DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife has cheated on me countless times, and I don’t know what to do anymore. This all started when we first got together. My gut feeling is that I should leave her, but something is stopping me. We have two beautiful daughters whom we both love deeply. I fear that due to our constant arguing, we are hurting them.
I want to do what is best for my family, which I think would be staying together with my wife, but I am unsure of how much longer my heart can bear this relationship. Any words of advice? -- Trying to Keep My Family Together, Little Rock, Arkansas
DEAR TRYING TO KEEP MY FAMILY TOGETHER: Yours is a story most commonly articulated by women, but nonetheless an unfortunate, pivotal issue in some troubled marriages. How will you face the infidelity that is crippling your family? Plenty of couples weather this storm and stay together. Infidelity does not have to mean an automatic end of your marriage.
You do need to face it head-on with your wife to figure out how to get past it. Otherwise, the two of you will continue to stew in your anger and discomfort, lashing out about other things rather than addressing the core concerns. This means you must drum up the courage to bring up this sore subject. Tell your wife what you know -- facts are important when talking about affair(s). Tell her what you know, how much it hurts you and that you still want to be together.
Ask your wife if she wants to stay married to you. If the answer is yes, ask her to work with you to strengthen your family bond. If you do not think you can continue to overlook her dalliances, tell her as much. Ask her if she is willing to turn her focus back on the marriage and cut off any extramarital engagements.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an upcoming fashion designer trying to put my name out there. I’m struggling with trying to get people to notice me or even just give me a moment of their day. I’m trying to strengthen my communication skills so I can be heard by these people, but I am unsure how to go about this. I’ve tried prep tips such as talking to myself in the mirror. I think if I can master my communication skills, I will be able to kick-start my career and support myself financially.
Do you have any advice on ways I can get myself out there and enhance my communication skills at home so I am able to learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry? -- Helpless Designer, Atlanta
DEAR HELPLESS DESIGNER: Talking about your talents is important. One option to help you break out of your shell is Toastmasters, the group that helps with public speaking. Learn more at toastmasters.org. You must also think of ways to get people to pay attention to your designs. You can hire models to wear your clothing to public events and parties. Ask friends or family members who look the part to accompany you to events wearing your clothes. Let the clothes do the speaking.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)