Hubby's Confused

Q: My husband and I have been married for 8 1/2 years and were together two years before that. We have a toddler son who we adopted. We have had ups and downs in our relationship but nothing major. The other day my husband tells that he has been talking to a female at work about "nothing personal" but she makes him feel good about himself and has made him doubt his happiness with our relationship. He has her number programmed in his cell phone but according to him that's only because of work. He says that he doesn't know what to do or how to act on these feelings. He has not said that he wants out but has not made any commitment to trying to make things better. What should I think of this and what should I do? -- Tanya, 35

Dr. Susan: Beware the foolish husband who doesn't realize that any new woman can make him "feel good about himself" simply because she's not the wife at home who knows him all too well. When an affair is beginning--and I'm not sure this one has begun yet, but it may have or might soon--what happens is that the novelty of a new woman's attention goes to the guy's head (and elsewhere). Questioning his own previous happiness is par for the course. He really does "forget" all the good things about his marriage. You have to remind him, and quickly, why he married you in the first place. This won't be easy, especially if he continues to work with this tempting person. He needs NOT to act on these feelings until he's talked them through with you and, preferably, with a good counselor.

Many of the couples I interviewed for Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get & Stay That Way were threatened by extramarital escapades. Some gave in and had the affairs, and clawed their way back to sanity the hard way. Others caught themselves in time and managed to retain their self-respect and marriages without actually screwing up. Both of you need to learn all you can about affairs. Take this situation very very seriously. Assume the worst and try your hardest to get him to realize the danger his family is in.

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