Q: My husband and I have been married for 25 years, with three nearly grown children, and he has been cheating on me our whole marriage. I just found out for the second time. The first time I found out was ten years ago. We went to a psychologist and worked through it, and I forgave him. It took me about five years to do this. A year ago I found out he had been cheating on me for two years. So now we are back again where we were ten years ago. We are trying very hard to make this work. He did it in front of my face, and I did not see it. I hate myself, but I trusted him. -- Shari, 53
Dr. Susan: Please don't hate yourself. You played by the rules, gave your husband every opportunity to change his ways and respect you and the marriage (and himself), and yet he went his own dishonest way. It's normal to trust your mate in a committed relationship. It's not right or ethical or moral to betray that trust repeatedly, though it's surely quite common. You say "we are trying very hard to make this work," but I suspect you mean YOU are trying very hard. Only you can decide if you're willing to spend the next few years trying to overcome this painful infidelity, perhaps being able to forgive him again, and taking the risk that he will do it again. Your kids are a decade older now, which may give you more options than you had before. I suggest you talk all this through with a professional, focusing on how much you're willing to give up to keep the status quo stable. Such a decision is bound to be incredibly hard, either way. Just don't be angry at the wrong person in this marriage.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.