they did.
“How did we deal with that? We didn’t. You don’t change a personality. This is what she was. I soon understood that what I do is for myself, not for the praise I might or might not get.
“My kids dealt with it even better. They just thought Grandma was hilarious. Other Grandmas were careful, somewhat conservative, while theirs was so funny and unique.
“They never received praise from her and never expected it, but they knew there’d be some funny story about how smart she used to be.
“Wherever we went, people loved her. Nobody knew how much she was making up about her experiences.
“It wasn’t just family members whom she needed to upstage. If there was a line-up for the toilet in a restaurant, she’d tell the waiting ladies that the last time it happened to her was in Paris. Nobody could match that.
“How to deal with a person like that? Accept what’s good, ignore what’s not. Provide your children with what they need and they don’t need to be constantly praised.
“With a grandma like theirs, they’ll learn how to deal with people who don’t behave as expected.
“My mom died a year ago. Though we miss her, we still laugh at her being so much better than anybody else... she really was special and upstaged us all.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the “Honeymoon Hassle” a new bride experienced (Oct. 15):
Reader – “This letter resonated with me! Years ago, my wife and I planned to marry in a New York Catholic Church, but the Diocese insisted on couples attending a “Pre-Cana” class to marry there.
“I was a widower and thought “it’s not necessary for me,” but we went anyway.
“The day-long class had three subjects: “Sex/children,” “Finance” and “Faith,” given by two married couples.
“Each session was followed by a period for the attending couples to discuss the topics privately. It was sometimes possible to overhear what other couples were saying. One young man said in disbelief to his fiancée, “You mean you want four children?!”
“The clear message of the course was to get couples discussing these important things before marriage rather than after, to strip away the rose-colored glasses and
hopefully avoid the sadness experienced by the letter writer.
“Thanks for your very important column.”
Tip of the day:
Despite one partner’s affair, a marriage can refresh and thrive, if both parties commit to mutual improvements, and renewed love.