the question I’ve been with my husband for 40 years. Four weeks ago, I found out that he had an affair of 30 years. I picked up his phone thinking it was mine and noticed a text message from an unknown woman. He was texting, making arrangements, all in tender, loving language. When I challenged him he told me they had been in a five year affair for about 30 years. Guilt said She made him cut it, even though she was in a daze. He swears he never wants to leave me. that they She resumed contact, although it was a friendship, not a sexual relationship.
will do Visit her, but he denies anything physical has happened and insists neither of them want to jeopardize our marriage. I feel very disappointed. I’ve seen a side of him that I’ve never known. He insists it was just friendship, but the text messages included telling her he loved her, which he hasn’t told me in years.
Our marriage didn’t involve any physical touch for a long time. I always thought he wasn’t just a physically affectionate person, but even during the harsh trauma of the past weeks, he didn’t hug me. I told him I find touch comfortable, but it seems impossible.
I feel like their relationship took a lot out of ours. Agree and apologize. We are in our early seventies with children and grandchildren. The idea of ending the marriage and affirmation Our family looks devastated. We agreed to try to reform things, but a part of me wonders if I was mad at staying with someone who was unfaithful, sexually and emotionally for we will miss you. I’m in shock. Am I stupid, weak, pathetic? Couples can recover from such situations?
Philippa’s answer You are neither stupid nor weak nor pathetic. Yes, some couples recover from such situations, although I can understand that from where you are now, it will feel like you are climbing Mount Everest. Sometimes, in situations like yours, a partner who has been betrayed suffers from PTSD in which their emotional well-being and sense of safety are threatened. No more talking about weakness. You’ve been so shocked, your entire world system has been shaken. It’s like he’s been apart for 30 years – half of him has been romantically involved with her and the other half maintains the image of a loyal family man, but nonetheless, he’s holding back from being with you completely.
It would be difficult to draw a line in such an issue without working on everything – and perhaps with a couples therapist. Think of the point you made this shocking revelation as your first marriage. With therapy, you and your spouse can build what you can think of as your second marriage.
As the one who was betrayed, you’ll need to work through the trauma of the case and all the times you’ve questioned your instincts and sense of reality over the past 30 years. You will need a lot of time for this part of the process, while for your husband, it will be something that will not be able to happen fast enough. But it will be important to stay with him. You can book the discussions, so that they only happen during the consultation and maybe at other specific times, so you don’t get overwhelmed and have the structure and support for these necessary conversations.
To make your second journey in this marriage work, you will learn new ways to communicate and ways to coexist. You may have to find new ways to deal with conflict and ways to build trust.
You will both have to be proactive about opening up and sharing feelings, including your anger, desires, and thoughts, so that you become each other’s significant other, allowing closeness and warmth to build. It will take practice. Intimate conversation leads to being on the same page emotionally, which is the foundation of warmth and a physical relationship. It will also take work on your spouse to convey the great bond he has with you.
It is important that you find a therapist to work with that you both trust. You may have to interview more than one person to find the right one. These sites are a starting point: gottmanreferralnetwork.com or tavistockrelationships.org. Recommended book: Healing from infidelity by Michelle Weiner Davis.
However, ending a marriage may not be as devastating as you might imagine. Your children are growing up and knowing the truth is usually less corrosive than living with secrets. I hope you learn to trust your instincts, though I fear they may have worn them out. Whatever you decide, I hope you will prioritize your happiness when making the decision.
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