She wants help moving on

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 46 and I have been married for 27 years. I had an affair 2.5 years ago which ended about 6 months ago. I initiated the affair with one of my professors because my sex life in my marriage is seriously lacking. The affair relationship was doomed from the start and the stress of it over the 2 year period sparked a mild ‘bi-polar’ type reaction in me. Finally after I ‘broke up’ repeatedly with my affair partner because of a lack of emotional connection on his part (and almost obsessive behaviour on mine), he simply withdrew. There was an understanding we would begin to see each other after about 3 months because he was ‘busy’. Apparently he was busy cultivating another relationship with a single mature student. I was dumped but it took 6 months (to my shame) for me to get it. I finally saw ‘in a relationship’ status on his facebook page. He apparently was too cowardly to tell me directly. It has been about 6 weeks since I stumbled onto the fact I was dumped. I am trying to move on, rebuild my marriage and quit thinking about him but it is difficult. I would like to find some support which is tricky since I can’t tell anyone what happened. Can you coach me in some good techniques for moving on? I may run into him again in the fall when classes begin again and I’m afraid I will be shaken by it. I am not very adept at hiding my emotions…

A: This is complicated. Where you place your attention and your energy is important. If your focus is moving on from the affair, you are still tied up in that drama. If your focus is on repairing your relationship with your husband and revitalizing your marriage, your marriage is more likely to survive. I hope you’ll consider couples counseling. You and your husband have been together for more than half your lives. If there have been good times as well as bad, there is hope for salvaging the relationship. If your husband won’t go to counseling, please consider going on your own. Often when one member of a couple starts therapy, the other will join in after awhile. Meanwhile, you’ll have the time and attention of your counselor – and the privacy – to sort out your own feelings and fears and to see what you can do to make things better.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Jun 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). She wants help moving on. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/06/22/she-wants-help-moving-on/