Trying to Justify His Affair

Q: I have been married to my second wife for about eight years. I love her deeply, and we have done a great job with a blended family of six kids (three each). My love for her is the kind that has grown stronger over the years. It was not the "love at first sight" kind of love for me, however. I recently have become involved with another woman who also has a family and loves her husband. We love each other passionately, though I'm dealing with a lot of guilt. Yet I very much want to continue the parallel relationships. Am I kidding myself about this new and concurrent "love"? -- Hank

Dr. Susan: Apparently you're not successfully kidding yourself, or you wouldn't be writing to me. The fact is, you CAN love two women at once, but if you continue sneaking around, you'll end up deeply hurting someone. Probably a lot of someones, considering how many spouses and children are involved. The essence of being a good person is to make good choices, not to do everything pleasurable you can (temporarily) get away with. The parallel relationships can't last. The whole situation is based on lies. You do realize that a new lover will always seem more exciting than a familiar one? That guilt you're feeling needs to be thought through very carefully because it's trying to tell you that what you're doing goes against every value you hold dear -- for the sake of a little temporary passion.

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