Wife's Old Affair
Q: How does someone continue with his wife after finding out she had an affair 18 years ago? She only told me about this last year. I was ill at the time and because of the medications I was taking, nothing bothered me. Now a year and half later when my illness has been taken care of, all I want to do is leave her because I feel I've lost my love for her. What is an answer to this type of problem? -- Monty
Dr. Susan: : Think back to a couple years ago. Did you feel you had a pretty decent marriage? If you wouldn't have dreamed of leaving her then, you surely don't need to do so now, over something that's ancient history. Still, sexual jealousy is an intensely powerful emotion. It will take time for yours to simmer down. You may always be aware that there's this "thing" in your past, but you will get past the painful emotion you feel now. It's interesting that your wife waited 18 years to confess this affair. She was either looking for an excuse to exit the marriage herself, or she wanted to clear the slate and get closer to you by sharing more of her real self. Talking to a professional may help the two of you put this into its proper perspective. I don't believe you've necessarily suddenly lost all love for your wife, but you've lost your sense of knowing who she is. Looking through the lens of this old affair, you see her now as someone who is capable of deceiving you over a long period of time. She'll need to help you rebuild your trust in her. While it won't be easy to get over your hurt feelings, it is possible to revive your marriage and re-bury this old mistake in its time capsule.
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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.