About 4 months ago, I discovered that last year my wife had an
affair with someone who was helping her with a family situation. She said
she had made a mistake and it was over. However, I later found out that the
affair continued. Again we talked it out and she has said that this time it
is really over. But how do I really know? I am tired of spying and feeling
suspicious. I still have the feeling something is going on. What do I do?
Despite the fact that your wife betrayed you and then lied, you seem
to want to believe her and wish to work things out between you. Now you
still suspect something is going on, you feel suspicious, and yet you do not
want to end your marriage. You must either love your wife very much and want
to trust her or you need her very much. In either case, the thought of
leaving her apparently is not acceptable to you.
People have affairs when their needs aren't being met within the context of
the marriage. It's quite possible that your wife is not sufficiently happy
to confront you with her dissatisfaction with the marriage, so she seeks
extra-marital relationships to get what she needs. Her attachment to this
other person seems great enough to risk hurting you and ruining your
marriage. You are not
sufficiently dissatisfied with the marriage to warrant leaving. There must
be something in this relationship for the two of you to remain together
despite her dissatisfaction and your hurt. Perhaps it's love, perhaps it's
dependence, perhaps it's the fear of being alone. Based on the information
given, however, it appears that both you and your wife could benefit from
professional help to understand the nature of your relationship. A trained
professional might be able to help you discover what's missing, help you
each to understand your respective needs, and perhaps help you seek
resolution and forge a new beginning. Or perhaps through therapy you both
will find the courage to admit the marriage is not working and, before
hurting each other further, go
your separate ways.
In order form marriage to work, at a minimum, there needs to be mutual
trust, mutual respect, honesty, and caring. The scenario you describe seems
to missing all four.
There is a series of articles dealing with marriage in our magazine that
might help; please check the
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.