Working through emotional affair
Dear Annie: I have been with my husband for 23 years now, married for the last eight. A year ago, I found out that my husband had been communicating with an old high school girlfriend without my knowledge. They ran into each other seven years ago and had been talking daily. He used his work phone so I wouldn’t be able to suspect anything. She knew he was married, and that we have five kids.
He’s accepted responsibility and has said he understands it is a form of cheating. He’s apologized and says he has no romantic feelings for this woman. They were just friends. I called her one day to ask if she had feelings for my husband. She said she did not.
A year later, I still don’t trust my husband. I feel insecure and think maybe there’s something missing from our marriage that this woman provided for him. I just can’t get over the betrayal. The people I have spoken with say it’s not worth ending our marriage over. But I can’t let it go. I’ve always believed cheating is a deal breaker, and that’s exactly what he’s done to me. I love my husband very much, but I don’t think I can get past his emotional affair. Am I overreacting by considering ending my marriage for this? — Hurt and Confused
Dear Hurt and Confused: It’s time to examine your feelings about yourself and your marriage. It is understandable that you are hurt by what your husband did. However, he has apologized for it and stopped his relationship with her for you. Now, it is up to you to forgive. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It gives strength to move on.
Though you can’t change the past or go back to the same marriage you once had, you can decide what you’d like your marriage to look like from this point forward. Seek the help of a professional counselor to support you in working through this hurt and anger, and then consider marriage counseling.
Dear Annie: Recently, I read a letter in your column from a single mom who took offense at the term “broken home.” My comment isn’t about the letter but your reply: “There is nothing broken about a single mom.” You should have added “single dad” to your reply. My son is one of many single dads who are raising children with no partner.
His wife died suddenly when their son was 13 months old, and he has had to navigate day care and all the other daily struggles of raising a child while working a minimum-wage job and not having family nearby to help him. He is doing a wonderful job, and I am sure those other single dads out there are as well. I don’t think they get the sympathy or credit that moms do, and both of them deserve it.
Raising a child is difficult work, so here’s a letter of gratitude to all moms and dads, whether single or partnered. — Including Dads
Dear Including Dads: Thank you for pointing this out. There are many wonderful single dads doing great jobs in raising their children, and you’re right; they very often don’t get the credit they deserve.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.