He Can't Let Go
Q: I've been with this girl for over 20 years, and we have two teenaged kids. She cheated with someone, and now, though we haven't lived together for over two years, we get along better than ever. We are together for every holiday and the girls' birthday, and we see each other almost every day because of the kids. For some reason I still love her and think about trying to put the family back together She still wants to party at the clubs. How do I let go? I go to church now, and I have tried talking to other women, but I have gotten nowhere. Help! -- Nick, 47
Dr. Susan: After being together for so long and still seeing one another daily, it's no wonder you're finding it hard to let go. Sounds like your ex-partner is happy the way things are, sharing parenting duties but being free to party without you. The intimate part of your relationship sure sounds "over" to me. Once you accept this and stop believing in the fairy tale that you'll get back together, you will probably have much better luck when you try reaching out to other women.
I would suggest keeping your contact with your ex as minimal as possible. I think there's too much pretending going on. You are not one big happy family anymore. The kids' birthdays can be shared, if you want to, but why not start celebrating holidays separately? That's the reality, and the sooner your kids (and you) accept that, the easier it will be to move on.
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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.