Dear Coleen: My wife had two affairs and I’m struggling to get over it

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You’ve kept it bottled up for years and it’s eating you up inside, but however ago the affair happened, it’s never too late to talk to someone

Dear Coleen: My wife had two affairs and I'm struggling to get over it
Dear Coleen,

My wife and I have been together 43 years and have two sons who no longer live at home.

I love her and have never cheated on her, but she has had two affairs, the first when she was 23 and not long after having our first child.

It was a serious ­relationship with a boss and when I found out, she ended it and we moved on. I forgave her, but I was devastated.

Things were good for 18 years and then she cheated on me again with a different guy, which destroyed me – I felt I wasn’t good enough.

At the time, she said she didn’t love me but cared for me and was going to live with him as they were in love.

I had to accept it, but then it all went wrong and she came back. She insisted they didn’t have sex, which I didn’t believe. Now, not a day goes by where I don’t think of this.

She says she loves me, but she has never acknowledged what she put me through and I can’t get it out of my mind.

Do you think I’m wasting my time being in this marriage? I had no one to talk to about it at the time.

Coleen says

You can’t get it out of your mind because you’ve never talked about it to anyone. You’ve kept it bottled up for years and it’s eating you up inside, but however long ago the affair happened, it’s never too late to talk to someone.

It seems more difficult for than to open up to a counsellor, but I always recommend counselling.

I had some myself to deal with the issues around the break-up of my first marriage and it helped me get some perspective and find a path forward.

Just unburdening yourself of all those pent-up emotions you’ve kept so deeply hidden is in itself.

I would talk to your wife first – tell her that while you forgave her, you’ve never got over it, partly because she hasn’t acknowledged how she hurt you and damaged the relationship, and wasn’t about her reasons for the affairs.

It’s very hard to have a loving, trusting and respectful relationship with someone who has never taken ­responsibility for his or her infidelity and the impact it’s had.

Your self-esteem and confidence has suffered and, naturally, you worry she might do it again.

Suggest having joint relationship ­counselling (visit relate.org.uk ), but, if she won’t agree to it, then go on your own. It might you decide what you want from your future.

More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, and relationship problems

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