if he can’t be honest is our marriage over?

Dear Suzie, I found out that my husband was having an affair over seven years ago and I managed to to give him a chance. But last yaer in march I desovered he was talking to another female all the time late at night, when i werent around etc and I even caught him saying that he loved her twice but when I confronted him he said it was just a good friend but I just find that hard to believe anyway I told him that if He cant be honest that our marriage is over if he talks or sees her again – he agreed he would never communicate with her again – now only last week I came across to fine he has been contacting her again – he still says there is nothing going on – but if there aint why hide it – why hide the telephone number against another name (male). I am so confused!! I know I dont trust him, but do I give him another chance – at the moment I cant bear him to touch me!! I have two small children 8 and 5 please help!! would it be wise to get some conselling! When I speak to him he doesnt talk and it seems to be only me doing the talkin – where did I go wrong!!

I wouldn’t say it is ever wrong to love and trust and give people second chances. I would say it is unforgivable to lie, to cheat, to break trust – especially when there are children involved.

Yes, I think it would be very wise to get some counselling. But don’t ask him if he “wants” to go, “would like” to go, “would he please” go. Tell him you are going and that’s that, and you’d like him to come too.

Counselling would give you the chance to work through what happened and how you feel about it. It would give you the chance to recognise and acknowledge how very angry, hurt and betrayed you feel, and how much you have the right to feel that. If he came, it would give him the chance to hear and take on board your anger and your hurt, in a safe environment where your feelings could be contained, and to understand and tell you why he did it. It would give both of you the chance to see if there is a resolution that both of you would be comfortable with.

If his recent affair is with the same person as it was 7 years ago, clearly you and he need tot thrash out where he’d rather be. If it’s with someone else (and maybe there have been other some ones during that 7 years) then maybe he has trouble with and fears about committing himself to a relationship and family and that’s what you may need to focus on.

He may be holding back from listening to you and putting his own feelings forward because he’s scared of being overwhelmed by your anger and pain. If he hears you, he has to really be aware of how awful you feel. While he insists ‘he didn’t mean it, it wasn’t important, she was just a friend and let’s not talk about it’ he can be in denial and pretend it was all innocent. When he has to listen to you, he has to recognise that it doesn’t matter what he felt was going on, it hurt you. And if you are in a relationship your partner comes first and having any level of intimate relationship is a betrayal.

If I were you I’d give him one more chance but only with these conditions; that he comes to a counsellor with you and both of you agree to talk and listen. If he won’t do that it would feel to me as if he’s made a decision, and is letting you know it pretty clearly; that he has already left this relationship in mind and is only hanging around in body because it’s the easy line. He stays with his kids, he has his shirts washed and his food cooked but his emotional and perhaps his sexual needs are being attended to by someone else. I don’t think that’s a constructive situation for you to accept, or a healthy atmosphere for children to be brought up in. It grids down your self esteem and it tells your children that having parents who never talk or love or touch is what marriage and family is all about. Work or walk is what I’d offer him, but you have to make up your own mind which of those you can live with.

Your own GP or Relate or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can suggest a counsellor in your area. Look in the local phone book for your nearest Realte centre or go to www.relate.org.uk . They also do phone counselling – call 08451 30 40 16 for an appointment. Ring BACP on 0870 443 5219 or write to, BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2SG or go to BACP.

And you may want some help with supporting your kids through this – they will be aware that all is to well. The first and best place for help with any parenting or family dilemma is Parentline Plus. Parentline is on 0808 800 2222 and it’s free, confidential and open 24 hours a day every day of the year. You can write to them at Unit 520, Highgate Studios, 53-79 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 1TL or go to their website at Parentline Plus to read or download a range of helpful materials, or contact them by email. They offer a range of support from one to one phone counselling to phone conference calls with other parents and face to face courses. Good luck!

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