DEAR ABBY: I have reached the point of desperation, and hope that you can help me find some answers and some sanity.
I am 56 years old, and after more than 30 years of a troubled marriage, I left my wife for a girl 18 years younger whom I had known less than a year. We were married five months later, but I knew immediately that my dream marriage was a mistake -- and within days I returned to my wife. Although our children are grown, I knew they needed their parents to be a stable family unit, and I couldn't get over having abandoned them.
My first wife took me back, but none of our problems had changed and I was as miserable as ever, unable to forget the young wife I had deserted. After a couple of months I returned to her.
Now I feel guilty about what I've done to my kids, no one from my old life is speaking to me, and all of it is affecting my relationship with my new wife.
I am afraid of another breakup and can't imagine where I would go or what I would do. Please don't suggest I see a counselor. I am one. -- ADRIFT AND AFRAID IN OHIO
DEAR ADRIFT: Please read this carefully: Because you are a counselor doesn't mean you do not need to see one. You will not be the first therapist who has needed to see a therapist. Many therapists are required to undergo analysis as part of their training, and many of them continue to do it as a "reality check" after dealing with so many disturbed people.
You are not a pingpong ball, and you cannot keep bouncing back and forth between spouses. Not only is it crazy-making for you, it's very unfair to them. Please waste no time in making an appointment with a therapist you can trust, respect, and who has an excellent track record. You'll be glad you did. Trust me.