His Wife's Lover is Back
Q: My wife and I have been together for 12 years, but about 6 years ago she fell for another guy. I tossed him out of my house, but here he is, years later, back in her life. My wife tells me that she doesn't want to be married to me anymore and wants to be with him, yet she still wants to be my friend and sleep with me in the same bed when he is not around. Should I try to win her back, save my marriage and send this guy packing once and for all? -- Mitch, 37
Dr. Susan: Don't be a sap. Love isn't a matter of "winning" someone. You say you tossed this guy out, but I wonder if SHE ever gave him up. Doesn't sound like it. I would certainly recommend some counseling to figure out what's really going on, but I'm less confused than you are. She is telling you she wants you as a friend, and she wants to keep sleeping in your bed because it's comfortable and she doesn't yet have another place to go. Perhaps her lover is married or unwilling to commit to her. Or if you have kids, she wants to keep her home with you and them, but sleep with him on the side, with your okay. I wouldn't give her that option unless you really want an open marriage and intend to do some dating yourself. If the marriage is truly over, as she seems to be saying, then accept that and take steps to separate your life from hers. No more slumber parties for you and her.
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Advice for Her
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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.