His Wife Wants More
Q: My wife and I have been married for seven years and we have two gorgeous preschoolers. All my dreams have been fulfilled and I have more than I ever dreamed I would have in life. My wife is a different story. She is not happy with our marriage and says she doesn't feel the way she should for me. She says she cares for me but she is not in love with me. She has had one affair and I have forgiven her for that and at the time she said she wanted to work things out to keep our family together. However, although she ended having any contact with her friend in March, she has started an Internet affair with a man from India who says he is going to marry her. I have confronted her about it and she says she isn't doing anything wrong! Some of the numbers she called were the embassy of India in Washington, D.C., and the passport office. When I asked her about that she said she was just helping get some information for him because she is nice. I told her I don't believe her and that what she is doing is wrong. I love her tremendously and don't want a divorce that would just tear these wonderful kids' life apart. Can you give me some advice on how to handle this? -- Bill, 30
Dr. Susan: Your wife is being very foolish and inconsiderate. What she means by "love" is apparently that thrilling feeling everyone gets at the start of a new romance. Some people cannot accept that such feelings evolve into something deeper. They keep wanting to start over. Her Internet affair is incredibly stupid. You need to go with her to a counselor. Nobody is going to agree that what she's doing is perfectly okay. She's killing your trust and threatening the stability of your children. I can only urge you to keep talking to her, without anger, showing your vulnerability, expressing how much you care, and perhaps trying to spend some time alone with her having fun in hopes of reminding her of her old feelings for you. But she has to stop hiding things from you. After her previous affair, especially, the burden is on her to prove she's trustworthy. It wouldn't hurt to see a lawyer to find out how to protect yourself (financially, at least) from any consequences of her foolish actions. I hope it works out for you. You sound like a loving father and a generous husband.
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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.