Is He Worth it?
Q: I have been in a relationship for 8 years with a man who I married two years ago. We have a very young baby son. We were perfect together, until last year when he stepped out of our marriage while I was pregnant. We've been separated now for several months when I decided I'd had enough. I still love him but can't trust him. Should I rely on the love alone to try to make our marriage work? Part of me feels as though I just want the TV family -- the wife, husband, child and dog that we had in the beginning. A lot of people say we married young, but we were in love. He is constantly trying to "make it work" but I don't feel as though it CAN work without the trust. Should I just give up and hope he becomes a great father or give it a go? -- Chelsea, 22
Dr. Susan: There's nothing wrong with wanting a happy, cozy little family of the type you once had. But life has a way of smacking us around sometimes, and men have a way of betraying their wives at the worst possible time, when they're expecting a baby. There's no way around the fact that your husband behaved recklessly and selfishly. But that doesn't mean he hasn't changed since then. Now that you two have a child, it's possible your husband realizes what he almost lost. He might see now that there's nothing like being part of a loving family. Let me assure you that LOVE is plenty to go on. I'd definitely give him another chance, and not only for the sake of your little boy. At the same time, he has to let you vent your hurt feelings about the affair he had, and he needs to earn your trust by being out in the open with his activities from now on. No secrets. As I found while writing Loving in Flow, many couples find happiness after similar challenges. Though it's hard to believe right now, the trust you need can be rebuilt.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.