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August 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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How do I let go?

Question:

My husband (47) and myself (48) have been married for 20 years. It was the second marriage for both of us. Our children are grown. We have always done everything together. His behavior changed, starting to not want me around. It all started around his B-day in March, but there were red flags before that.

I recently found out he is having an affair. He will not admit it. I have asked him several times. He says he is having problems, it's not me, it's him. He has moved out for about 1 month now. He still comes and goes as he wants but must let me know first. He says he will probably come home after he gets his head together because he knows he still loves me.

I know he is lying to me about his affair and I even know who it is (she recently left her second husband and she is 32.) He will not communicate with me or even tell me what's wrong or what he wants. He just keeps up with the "not being there" routine. He is still keeping up financially with everything but I'm worried how long that will last. We are a 2 person income.

Do you think he will come home and most importantly do I take him back? We did have a good life, I thought we were happy. I am angry but at the same time I still love him. Pretty stupid, right? My family and friends tell me to move on and start a new life. I am scared and hurt and betrayed, why do I still feel the need for everything to be ok and go back to normal?

Kat (48 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Kat,

No one ever wants to let go of a relationship especially if they feel that at one time it was good and if they still love the person. People also in general do not like and are afraid of change. They also are very afraid of being alone and the financial impact is enormous. I would be surprised if you wanted to let him go. You had plans and dreams and a history and his behavior has put all those things in jeopardy.

I have to assume that you are right and that he is having an affair, because I am too far distant from the situation. But even if he wasn't his behavior has been quite poor. I assume as well that the marriage and relationship was once relatively good. However, it had to be a lot worse leading up to this point for this to have occurred and it certainly is not good now. That is very hard for people because we tend to cling to the knowledge that we knew in the past. This can cause intense suffering because it is rare for things to go back to where they used to be. It is not unheard of but unlikely. Usually things are the way they appear.

What is poor about the relationship now is that it sounds as if you are getting double messages. He says he loves you, but is acting incredibly unloving. He is saying he is not having an affair, but either you are mistaken or he is lying. Love has everything to do with honesty. He says he loves you but he won't communicate. That is unloving. He says he is the problem, but evidently is not getting treatment or trying to figure it out with you. That is unloving. At 47 years old a person should have much better and more mature relationship skills. Therefore, I would wonder if he ever had them.

It sounds like part of this might be a mid life crisis episode, but that can be done in a more mature way and certainly does not excuse his behavior even if he is not having an affair. The chances certainly are that he is really gone, but even if he does come back you need to ask yourself on what terms and how will the relationship work out if he deals with things by running away.

It sounds as if you are playing backhand. Waiting for him to change his mind and accepting his behavior no matter what. This wouldn't lead to him gaining greater respect for you. Respect is a big part of love. It also sets up a situation in which he is free to have you and either his alone time or the affair if you are correct. You might consider setting some boundaries and deciding what you want rather than just accepting what he wants. Most people focus on the feelings when they think about love. However, it is the action and the thinking part of love that is the salient part. I know you feel love for him, but do you love what he is doing? What we do also says a lot about who we are. Also remember that no matter how much we love another our relationship with ourselves has to be good and strong. If we do not love ourselves and value ourselves we cannot be in a good relationship. Do some hard thinking and consider talking with him in depth about it. I am sorry to hear about your pain and hope that he listens to you.

Good luck.

Jef Gazley, M.S. www.asktheinternettherapist.com

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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