Broken Trust

14 Jan

Letterbalm TrustDear LetterBalm: My wife and I have been married for 20 years and have two wonderful children, aged 15 and 12. By choice, my wife stayed at home to run the house, which was fine with both of us. I recently found out that for the past three years she and a friend of the family have been involved emotionally and physically. He left his wife for her. I feel betrayed and very angry because my wife and I were confidants in his divorce (which, by the way, involved three kids of his own). They were lying to me all along. Now, my wife wants to wait until our children are older before we get a divorce, but she wants to continue seeing her lover. As you can imagine, life at home is chaotic, with lots of drama and tension, but we’re keeping a lid on for the sake of the kids. Even my wife’s family says I should leave her. But I come from divorce and don’t want to. The kids want us to stay together, they’ve said so. But is it better to stay together? Should we try to reconcile? Or, should we throw in the towel now?

–Deceived

The turmoil at home is coming through in your letter – you’re having trouble even getting all your choices down clearly. That children are involved makes everything more challenging because you and your wife must endeavor to keep the drama away from them now and in the future. And, neither of you should badmouth the other to the kids, even though you’re monumentally entitled to. Ms. L.B. hopes you’ve visited your doctor for a medical evaluation and you are seeing a counselor. It may be possible to restore your marriage, but not while so much chaos reigns and certainly not while your wife is seeing her lover. And, even though you don’t want a divorce, she may have written off the marriage (even though legally she has little recourse to your money and material goods because you’re the wronged party). Everybody needs to take a collective deep breath; ask your wife to leave the house for awhile so you and she can see things more clearly:

Gail, the house in in turmoil these days, and the chances for us to make some logical decisions are hopeless as long as we’re under the same roof. Because it’s important that there be stability for the kids, I wonder if you’d be willing to stay with your sister for a month or so until things calm down. Then, we can sort things out with more clarity. We owe it to each other and to the children not to make important decisions while we’re under such tension. I also want to ask you to accompany me to the marriage counselor who can help us ask the right questions about our future. Will you do all this for the family?

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