Dear Neil: In February, 1994, I discovered my husband was in an intimate relationship with a woman he worked with.
We had what I thought was a near perfect relationship. When I first learned about his other relationship, I blamed myself and completely lost confidence and self-esteem. I didn’t allow myself to be angry, as I felt that I had to deal with struggling to regain my happiness, trust, confidence and self-esteem. I am hoping you can help me identify why. Why is it that I cannot put my grief aside and get on with life?
Wounded in New Zealand
Dear Wounded: Here are some questions for you to consider: Do you know why your husband’s infidelity happened? How confident are you that it won’t happen again? How have you grieved, and what are you grieving about? What are you doing with your anger?
What does your husband’s infidelity mean to you? Does it represent the lost of trust? Do you no longer feel loved? Do you still think you’re attractive, and do you still feel desirable? Are you now suspicious of him and his behavior? Has trust been ruptured between the two of you? How badly? What have you lost? What ideals did you hold that you no longer trust or believe? What do you think this says about you? About your marriage? About your husband?
You can’t just go on as if nothing happened. You have to make peace with your husband’s infidelity, the lost of trust, the sense of betrayal and deceit, what you think the future holds, what you have lost, your hurt—and anger and embarrassment—and what you think all this means about you and your marriage.
It will be easier for you if you find a good psychotherapist or marriage and family therapist to help you sort through all of these emotions.