Ping Pong Husband

17 Feb

LetterBalm PlayerDear LetterBalm: For the past two years, my husband has had a girlfriend, and he goes back and forth between her and me. When I found out about her, he didn’t make any attempt to hide it, and he refuses to discuss why he still stays with her except to say that he loves both of us. We have a seven-year-old daughter, and I’m finding it harder and harder to keep a normal home life for her. When her father stays away for days at a time, I’ve been telling her that he’s traveling for his job. I figure that I can stick it out, but I’m losing hope. I need the words to tell him … well, everything.

–In a Marital Bind

You’re being put through the wringer, and because you think you have the home court advantage, you can wait it out. You love your husband, and you have a child together. So, at this point, you’re invested in this relationship much more than his girlfriend is. It’s past time to assert your rights. What are you prepared to do? (And, what happens if your husband announces that his girlfriend is pregnant?) Are you prepared to issue an ultimatum – that you will divorce him if he doesn’t stop seeing his girlfriend for good? Or that you will continue with the marriage only if he breaks up with said girlfriend and goes to joint counseling?  Ms. L.B. hopes you’re not yammering about all this to friends and family and that you’re already in therapy because you’re juggling a host of weighty issues. She suggests you proactively see a lawyer and privately review your finances – good strategies no matter what you decide. Your husband is being prodigiously selfish and immature. When you’re ready, sit down with him without your daughter in the house, stay calm, and pull no punches:

Richard, please be quiet and listen. You’ve said quite enough over the past two years, and now it’s my turn. Here’s the deal: Unless you stop seeing Rochelle once and for all and go to couples counseling with me, our marriage is over. This is your one and only chance. I love you, but it’s not possible for a marriage to thrive as long as an affair is happening. I’ve seen a lawyer. I have serious grounds to leave you and assume full custody of Melanie. You’re not a stupid man, you must know all this. I can only think that you don’t care enough about our marriage and the impact of your actions on our daughter or that you should never have committed to marriage in the first place. You have a day to think about this, and, believe me, if you still think you can have your wife and your girlfriend, you’re very wrong.

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