Deadbeat vs. New Love
Q: My husband and I split up two months ago after I asked him to leave because he was not helping to provide for our family. I felt like he was more like another child I was taking care of, and I was the only one working. He basically was taking care of things around the house. I met someone at work who saw that I was unhappy in my marriage, and we started seeing each other outside of work.
I still love my husband. He is getting himself together, and we've talked about getting back together. I'm still seeing the other guy. He helps me in every way he can but I'm not sure if I love him exactly the way he loves me because I still very much love my husband. I'm just seeing him now because my husband is gone, and he helps me with some bills. I'm so confused because sometimes I do feel love for him and I don't want to hurt him because he says he needs me so much. If I get back with my husband I'm scared he is still not going to do right because he lies so much that I don't know when he is telling the truth or not. What should I do? -- Rhonda, 30
Dr. Susan: You've gotten yourself into a fine mess. Your husband lies, and so do you. You're having an affair at the same time as you insist you love your husband. Are you going to confess this affair to your husband? Might he forgive you and not hate you for it? Then step one would be to stop seeing this other man. His presence is complicating your situation to the point where you may never untangle yourself. It's not right to string this guy along when you really want to go back to your husband, regardless of whether or not you have strong feelings for him at times. You will have to hurt him. That's the reality of affairs. They always end up hurting one or more people. You and your husband ought to see a therapist. At least make a serious effort to work out some action steps that will demonstrate your husband's sincerity about taking on an adult role.
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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.