Moving on after infidelity
I have been married for 21 years and we have 2 daughters - and what I thought was a perfect marriage. Two years ago when my husband was working out of town (which is rare) he met this 24-year-old child. He never had sex with her...sometimes I wish he had, it would have been easier to get over. He thought he was in love with her. He knew her for one month, but it almost destroyed this marriage and this child knew this man was married. I can't seem to get past the pain.
How can I get over this? I am obsessed with knowing more about her so that I can figure out how or what happened to make him take that second look at her and cause this to happen.
It sounds like you have gone through an enormous amount of pain and I am sorry to hear about it. Experiencing a trusted loved one having an affair rips the foundation out from under the other partner. Nothing seems the same and people doubt that the relationship was ever good, wonder if they ever really were loved, and if they really knew their spouse.
It is very hard not to overreact and make a hasty decision. It is also common to become obsessed with the person the partner cheated with. A betrayed mate often wonders what was better or more alluring about that other person and what was wrong with them. They often become very insecure and doubt their own worth or attractiveness. It sounds as if you are doing at least one of these and possibly both.
In my experience the reason for the affair resides more with the cheating partner and/or the state of the marriage itself than it does with someone's worth or how they stack up to the rival. You did not give me enough information about your marriage to make any intelligent statements about that, but it sure sounds as if your husband is probably having a mid-life crisis.
Most people have an affair either because they lack partnership skills and therefore, do not work on the relationship before small problems turn into large ones, or they are having a personal crisis with self-esteem. These problems could be temporary or chronic. During major transition times in a person's life people can often regress and act out in ways that are often immature and impulsive. Many times they take the form of an affair. This is especially true in a mid-life crisis.
I would suggest strongly that both you and your husband seek marital therapy to address what happened and try to figure out why it happened. The particular woman however I would look at as a dead end and not worth your energy.
I hope that the marriage can be saved and grow stronger.
Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT
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.For more information visit: http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/