Treats Him Like a Yo-Yo
Q: I have known my wife for 12 years, though we've only been married for 4 of those years. Before we were married, she was unfaithful. We broke up and got back together, then after several months, she disappeared. Three months later she called me out of the blue and told me she'd moved in with another man and that he was abusive. After weeks of talking on the phone, we gave it another try. A year later our second child was born, and a month later we got married and moved to a different state to start our lives over together. I got a great job that paid great. Two years went by and everything was fine. We decided I'd leave my job so she could start a career. I agreed to stay home with the kids. A year went by and that's when things hit the fan. My mother who lives nearby and worked in the same place as my wife came over. She asked why my wife was not at work the past night. When my wife came home, we had it out. She said that she spent the night at a friend's house. I didn't believe her and finally she confessed to spending the night at a hotel with another man. She said they'd been seeing each other for three months and that she met him at a bar. She claims, even to this day, that nothing happened, that all they did was kiss. She wanted to work things out between us and I agreed to try.
This all happened about 10 months ago, but that is all I think about. She is pregnant now with our fourth child and I'm not even sure it's mine. What should I do? -- Sam, 26
Dr. Susan: Having three kids and one on the way certainly does reduce your options at this point. If you left her, she'd be unable to work without child care. If you were able to get a good job again, you'd be paying her quite a bit in child support. You gave her several chances and she's betrayed you each and every time. And she continues to lie through her teeth. I don't believe for a minute that a man spent the night in a hotel with her and all they did was kiss. After seeing one another for three months?! If she won't 'fess up and begin being honest with you, forget "trying" again. Only one of you is trying. Both of you need to start thinking about how to go on with your lives, given the current pregnancy and your total lack of faith in her, a lack which is more than justified. When the baby is born (or possibly before), though it will be legally yours since the two of you are married, you might want to check the DNA to see who the father actually is. And then immediately get some dependable birth control! If your wife truly wants to stay with you, she needs to show she can be trusted, but I suspect she's very immature and that you're just a convenience to her by now. See if some counseling helps, and find out your legal options. Sometimes all the best intentions from an oft-forgiving spouse aren't enough to save a marriage.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.