An Affair to Remember


Dear Dharma,

My husband and I have been married for 14 years and as with most marriages there have been the typical ups and downs.

A big down was that about 6 months ago my husband came to me and admitted that he had been having an affair.  He said that it had been going on for about 5 months but that he had felt guilty, ended it and he needed to come clean.

To say that I was completely blindsided would be an understatement.  I had no clue this was going on right under my nose. My trust in him has been completely blown to smithereens and I feel so violated. I mean, I thought I KNEW this man.

Long story short, we sat down and had a long conversation about what our next steps should be. We decided that we didn’t want to be those people who threw away a marriage without at least trying to save it. He seemed truly remorseful and so I agreed to accept his apology and try and move forward.

The problem is that even though I’ve “forgiven” him I just can’t seem to get past it. I find that now I am constantly suspicious of him.  Who is he texting? Who is he meeting up with after work? What webpages has he been surfing on? Was he really at the grocery store like he said he was?

I feel like I can’t believe anything he says or does.  I was never that person before and I hate it! And I know this behavior is sabotaging any chance we may have to save or marriage.

How do I stop this behavior? How do I get past this and give it a fair chance?


Surprised Wife

Dear Surprised,

Counselling, counselling, counselling.

I know this seems like a pat answer, generic and not all that helpful sounding, but criminey, look what you’ve been through.

A 14 year marriage suddenly blows up in your face.  No warning, no signs, no suspicions.   A relationship built on trust, love and a million commonalities (it would have to be for it to last 14 years!) and whammo, just like that, it’s all wrenched out from underneath you.

I’m really sorry, I can’t even imagine what you’ve been going through, and kudos for even trying to rebuild and wanting this relationship to work.

Except it won’t work like this.  Just because you’ve “forgiven” him – and note that you used air quotes, which usually indicates something less than convincing… Questioning and searching through every little thing is going to make you crazy – but I guess you already know that.

This is where a counsellor comes in.  They will be able to help you work together to rebuild the trust.  Because if you can’t, the whole thing is hooped… I know that sounds blunt, but you know a marriage without trust is just not going to go the distance.

So find a counsellor you feel comfortable with.  I’m hoping your husband will go with you in time, but I really think you should go to at least a few sessions on your own.  You’ll have an easier time opening up, and just getting it all out there will be the first step in the right direction…

Good luck and I really hope this works out for you.




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1 Comment

  • Irene McGuinness says:

    CBC Vancouver had a show on this very topic yesterday. Pia Pattachati (sp). It was excellent. And there was an interview with a fellow whose brother had an affair with his wife. Wow! Heart wrenching. Worth a podcast listen if you can.

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