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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I am a 50 year old married man and I am involved with a 30 year old married lady; we each have two children. We both love each other very deeply. Though I love my wife, I am not in love with her anymore. I told her I am seeing somebody and she said that she does not want to hear about it. The lady I am seeing told her husband, and he said that he still wants to try to put the marriage back together. He said that it was his fault for not realizing that his marriage was falling apart. She loves him, but is not in love with him. What would be the best thing to do?

Answer

This is a very common story. Two people in marriages that have lost its luster find one another. The romance of meeting a stranger, developing an illicit relationship, all seems so very exciting. The adrenaline surges through you veins, and you feel as though this is the best romance since Romeo and Juliet. The problem is that these two people are operating out of need, dissatisfaction, fantasy and boredom. They are not meeting as two independent strangers who meet for the first time. The relationship is based on similar baggage and conspiracy. It is not based on freedom and autonomy.

There are other people involved, including four children. What attempts have been made to revitalize your marriages? What professional help have you sought to gain a perspective on your life and your marriage? How realistic are you being about a life together? What impact will breaking up two families have on your self-respect, the lives of your children, her children, and their respect for each of you? Have you done everything in your power to make your own marriage work before deciding to move on to greener pastures? Would you be considering dissolving your marriage independent of the affair you are having?

You ask, "What is the best thing to do?" The best thing for you both to do is spend your energies working on your respective marriages. If that fails and you want a divorce, then do so. Live alone for a while. Be sure that you are not simply moving from one situation to the other. You and your lover only know each other in the context of having an affair. To be fair to yourselves, you might want to get to know one another in a different context.

7/4/98

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 Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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