Marriage Advice

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Been married for 6 years, together for 10. The last 3 years have been the most difficult. We lost our first child in 2010 and things just haven’t been the same since. After losing our son, my husband threw himself into work. Its all he would talk about and was mostly concerned about. He finally found a job he enjoyed and I didn’t want to ruin it for him and chose to let it take over our lives. About a year and a half at this company, my husband started to become friendly with a female co-worker. Long story short, I found texts, emails, phone records that made me believe they were more than “friends” (as he claimed). I confronted him about it right away, and he swore that he would stop all contact with her. He left the company for other reasons a year ago, but was asked to come back this past Nov. I asked before he even started there again, to please be up front with me and tell me if she was still there. He didn’t. I had to ask and he admitted after being there a month that she was there. That led to old feelings of mistrust and I went looking at our phone records again. And again, I found what I didn’t want to find, more phone calls. I confronted him again and he admitted it and says now he has feelings for her and she feels the same for him. This was devastating to hear. After we talked, I also came clean to talking with an old flame for the last year (mostly out of spite and revenge I think) and it wasn’t entirely innocent.

I really want to save our marriage and get us back to where we were once happy. Our friends used to envy our relationship. We were so good together and I really want to work hard to getting there again. He’s agreed to counseling but says he’ll hate it and I’m not sure how serious he will take it. Before starting some type of counseling, is there anything we can do or discuss privately before bringing in a 3rd party??

A: Thank you for sending your heartfelt letter. Losing a child is perhaps the most difficult of all things a couple would have to cope with and I don’t think this is something the two of you could manage on your own. The complexity of feelings surrounding the loss requires the help of the seasoned couples counselor, preferably someone with experience in grief work.

It’s been three years and you have both been wounded by this experience and by each other. The find help tab at the top of this page will help you find qualified people in your area and he may also get names from this professional agency. I wouldn’t wait. The healing process is going to take some time and a great deal of work on rebuilding of your relationship. I would begin looking for a good therapist now.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Jan 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Marriage Advice. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/01/09/marriage-advice/