Dear Inside His Head,
My husband had what I would call an “emotional relationship” with a co-worker last year, but he has since taken a new job and we are working on our marriage. He has apologized profusely for allowing himself to get attached to this other woman, and we have been to counseling a few times, but I am still not over it. I don’t ever bring it up anymore, but I am still SO MAD. And hurt. I want to let it go, but I keep wondering if he’ll do it again or if it will be a “physical relationship” next time. Do you have any advice?
MICHAEL: I can speak from experience on this one. First I think you should continue counseling to determine why your husband felt the need to do this. There was apparently something that he didn’t feel like he could share with you. You’ve got to find out why. You’ve got to know that you might not like the answer.
Secondly it’s ok to be mad. You feel hurt that he could do this to you and you could possibly even be wondering what you were doing wrong. In order for things to get better you’re going to have to move past it. It’s over. Deal with the underlying issue and don’t waste time in the past. It might help for you to have a few counseling sessions without your husband just to vent.
Lastly, if you work on the problem that caused this situation I doubt you’ll have to deal with it again. And if your husband loves you and gets what he needs from your relationship it’s unlikely that something like this would progress to a “physical relationship”.
GRAY: Friedrich Nietzche said “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Trust is difficult to repair once it’s broken. And I’m right there with you: I’d be very mad and hurt and resentful for a long time, but at some point you have to live with your husband and trust him, however difficult that may be.
My best advice to give you is to be a good wife. You may not be bringing the incident up anymore, but are you acting mad or keeping him at bay as a way of protecting yourself? If you suspect he might cheat on you then he may be even more inclined if he feels you’re withdrawing from him. After all, if he feels like you no longer care about him then what would he really be losing?
You shouldn’t feel like you need to secretly listen to phone calls or check to see if he’s really where is says he is. You two need to be completely open with each other. He needs to be aware of how you feel and he needs to provide any and all evidence to prove he’s not betraying your trust again. Neither of you can keep a marriage going without the other and it may take a long time before you get to where you once were.
At the end of the day, both of you have chosen to be with each other. Rebuilding trust isn’t something that happens overnight and be mindful of the steps you take together. Show each other that you care and love one another and the rest will fall into place.