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Should I stay or should I go?

My husband and I have been together for 20 years and married for 13. We have 4 children together. The last 3 years have been pretty difficult for us. In 2014 he was in school and it felt like he was pulling away and being distant with me... studying all the time away from home while I worked full time and did most of the stuff for the kids. I ended up having a brief affair with a guy from work and my husband found out about it. The affair ended but my anger towards my husband didn't and I became very distant with him. Fast forward to March of this year when I discovered he was having an emotional affair with a woman he works with and it had been going on for 3 months. When I found out about it my first reaction was anger but then I had an epiphany and decided I really do love my husband and don't want to lose him. He told me he would stop seeing her and work on our marriage... it on my took a couple of weeks for him to start talking to her again... this has happened 3 times where he says we will work on us and then goes back to talking to her. 2 weeks ago he told me that he can't commit to making our marriage work because he has feelings for this woman that aren't going away. He says he wants to make us work, but he just can't shake her. The woman is also married and says she doesn't want to leave her husband or be in a relationship with my husband. I don't understand what the obsession is with this woman. Is he really willing to walk away from his family when he can't even be with her? I am so torn on what to do. My emotions are all over the place. I know that they see each other at work quite frequently and they talk there. He hasn't contacted her on the phone or text in 2 weeks but has sent her a couple of inappropriate emails that she didn't respond to. I love my husband and I want to be patient with him while he works through whatever it is that has a hold on him but it is really putting me in a not so good place emotionally. I just don't know if I should try and stick it out or end it and move on.

1 Answer

DavidEllisLPC said on
Hi Lonelydradon.  I've seen these complicated situations before and there aren't any easy answers.  What I have found works well when aggitated or doubtful is to write a brief paragraph or two of what you think and feel about the issue.  Then step back, calm yourself down, even if it takes a while, and look as an objective observer at what you have written, as a collection of facts.  Emotions are an alarm system that tells us something needs our attention, but they are not designed to solve problems.  We can only access our better judgment and problem solving skills after we have reduced our emotional state to something manageable.

Then you consider what you have written and decide which of these things you can change and which you can't.  By default you can't change history or someone else's attitude, but you can change your own attitude and that changes your future.  Then you makes plans of action as to how you are going to change the things you can and how you are going to accept the things you can't change.  For this purpose acceptance is not approval, sweeping things under the rug, or stewing in misery.  It is about finding ways to adapt to these things where you can land on your feet instead of your face.  This is the part that takes exploring new ideas and considering options that you really don't want to have to do.  They may turn out to be the only ones that offer any sort of resolution at all.
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