Q: I recently met a married woman while I was away from home. I thought my marriage was happy enough, but now I see that my new love is my true soul mate. She feels the same way. She and I are constantly e-mailing and talking by phone, and we're beginning to think we were meant to be together. We both dread the pain we're going to cause our spouses and children, but besides that, why shouldn't we take a chance and try for happiness? -- Elmer 45
Dr. Susan: Because you're probably in line for a lot more unhappiness than you can even imagine at the moment. Fantasy affairs of this sort are usually based on nothing more than an escape wish, the extra titillation of secrecy, and the heightened excitement of sharing erotic imaginings with a new person. If you suddenly think that you've been unhappy all along, confront your wife. Seek counseling before abandoning her without giving her a chance to make a case for herself and for the life you've created together. It's the least you owe her. Once everything's out in the open, and is, in fact, no longer an illicit affair, then you and your would-be soulmate can spend time together and find out whether your perfect match can withstand the rigors of reality and blended families. The odds are not typically in favor of this kind of relationship, but you only make the odds worse if you continue to engage in deceitful trysts.
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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.