Sense & Sensitivity

After Wife's Affair, Couple Can't Talk About Issues

DEAR HARRIETTE: I always thought that my wife and I had the perfect marriage. When I discovered she was having an affair, it hit me like a train wreck. After many weeks of trying to discover who she really is, I found out she has had several affairs throughout our 15-year marriage. I still love my wife, and I think I could forgive her and regain my trust in her. The problem is, she says she is trying to recover from her actions, so she can no longer hear about my problems or respond to any of my questions.

She is now saying I need to see someone to discuss our issues. We are already seeing a marriage counselor, but I think he is too connected to us as a couple. What do you think? -- Additional Counseling, Denver

DEAR ADDITIONAL COUNSELING: The actress Ruby Dee once told me that a marriage stays alive as long as one of the spouses really wants the marriage to survive. She cautioned that if neither partner is willing to fight for the marriage, it will wither.

You seem to be willing to keep fighting for your marriage. Tell your wife that you don’t want to give up, but you need her to be a more active participant in the healing. Talk to your current counselor and ask for advice. He should be able to suggest professional next steps. Give yourself a timeline. To regain trust, you have to work together. Don’t wait too long for your wife to decide to choose you.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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