She Cheated, He Still Wants Her
Q: My ex (we were a couple for 7 years) had an affair one year ago. I left for a couple months, but we talked over the phone a lot. I went back to her before beginning my healing. There were issues like co-dependency, anxiety, self-esteem, self-worth, self-blame and immaturity involved on both sides. I'm back at my mom's again feeling very lost, confused, hurt and angry. There is no light in my future. I loved her with all my heart. I've read many books on recovering from infidelity. I'm really concerned she's gone forever. She was my life, my world and my love. Please help me. -- Dan, 48
Dr. Susan: It's wonderful that you're serious enough about healing that you're reading some good books on the topic. Still, there is only so much you can do on your own. She was the one who had the affair, and she has to be actively involved in regaining your trust. Healing from a major betrayal can take a long long time, much less being able to "forgive." The issues you mention are pretty common in many people, with and without affairs to worry about. Many of those folks manage to put their relationship back together, often with a good counselor. Others simply can't get over the hurt. Does your ex want to patch things up? She has to get some self-knowledge about why she fell into an affair, without simply blaming you or the problems in your relationship. A book I highly recommend, for her especially, is Frank Pittman's' Private Lies. Good luck, and I hope you can get over the hurt and loss, with her or without her if necessary.
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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.