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My wife kissed her ex -- and she liked it

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 3, 2009 10:42 AM

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Just curious -- are people online today? Working? Off today or Monday? I’m posting this letter today and I may leave it up through Tuesday. If you’re all out of town, I want to save the good letters. Let me know.

Also, to the person who made a Richard Marx reference in his/her comment yesterday -- well done. Endless summer nights, indeed.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it makes me question how many people are meant to have a few long relationships instead of one big marriage.

Q: A few months ago, my wife of nearly 11 years cheated. She kissed her ex-boyfriend. He kissed her. I have verified this with a friend who saw it.

My wife has admitted to harboring feelings for him and emailing him in secret for over a year.

Many years ago, my wife caught me sending questionable emails to another woman, and I have been living with that burden all these years and trying to make right by her by being honest and open about everything. I immediately cut all communications with this other woman and anytime this woman has tried to contact me I’ve told my wife.

As a result of these two things, we have gone to therapy, which helped. We now communicate very well and are both very much in love with each other.

My issue is this: How do I know that something like this won't happen again? I have to believe in her but right now it is hard. She expects me to be able to do it right now, even though it has taken her years to accept my indiscretion completely and it took an indiscretion on her part to get there. I just need to hear/read advice from neutral parties. Again I love my wife very deeply.

-- At a Crossroad, Beverly

A: Um, you don’t know it won’t happen again. She doesn’t either. Frankly, all of this talk about kissing and year-long email affairs makes me hope you haven’t stopped the therapy. That should be ongoing. It doesn’t get fixed in just a few months.

I think you and your wife need to talk about the why, not the what. It’s fine to promise that you’ll cut off communication with an ex or stop cheating, but what about the reasons you cheated in the first place? Did you get married too soon? Are you two people who can’t commit for a lifetime to just one person (that doesn’t make you evil, by the way)? Will this ever end? Is it out of your system?

People make mistakes. You of all people know that. I just want you both to make sure that you categorize these choices as mistakes. Perhaps you don’t. It’s worth some real honesty in therapy. Something tells me you’re not quite there yet.

Readers? Did this couple get married too soon? Will there ever be trust? Was the wife just trying to even the score? How long does it take to get over a cheat? Share here. (And feel free to tell me what you’ll be doing for the 4th. Seeing Neil Diamond downtown?) Submit a letter to the right.

-- Meredith

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130 comments so far...
  1. You guys took turns smashing up your marriage, and gluing it back together afterward. And now you're wondering if the structure is stable. If it were me, I'd just throw away that glued-up mess and find something new.

    Posted by Bee July 3, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Meredith,
    In answer to your questions:

    Did this couple get married too soon? You don't say how old this couple is, so I can't answer this.

    Will there ever be trust? Only with sincere effort by both people and lots of work with a good therapist.

    Was the wife just trying to even the score? Perhaps, but it is telling that she wants him to forgive her pronto while it seems she didn't do the same for him.

    How long does it take to get over a cheat? A long time, perhaps a year or more and that is only if both people put a sincere effort and work with a talented therapist who helps the couple get to the root of the problem. And each person has to be sincerely sorry for his or her own failings within the relationship. Not just sorry that they got caught.

    I think a lot of emotional cheating happens when a person is unhappy with some part of their marriage with his or her spouse but is too scared to discuss/confront/work with their spouse. Cheating seems to be an easy out or an easy way to hurt the partner without discussing what really is the matter.

    Personally, I don’t buy all this “It just happened” stuff. There are lots of attractive and charming people in the world and if cheating was merely the animal part of us reacting, we would have loads more cheating than we do. As adults, we know how to avoid things that are bad for us, but often we choose not to, and therefore we are responsible for the results. Geraldine was wrong ~ “the devil” didn’t make you do it. It was your choice and real grown ups take responsibility for their actions.

    May everyone have a fun but safe 4th of July.

    Posted by Lain the Blunt July 3, 09 11:27 AM
  1. I hate to say it, but if your wife is kissing her ex-beau in public - in full view of a friend - it seems like she's trying to send a message that perhaps the relationship isn't working. There's no reason to believe this won't happen again. You might love your wife, but that doesn't mean you're meant to be together right now. It seems like you both have some friskiness to get out of your systems. Either do a trial separation or agree to have some kind of open marriage arrangement in which she can make out with her ex and you can communicate via email with an old flame. But that isn't really the point of being married, is it?

    Posted by Baby Back Riblet July 3, 09 11:29 AM
  1. Is it just me or does it seem as if every other letter has an "ex" factor? Meredith, maybe you could put together a list of Do's and Don'ts for Exes over the weekend?How about, for starters, "When in doubt, don't."?

    As for you, Beverly Crossing, why don't you and your wife sit down and privately review and renew your vows. (Oh, look up "vow" first.) Then keep 'em.

    Posted by Sasha July 3, 09 11:37 AM
  1. Meredith is spot on. Address the root causes and continue therapy. It's nice to know that you worked on modifying the behavior that led you to cheat, and hopefully she can do the same. But finding out why you've both cheated on one another will reveal much more about the stability of your relationship and the viability of maintaining it in the future. Good luck.

    Posted by Freddy July 3, 09 11:53 AM
  1. Seems like an open marriage is best suited for both of you.

    Posted by The Dude July 3, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Marriage is not easy and you have both made mistakes. However, you have been able to turn it around it seems. I would keep the open lines of communication going and you both need to be honest about what you can accept....if you cannot accept this ever happening again, you need to say it. If you love each other, than you need to commit to that.
    No more indiscretions or harboring feelings...if that happens than I think you need to look at what those give you that your partner does not and end it for both your sakes.
    You made a mistake a while ago and cut it off...I dont think hers was revenge or else it would not have gone on so long. The other man gave her something she was not getting from you. Just something to think about.

    Posted by Trixie July 3, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Well well well - you big boob; NOW YOU KNOW HOW SHE FEELS! Sounds like you both need therapy. Something must be wrong for both of you to keep wanting to cheat....so either get divorced or go to therapy - again. Oh, and I'm working today. Happy July 4th to everyone!

    Posted by Been around July 3, 09 12:30 PM
  1. So many people on this board (and other advice columns I've read in the past ) will be quick to say "end it!". I say to ignore that advice, because it's bad advice.

    Look -- I'm going to take from Rico and say that I don't like cheaters, and I have never cheated. But, throwing away an 11-year marriage over a kiss seems extreme. The bigger issue -- trust -- is a valid one, and if trust can't be restored, then that's a bad sign, perhaps even an insurmountable problem. But if you are still both in love, then it's worth trying. I agree with Meredith that you should continue working together in therapy and that you both need to get to the bottom of why this happened to figure out if there is a resolution.

    I think love is hard to find, and if you still love her after 11 years, then it is worth something.

    I also think that monogamy is difficult for a lot of people, especially as time goes on. I think many people want a marriage and family and kids but they also crave adventure and newness and excitement. I think it's possible to have it all, but it takes a lot of work and dedication on both people's part, and every relationship has dry spells/bad times. Have you both been making an effort to bring excitement and adventure into the marriage? If you're both sitting at home watching TV every night, then at a certain point, boredom can creep in and people decide to look outside for entertainment.

    And finally, I think that if all you did was send questionable emails to another woman, but never made any actual contact, that what you did is not as bad as what she did and she can't explain it away by saying that you "did the same thing". If you're telling us the whole story hre, then it seems like what she did is far worse than what you did! I also don't think it's healthy for revenge to be part of your relationship. If she was so resentful towards you that YEARS LATER she feels the need to "get back" at you by kissing an ex, then I find that very strange and a bit psycho. She needs to let it go already!! She either forgives you and moves on or she doesn't and you're relationship could be over...seriously EMAILS?! Big deal! Sure it's hurtful and inappropriate when you're in a relationship, but if you ended it and that's the worst thing that happened, I don't consider you a cheater.

    ((To Meredith -- I think this letter should stay up until Tuesday, because a lot of people are on vacation and this letter deserves more responses from other people. ))

    Posted by SassySarah July 3, 09 12:45 PM
  1. it sounds like she has put you through the wringer and you are feeling remorseful, yet she is not operating by those guiding principles. That's a shame. Please continue counseling and get to the root of the issue. Mer is right; it's not the what, it is the why. Until you both get that out in the open, you can't work on the problem.

    Posted by southcoastlady July 3, 09 01:21 PM
  1. Maybe she was trying to get back at you...tit for tat. And, now that she's done her bit and it is out of her system, you both can focus on staying strong and staying together. Let love rule-now Lenny Kravitz stuck in my head.
    No guarantees though... and none of us know anything for sure. ;)
    M- I think many folks are gone. 'Till Tuesday then?
    Happy 4th.

    Posted by pb July 3, 09 02:11 PM
  1. What goes around, comes around!

    Posted by Lisa July 3, 09 02:18 PM
  1. Oh cr*p, I think Beverly Crossing's lover was me! Srsly. I hope he didn't save the emails - I sure didn't. Did it happen in the late fall of 2004? I hope it helps the wife to know that he called it off with me when they conceived a baby. But the reason he cheated was because, srsly, the wife was not fulfilling certain sexual needs. (Sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for Rico and others to call me certain 19th century names.) I hope they resolved all that before going on to the next infidelity. (And BTW - he was very, very good.) On the other hand, mine was an attorney, and would prolly not be stupid enough to publish it for all to see (although clearly I am).

    Posted by reindeergirl July 3, 09 02:20 PM
  1. Man tough one here... obviously something is missing for each of you in this marriage for you both to go out looking for fun in other places. Is the passion, attraction, interest still there for both of you? It seems once that goes and contact is made with other people, it's hard to get it back. Therapy can help find it temporarily it seems, but long term, I suspect she will track down that ex again and probably be more discreet next time. Maybe you both should make the tough call and move on...

    Posted by RR Fields July 3, 09 02:24 PM
  1. Number 4/ Sasha, you have some good points!! Please don't just end the relationship, communicate; please continue cousnling.

    Posted by Julie July 3, 09 02:31 PM
  1. Emails (questionable = erotic?) and kisses aren't the equivalent of actual cheating. It seems more "acting out" then actual desire to end the marriage. Perhaps neither is satisfied with the marriage but not convinced to sever the ties? Therapy is a good idea if each is honest about the desires behind the emails for him and the kiss for her.

    Posted by portiaperu July 3, 09 02:32 PM
  1. Confused Guy,

    First of all there are too many issues with this marriage i would strongly recommend you start looking for a life boat and jump ship before you waste 4 more precious years with this woman just to find out it isn't worth it. Think of how many great women you could be dating during this time.

    second, you have a lot to do with this marriage being in the state that is at. Loyalty should be number one in all of your relationships. The minute she knew that you were fooling around she should have left you. Now you are being honest and open with her??? Sure, kill all the mistery one of the main reasons she is with you. Women are slow to admit this but if i get a few beers in them they will admit it faster than they can zip a shot of cuervo.

    she CHEATED on you?? do women with high interest in their man cheat??? the odds of that happening are very slim, Did you date this woman once a week after you got married?? did you make her your mama?? Did you help out at home?? most men think that once you get married its over "Well i got her, she is mine, there is no more work to be done" ITS JUST BEGINNING!!

    THERAPY?? for 30 years this guys havent been able to lower the divorce rate in america. Is therapy going to take her low interest in you from 55 to 95??? is therapy going to show her how great you are???

    One good thing that people here mentioned is to get to the why? becuase somebody that keeps you on your toes wont make you want to cheat. That goes for her too. I say 11 years was a good run if you ever get married again i strongly recommend you to not make the same mistakes that you made.

    REMEMBER GUYS EVERY DATE SHOULD BE THE FIRST DATE WITH YOUR SPECIAL LADY!

    -Yoni Iraheta
    Yiraheta@gmail.com

    Posted by Yoni Iraheta July 3, 09 02:40 PM
  1. It's possible that the wife never fully forgave her husband. She may have felt justified to have an affair - first an emotional affair, then a physical affair. It is up to the husband to decide whether or not he wants to forgive her, however, he should take into account that she decided to stay with him when she found out.

    In today's society, it's too easy, and almost expected that one of the parties will cheat. I think that trying to work it out before running to the divorce lawyer is the best idea - because at least you will have given your marriage all of your energy before ending it altogether. And you can feel proud of that.

    P.S. Reindeergirl - why did you add that he was very, very good? That lends nothing to the conversation - unless you're just trying to justify your actions - or make Beverly Crossing's wife jealous, should he bring the article to her attention. Grow up!

    Posted by Jenny July 3, 09 02:52 PM
  1. Oh cr*p, I think Beverly Crossing's lover was me! Srsly. I hope he didn't save the emails - I sure didn't. Did it happen in the late fall of 2004? I hope it helps the wife to know that he called it off with me when they conceived a baby. But the reason he cheated was because, srsly, the wife was not fulfilling certain sexual needs. (Sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for Rico and others to call me certain 19th century names.) I hope they resolved all that before going on to the next infidelity. (And BTW - he was very, very good.) On the other hand, mine was an attorney, and would prolly not be stupid enough to publish it for all to see (although clearly I am).

    Posted by reindeergirl July 3, 09 02:55 PM
  1. Get over yourself, reideergirl. You are not the only email mistress on the North Shore, and people don't cheat solely because they can get a "grilled cheese" or any other panini elsewhere. They cheat, or dabble, or all the reasons enumerated above in the less narcissistic posts. Bottom line has been stated by Merideth and others- you can't know it won't happen again, for either party. Question is, can you live with not knowing? And do you want to live with your wife while holding onto the uncertainty? Also, explore the fact, Beverly Crossman, if you haven't already in your 10 hours or so of therapy, that your friend observed this...hard to belive that was an accident. And yes, I'm at work, that's why I am so hostile.

    Posted by realitybites July 3, 09 02:56 PM
  1. Does the boyfriend have a girlfriend? You could try having a swing party if she's hot.

    Posted by Glenn Quagmire July 3, 09 03:04 PM
  1. #16, portiaperu - Erotic email certainly IS cheating! So is kissing.

    realitybite - If you hate your job so much, perhaps you should spice it up a bit, as I did with a certain Beverly resident at his place of business. (And Jenny - those mornings and afternoons were so very, very good.)

    Posted by reindeergirl July 3, 09 03:47 PM
  1. Find a girlfriend, you're lucky, most guys would kill for such an opportunity.

    Posted by openseason July 3, 09 03:50 PM
  1. You're a couple of cheaters who found each other. I would be asking individually as well as collectively, why do I cheat, why do we cheat, what is committment, why do I suck at it and what tools do I need to learn to be good at it, if that's what you even want. Do the work, or you're just a slacker who will never find the truth of love.

    Posted by hippydippy July 3, 09 03:57 PM
  1. #16, portiaperu - Erotic email certainly IS cheating! So is kissing.

    realitybite - If you hate your job so much, perhaps you should spice it up a bit, as I did with a certain Beverly resident at his place of business. (And Jenny - those mornings and afternoons were so very, very good.)

    Posted by reindeergirl July 3, 09 03:58 PM
  1. We men are all after reindeergirl. We are her personal boy toys. She is the woman of our dreams. We would risk everything just to see her erotic emails. Just tell us what to do, and we will do it. We all want to throw away our women, just for her. Ok, not really.

    Sasha hit it on the head. Vows. It is supposed to mean something.

    Getting back with your ex sounds great, until you do. Then the reasons they are an "ex", come rumbling back.

    Cheating is cheating. Its behind his back, and it doesn't make it ok because he cheated before.

    Posted by billy13 July 3, 09 04:01 PM
  1. The letters change, but the solution is always the same.

    Seek counseling.

    Here's some counsel for you:

    Don't make a vow you have no intention of keeping and if you don't love your spouse enough to be faithful . . . don't have a spouse.

    Posted by prairiemike July 3, 09 04:09 PM
  1. I think what this man needs is advice from an OLDER person. Much older. I can already tell some of the 'advice' he's getting is from younger idealistic people. You should never stray, you should never fall in love wiht someone else, right? Well, suprrise, welcome to real life. Those things happen to married people all the time. The questions isn't whether or not you will develope feelings for someone else, the question is, what do you do with those feelings.

    She has feelings for him, well, yeah, she will. You will have feelings for someone at some point. It's normal. Doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Marriage is for the long term. LONG term. A kiss. emails. YOu think these are huge things. I know. Sometimes it may lead to such destructive selfish behavior it will destroy a marriage, sometimes it's just a cycle. Many marriages stay in tact after affairs. It's always best not to have an affair, but if you're both finding emmotional attraction outside the marriage, and you dont have kids, you may want to ask yourself if this is marriage you want to save. IF you dont have kids and this is happening, that is a bad sign. However, if you do have kids, this type of thing is not so horrible as you think. The boyfriend is a fantasy. A reminder of being young, carefree. She also is not dealing with his faults when she only sees him every now and then.

    I know you must be dreadfully hurt, but I bet her was more of an escape and fantasy than anything concerete in reality, and sometimes to get through the drugery or life with kids, having an fantasy helps, and while it's lovely to think you include your husband in all of these, it's just not realistic. Sometimes spouces know their spouce is having an affair and they ignore it and give some period of tolerance waiting for their spouces to get their heads back on straight before doing anything drastic. This I actually would reccommend. I haven't had an affair, I dont think my spouse had, but there have been times, there have been others he's been attracted to, has talked about a bit too much, has been with too much, and now they're long gone, and years and years and years later, we're together. And there have been men, two, who's I've fallen in love with, I kissed one. I love that memory, but he long gone as well, and I love my husband dearly and always have. love. Real love, is complicated. many layered. Sometimes you love your spouce enough to let them work something out. Affairs end on their own all the time.

    This was a kiss, not an affair. She has feelings for him. Ok. She does. She always will. So accept it. Chances are any person will harbor some feelings for someone. If you REALLY love them, you'll give them that, and you know what, some day, some time, you're going to find yourself unwittingly, frustratingly, confusingly having feelings for someone else, and she'll remember you gave her space on this. And she'll return it to you. Neither of you have slept with anyone. that's good. As I said, it's all about what you do with these feelings. BUt to try to deny her being human is unrealistic, and you if you dont deny her her right to her feelings, she wont deny you yours when it all comes back around to you next.

    Talk to someone. OLDER. Us older folks, we know things. We've lived much harder lives than this generation. Our marriages have lasted a LONG time and we are very happy in them. We matured much faster with many more tragedies and heartaches and I think that sense of perspective served us well. I'm afraid this peace and tranquility and pain-free zone kids grew up in did not serve them well. Remember in Casablanca when Richard wanted to explain to Victor that Isla was with him before Victor walked away with her, obviously the winner of the love triangle? Victor said "I want no explainations"..well, that my generation. That's what going on here. That was a snapshot of being a grown up.

    Talk to her ( I bet you did in therapy) does she want the marriage to continue? Tell her you have no ridiculous expectations on you being her all and everything, but then tell her what you do expect, what you will demand, is respectful behavior. Good luck my dear. I'll say a prayer for you.

    Beware of being too acusatory or self righteous because you might find yourself in the same situation and want some

    Posted by a few grey hairs and whole lot of life behind me July 3, 09 04:21 PM
  1. I think what this man needs is advice from an OLDER person. Much older. I can already tell some of the 'advice' he's getting is from younger idealistic people. You should never stray, you should never fall in love wiht someone else, right? Well, suprrise, welcome to real life. Those things happen to married people all the time. The questions isn't whether or not you will develope feelings for someone else, the question is, what do you do with those feelings.

    She has feelings for him, well, yeah, she will. You will have feelings for someone at some point. It's normal. Doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Marriage is for the long term. LONG term. A kiss. emails. YOu think these are huge things. I know. Sometimes it may lead to such destructive selfish behavior it will destroy a marriage, sometimes it's just a cycle. Many marriages stay in tact after affairs. It's always best not to have an affair, but if you're both finding emmotional attraction outside the marriage, and you dont have kids, you may want to ask yourself if this is marriage you want to save. IF you dont have kids and this is happening, that is a bad sign. However, if you do have kids, this type of thing is not so horrible as you think. The boyfriend is a fantasy. A reminder of being young, carefree. She also is not dealing with his faults when she only sees him every now and then.

    I know you must be dreadfully hurt, but I bet her was more of an escape and fantasy than anything concerete in reality, and sometimes to get through the drugery or life with kids, having an fantasy helps, and while it's lovely to think you include your husband in all of these, it's just not realistic. Sometimes spouces know their spouce is having an affair and they ignore it and give some period of tolerance waiting for their spouces to get their heads back on straight before doing anything drastic. This I actually would reccommend. I haven't had an affair, I dont think my spouse had, but there have been times, there have been others he's been attracted to, has talked about a bit too much, has been with too much, and now they're long gone, and years and years and years later, we're together. And there have been men, two, who's I've fallen in love with, I kissed one. I love that memory, but he long gone as well, and I love my husband dearly and always have. love. Real love, is complicated. many layered. Sometimes you love your spouce enough to let them work something out. Affairs end on their own all the time.

    This was a kiss, not an affair. She has feelings for him. Ok. She does. She always will. So accept it. Chances are any person will harbor some feelings for someone. If you REALLY love them, you'll give them that, and you know what, some day, some time, you're going to find yourself unwittingly, frustratingly, confusingly having feelings for someone else, and she'll remember you gave her space on this. And she'll return it to you. Neither of you have slept with anyone. that's good. As I said, it's all about what you do with these feelings. BUt to try to deny her being human is unrealistic, and you if you dont deny her her right to her feelings, she wont deny you yours when it all comes back around to you next.

    Talk to someone. OLDER. Us older folks, we know things. We've lived much harder lives than this generation. Our marriages have lasted a LONG time and we are very happy in them. We matured much faster with many more tragedies and heartaches and I think that sense of perspective served us well. I'm afraid this peace and tranquility and pain-free zone kids grew up in did not serve them well. Remember in Casablanca when Richard wanted to explain to Victor that Isla was with him before Victor walked away with her, obviously the winner of the love triangle? Victor said "I want no explainations"..well, that my generation. That's what going on here. That was a snapshot of being a grown up.

    Talk to her ( I bet you did in therapy) does she want the marriage to continue? Tell her you have no ridiculous expectations on you being her all and everything, but then tell her what you do expect, what you will demand, is respectful behavior. Good luck my dear. I'll say a prayer for you.

    Beware of being too acusatory or self righteous because you might find yourself in the same situation and want some

    Posted by a few grey hairs and whole lot of life behind me July 3, 09 04:21 PM
  1. The question being ... are humans wired to be monogamous? Isn't there an op-ed piece in the NYT today about how we are so close to the bonobos like that? That marriage is an unnatural construct?

    As folks have said before, biology hasn't caught up to culture.

    billy13 - my dance card is full. Don't cry.

    Meredith - By all means, feel free to take Mondaye off from the column. Reporters and teachers - work so many unbillable hours, you deserve a break!

    Posted by reindeergirl July 3, 09 04:23 PM
  1. What they all said - continue the therapy and think about why you each felt you needed something outside your marriage. It's fantastic that you're both still in love with one another; you should keep working on that. I know therapy can't solve everything, but I bet it's helped marriages that have gone through worse.

    In the meantime, make a point of spending time together. It might help you focus on what you love about each other and get past the reasons for the indiscretions. My SO and I have had some tough times lately, and part of what has helped has been to plan a few weekend trips, go out on a few spontaneous dates, and set a time once a week or so for a 'so, how are we doing?' heart-to-heart.

    And reindeergirl - stupid is as stupid does. This guy exchanged some naughty e-mails (and by the sound of it, never went further than that) and you assume it was the same married guy you banged years ago? Even on the miniscule chance that it was, you're not doing anyone any favors by posting the details. How embarrassing for you.

    Posted by Lala July 3, 09 04:42 PM
  1. Simple: you invite him to join you and your wife in a felicitous adventurous romp. Everyone wins. Especially her!

    Posted by Don Juan LynN July 3, 09 04:52 PM
  1. You have to make constant effort, both of you, to be trustworthy. You really ought to do that regardless, even without the cheating, but it is even more important with your history.

    So is she making the effort? You say she expects you to be over it now. That makes it sound as if she is not making the effort to be trustworthy. And she certainly isn't making the effort to be accountable for what she did, or to understand your feelings. I bet she views it as payback. And that means, no, she did not really forgive you. And it means she is more interested in being vindictive than she is in being married in a healthy partnership. So stay in counseling and figure that part out.

    And yeah, what is up with reindeergirl? Sounds like a bitter lady there. Out to prove something. (Who knows what though.)

    Posted by jlen July 3, 09 05:18 PM
  1. if your therapist doesn't help, get a new therapist. my sister and her exhusband went to the world's worst marriage counselor, one who made excuses for my sister's ex's rotten behavior.

    Posted by therapy rocks July 3, 09 05:41 PM
  1. I smell a menage-a-twois brewing? Cool.

    Posted by Larry Loung Lizard July 3, 09 05:50 PM
  1. The taste of her cherry chapstick...

    Sometimes I think I'm cheating by just being on these boards: Clever retorts, charming pathos, musical innuendo and bad poetry. If I, however, mixed those qualities with say a biking motif...well, that may be unfair to my lady. No reason to be too much of a rennaisance man. No room for improvement.

    Posted by val July 3, 09 06:06 PM
  1. Being betrayed S*CKS!

    Not making excuses, but your wife took a major hit her core and this probably set off some psychological craze that brought her to make herself feel wanted and desired by someone. As you now know, betrayal is a cruel thing - people hurt deeply and the trauma people experience will cause them to react in ways they otherwise would not. Your wife was wrong to do what she did - if it was on the heels of your infidelity, I completely understand her need to do this, and it's too bad she didn't reflect more on the situation and reconciliation process you began.

    My guess is that you weren't intimate in a meaningful way for quite some time after your betrayal and the absence of that along with the extreme hurt, images of your infidelity, lack of trust hit to the ego pushed her away. Still, it's not right, but she was not in her right mind trust me. It was almost like putting a bandaid on the wound of hurt.

    So,if it is love that you both feel rebuild that trust - it will take a very long time, but it can be done if you truly want it and don't lose focus. It takes a lot of moral courage NOT to cheat on the cheater and hope for the best and now she must live with the fact that she too is a cheat. Maybe you both learned from this and will become stronger as a couple.

    When people get married, mutual respect, fidelity & trust are key to building a solid foundation. NEVER EVER should boundaries be crossed where the breach of trust is shattered....NEVER! No matter how screw#d up society has become I have found people who take part in the betrayal (other woman, other man) are pathetic losers who care about nothing but themselves. I only wish that what goes around comes around every time - but life isn't always so just.


    Posted by marj July 3, 09 06:29 PM
  1. Kick the lying, cheating, whore bitch out on her a$$. Wake up dude....she had a year long affair. Man-up put her on the curb and let her boyfriend pick her up. As for you....idiot....karmic payback here.

    Posted by mike July 3, 09 06:50 PM
  1. so wait wait wait.....im a guy and your telling me that contacting an old flame by email is the same at kissing an ex? are you on drugs....listen cheating is bad there no sugarcoating that....if you dont love the person your with be a man or woman and tell them....let them know why your unhappy before you do something retarded and cheat. This is why there is domestic beatings and murders because instead of ending peacefully people try to BANDAID things that cant be healed and it ends violently.....i just dont get it....if i didnt love my girlfriend...i would sit her down face to face and tell her why i think we should not be together anymore.....i know it would be tough most like emotions might show...but for weeks of sadness that she or he might have its much more worth it than being in a relationship with no trust/love/respect.....i would hope my other half would be the same towards me in the event that we were to breakup......bev crossing, end it, the box of bandaids is empty.

    Posted by Imstuckonbandaidsbecausebandaidsstuckonme July 3, 09 07:00 PM
  1. Meredith, I was online today and am working Monday too but needed some time to think about this letter.

    It is a sad situation. The letter writer sounds like a decent guy who messed up and has gone to a lot of effort to make up for it. It is pretty childish if his wife was doing this to try to get back at him. Plus we don't know all the details but it sounds like she went further than he did - kissing in public and writing for over a year. As for how long it takes to get over cheating, I think that depends on what the cheater does to help move on, but it doesn't sound like the wife is being helpful with that. I don't know if they will ever really be able to trust each other, though there are relationships that have survived worse.

    I think the couple needs to talk honestly about why they love each other, why they each strayed, if and why they are committed to making things work together, and how they can improve their relationship and address issues that come up in the future without cheating. If they can talk through that stuff maybe they can rebuild trust and make a new commitment to making the relationship work.

    Good luck.

    Posted by L July 3, 09 07:08 PM
  1. Nobody has bothered to ask if there are kids involved. Oh but...that's not important. It never is. What's important is your own gratification. If you can't keep a vow don't get married. Cheaters are generally pathetic cowardly losers. If the whole commitment thing just becomes too much trouble, at least have the guts to tell your spouse and move on from the charade you've turned your "marriage" into. And give your kids a chance at growing up happy.

    Posted by daveb July 3, 09 07:49 PM
  1. 1 person invents marriage, another adds " until death do you part", then a 3rd makes suicide illegal. It is quite obvious this formula lacked logical networking.
    Everyone acts like marriage is a form of slavery, where as you are owned.
    It is time this foolish "marriage" format was traded in for a contract with options for early release. Even prisons offer that .
    What pathetic souls. E-mails, kissing an ex. This is really worth writing to an advice column about?

    Posted by dave July 3, 09 08:01 PM
  1. I hate to say this but trust is something I truly think is close to impossible to rebuild - specifically when it comes to the act of being unfaithful. You can make the active choice to forgive but sadly I think it is difficult to forget and it will be an underlying issue in the relationship. I think there are many things that therapy can help but once someone is unfaithful I don't really think there is ever a way to go back. I think a relationship undoubtedly changes and it truly depends on what the couple is comfortable with accepting. I personally have walked away from a similar situation because I ended up growing bitter over time (he cheated). As much as I wanted to forgive and forget I found myself questioning things when it came down to it - i.e. anytime his phone rang I would wonder if it was her, or when he was out with some friends and came home later than expected or didn't answer his phone. It was a form of mental torture and I finally gave up.

    Bottom line -- be honest with each other and yourselves. A marriage is a very difficult thing to throw away but don't be blind because, in the end life, is too short.

    Posted by NVS July 3, 09 08:21 PM
  1. It seems that your marriage actually has a lot going for it:
    * You're open to going to therapy and have had positive experiences in the past with therapy
    * You're willing to communicate about what has happened and what you want
    * You say you love each other
    It's hard for some people to stay in a monogamous relationship for sometimes complicated reasons. People for whom monogamy comes easily don't get that. It's especially hard if there are doubts that the other person won't stray. But if that's what you both want, then keep working for it. Try not to focus on "will it happen again" (it might) but rather, "what can I do to make this relationship better". Finally, it's very hard to rebuild trust, and hard to get it back 100% (her lack of trust of you may have concsciously or unconcsiously contributed to her actions). Just assure her you're working on it, and ask that she do the same.

    Posted by Seeing the Grey Area July 3, 09 09:09 PM
  1. Ask her to cease all contact with the ex-boyfriend.

    Put it behind you. Your wife looked past your indiscretions from many years ago.

    Continue therapy.

    Don't be obsessed / paranoid, but be alert.

    Contrary to your beliefs, you and your wife don't communicate well and aren't very much in love or none of this would have happened. You are in denial. Start working harder or consider separating.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss July 3, 09 09:37 PM
  1. Get over it. You're troubled because you're buying into a pre-determined \ expectation about conventional marriage that says there will be no other attractions, no straying kisses, thoughts, etc. What your wife did is both understandable and ok. What you did was both understandable and ok. None of that means that you won't stay together or that you will stay together. But having attractions outside of a monogamous relationship isn't a big deal. Don't blow this up into some life-shaking event. Get on with your lives, for God's sake. Get over it.

    Posted by Been there, done that July 3, 09 09:46 PM
  1. Forget counseling. You tried hard to mend the relationship, its her turn to change. Clearly SHE needs counseling now.

    Posted by Sabs July 3, 09 10:01 PM
  1. That's never a good sign.

    Posted by DLR July 3, 09 10:26 PM
  1. Please stay together so that the two of you don't make two other innocent people miserable.

    Posted by Harry Pitts July 3, 09 10:44 PM
  1. who care everybody kisses everybody these days.

    Posted by it is the IN thing July 3, 09 11:00 PM
  1. Since you cheated on her, maybe she believes that she is allowed a "free cheat". I have heard of that before, it could be a way to get closure for herself and show you what the pain feels like.

    Posted by MiloT July 3, 09 11:09 PM
  1. marriages go through rough times. that's why you're married and not divorcing. you don't know if it'll happen again but that doesn't mean your marriage couldn't last a lifetime. just sayin. there's a ton of people who go through cheating, lying, and at the end of their life, they're still married to each other and ok with the fact. there's hardly anyone who hasn't had some major incident in their marriage, whether or not it precludes a divorce is up to the individual.
    it's b.s. to throw it all away over one thing if you're willing to work on it... at least in my opinion. seems to me there's a lot of wasteful people posting on this board.

    Posted by e July 3, 09 11:20 PM
  1. counseling, therapy, professional help, blah blah blah
    it'll be a cold day in hell before moi ever bares his soul to
    a complete stranger, seems like a way to make points
    of conflict worse

    Posted by mike in salem July 4, 09 02:05 AM
  1. AS for being a "NeutralParty" Comment, Let's just say we are all Human and respond to anothers attention, However what we do with it , is another story......Are we always looking for the Greener Grass on the other side, as the respect for the significant other is at a low? Is the Ego filled by how another see's us as in their mirror? Let's face it, nothing beats the newness of something new, if you can't weigh out the worthwhile Big Picture, v.s onto something new. it's time for reflection, goals and a new value of appreciation. After all this is not a dress reheasrsal, Life is short so live it with happiness, and not too many regrets. No rights or wrongs , just clarity on our choices, so we can live with them, wwwholeheartwholeheartly

    Posted by cpestana July 4, 09 02:40 AM
  1. Yeah, it's hopeless. Seriously. And since you love
    her, all you can do is watch it fall apart, either quickly
    or slowly. You know that after 11+ years, it's not worth
    ending the marriage over a single kiss. But when
    women cheat publically it means they want to end things
    and they don't know any other way. Now would be a good time
    to hit the gym and start eating a proper diet if you don't already.
    Being in good physical shape will make you feel better,
    whichwill help offset the pain. And when the pain subsides,
    you'll be a stronger person.

    PS: Lesson learned about the flirty/erotic emails. You had to go to therapy for that? Ouch. I bet that was humbling.


    Posted by Scott Fono July 4, 09 03:30 AM
  1. Happy 4th AaC,B

    Today is Independence Day, the day when my ex and I were officially divorced 5 years ago. After 2+ years of counseling either as a couple or individually, we just had a frank conversation one day in 2003 and decided that we would get divorced. (Yes the process took a while to complete...)

    I came to realize that if you love somebody, you have to set them free and if they really do love you, they'll come back. She didn't... so I moved on.

    What I am saying is that you just need to have a conversation with her, one on one, and ask her what she wants out of your relationship. Does she want out? Then grant it to her. Does she want to stay committed? Then keep going to counseling. Take the high road and do it with dignity. Yes - I know the ramifications are weighing hard on you, but life is too short and better to know now, than to be in this crossroad for a long time just wondering.

    Meredith may be on to something when she writes that some people are better suited for a few long term relationships rather than one big marriage. I've come to a similar conclusion over time.

    Good Luck and keep us posted on what happens...

    Posted by On vacation, but still reading Love Letters July 4, 09 03:31 AM
  1. Oooooh. Payback's a you-know-what.
    Why do people like this a) get married, and b) stay married? It's like trying to keep a British car running. Theoretically it's possible, but realistically you're looking at constant repairs, it'll cost you a bundle, and eventually you'll give up and find something better anyway. It's only a matter of time.

    Posted by baroque July 4, 09 08:11 AM
  1. most likely, the wife did more than just kiss the ex. If she was brazen enough to kiss in public with reckless abandon, just think about what went on in the car on the way to the location where the kissing took place. I'm thinking: steamy windows, tattered fabric, smeared makeup and moistened seats.

    Exactly what sort of emails were being exchanged? Ones with photos erotica etc.?

    The bottom line is that it is difficult to be celibate. It is natural to want other men or women. However, a marriage is a partnership based on love, trust, respect and comfort.

    I'm sure that 90% of the men reading this desire women other than their wives. But, we know it's wrong to go there and weigh the risks vs. the rewards. In some cases, men feel that the risk is too heavy. But, at other times, the reward is worth the aftermath/fallout. This depends on the strength of the bond between husband and wife.
    Believe me, I love my wife, but there are times when I see other women and desire them. It's a physical attraction, which is normal. To anybody that disagrees -- you're either odd or lying to yourself.
    However, I never act on these desires because I love my wife and would never want to hurt her. I'm attracted to my wife both emotionally and physically and it is these points that keep me celibate. My love for her is too strong to stray.
    It boils down to happiness ladies and gentlemen. I'm happy with my spouse and the man and woman referenced in this article clearly are not.


    Posted by corleone July 4, 09 08:17 AM
  1. How about you seek post divorce counseling - it's time you run from her. You are honest - she is not that means she's got something deep seated which isn't coming out anytime soon. Move on - move on - move on. My ex- did something very similar which included "photos" but only 2 weeks later a little baby entered into the scene. DNA says the baby's mine but yeah...once a cheater always a cheater. Run before kids complicate this.

    And something tells me Yoni's girlfriend is probably cheating on him.

    Posted by chris patrick July 4, 09 08:52 AM
  1. After 11 years it sounds as though the relationship has run its course. Set yourselves free - get counseling for yourself not for the marriage which was broken when the first one cheated. It doesn't matter why it happened. The fact is that it did and it is ova!

    Posted by daizy July 4, 09 09:04 AM
  1. One quick comment and I'm out. I'm almost 40 now. I've been married for a few years, have a baby on the way with a wonderful wife in a beautiful home. People say I'm lucky and that's part of it. However, I had deal breakers that I wouldn't budge on. Nothing too serious, non-smoking, willing to dance, education, never married or had kids, physically active, funny. The last one was that I wouldn't date anyone who was still in contact with an ex. Why? Breakups are never truly mutual. Someone will still have feelings and if they stay in contact someone is still carrying a torch. I wouldn't ask the lady not to stay in touch with her ex, I'd just move on. Just a bit of advice. After 30, it's too old to be playing games. Good luck and try to work things out but the marriage is in major trouble.


    Posted by jqa1708 July 4, 09 09:40 AM
  1. "The bottom line is that it is difficult to be celibate. It is natural to want other men or women. However, a marriage is a partnership based on love, trust, respect and comfort. "

    Don't you mean "monogamous" Corleone #55?

    Posted by Sasha July 4, 09 09:40 AM
  1. Is the Ex a LADY ??????

    Posted by slinkey July 4, 09 10:10 AM
  1. I think your email indiscretions were definitely inappropriate, but it sounds like you have taken steps to get past that.

    Her kissing her ex boyfriend is completely inappropriate, and it shows a blatant lack of respect for you. She shouldn't be allowed to get one "freebie" because of what you did in the past. It's completely inappropriate for her to be in such close contact with her ex-boyfriend.


    I know what you did is wrong, but I'm not going to focus on that because it is in the past and iff you two are adults, you should put that in the past too. What she did is ruin the trust that you have been building since your indiscretions.

    What she needs to do is stop contact with her ex immediately. I would give her an ULTIMATUM. Either cut all contact, or you're leaving. It's that simple. It's him or you. She's not allowed to have a friendship with him, she's not allowed to email him, she's not allowed to contact him in any way.

    If he contacts her, she needs to tell him to STOP IT. He sounds like he's disrespecting your marriage.

    No matter what problems you might be going through in your marriage to make her do this, they need to be dealt with. Don't let her make you feel like you "forced" her to do this.


    Posted by Yosemite "Crazypants" Sam July 4, 09 10:32 AM
  1. #27 is right on the money! I don't think I could say it any better.

    It sounds to me like your wife needed this indescretion to finally understand why you cheated long ago. That's what she is saying to you now: "it has taken her years to accept my indiscretion completely and it took an indiscretion on her part to get there." Great! Your marriage can finally restart itself all over again from a foundation of mutual understanding, compassion and forgiveness. If you let it. This is of course going to take time. And your wife needs to experience your pain fully, and do whatever it takes to rebuild your trust, just as you did for her. Show her this site: www.dearpeggy.com. Lots of great information for you two.

    I don't think she was doing a deliberate tit-for-tat. I think #27 is probably on the mark: it was a fantasy, a nostalgia for her youth, etc. But the result was the same: she now truly understands how infedility can happen even in the strongest, most loving, happiest marriages. Yes! It is true!! An affair does not automatically mean something is wrong with a marriage. It often has NOTHING to do with the marriage at all. If it did, she would have been considering your feelings, right?

    Don't listen to the idealistic naive single 20-somethings here, or the miserable divorced people, who will tell you something must be wrong with your marriage. What was wrong was that your wife was deluded into thinking by exchanging vows on a single day 11 years ago she was innoculated against ever committing infedility. It doesn't work that way.

    Your wife of all people knew full well what sort of pain a cheatee experiences. But, she naively thought she could handle an email relationship with her ex. Because (unlike you) she would NEVER cheat. (Is this sounding familiar?) But these sort of things have a way of creeping up on you - you already know that yourself - until you do something you never thought you would do, and you cross a line you never thought you were capable of crossing.

    I do not believe in "once a cheater, always a cheater." Sure, there are people that are like that, I don't deny it, and I don't know how they manage to live with themselves. But I think the vast majority of cheaters are people who never thought it would happen to them in a million years. These are the most vulnerable types. Because they think it will never happen to them, they let their guard down too easily. And when they do find it happening to them, guess what they do: they assume there must be something wrong with their marriage! And that's just not always the case.

    Those who are humbled by finding out they are fallable imperfect humans are then more likely to LEARN from this lesson, and to go on to spend the rest of their lives never cheating again. Just like you, dear LW, already did, for all these years. You learned your lesson, right? You are confident now that you would not do this again, right?

    Not being able to trust someone is a scary feeling. We all want guarantees. But you know what? There are NO guarantees in this life. You may have 100% trust in someone, and they could still get hit by a bus and your heart will break with a different sort of pain.

    I would more easily trust a person who would admit that they can't be 100% certain they would never cheat. If you understand you are human and imperfect, then you are more likely going to have your guard up and take steps not to accidentally slide down a slippery slope that 60% of men and 40% of women end up slipping down. Folks, 80% of marriages are affected by infedility at one point! 80%! Chew on that, LW: if you leave this marriage and go on to a new one, you have an 80% chance of this happening again. But, with what you are describing of your current marriage - it is otherwise strong and happy and you've both learned your lessons - I would give it only a 20% chance of it happening again.

    Posted by listen to the old successfully married people July 4, 09 11:13 AM
  1. It was me she kissed. You can keep her.
    ta ta

    Posted by Ta Ta July 4, 09 11:28 AM
  1. Have we hit the "10,000th" comment yet?

    Posted by LilShorty98 July 4, 09 11:49 AM
  1. Hope you had a pre-nup.

    Posted by monkeycaller July 4, 09 11:49 AM
  1. Seriously consider swinging.

    Posted by dave July 4, 09 12:15 PM
  1. When I broke up with one of my boyfriend, but he still insisted that we are together
    while I am seeing someone else, it is not cheating to me, when I served my ex-
    husband a divorce and I didn't wait for a year I went a head and made out with another guy that's not cheating to me. I think couple during dating time or in the
    committed relationship needs to clear what's acceptable and what's unacceptable.
    One time I made out with this guy he was into me first, that's why I was into him and we start to date I thought, but he wasn't thinking what I was thinking, he wants
    something else, and I called him and he didn't want have anything to do with me
    so we argued and I was pissed that being treat that way, and what was worse is
    that he said that I was stalking him and made me even more pissed so I never
    call him again, but many time I know he called me and not saying anything, and he
    just hang up. But one time my car needs to be fix so I drive to this repaired shop and I said I want to see what's wrong with my car and he said alight it would required at least 2 hours or so, and I said I don't have the time becuse I need to pick up my two children. As I was leaving and I noticed that he wasn't anybody, he was the guy that I went out with, so I asked him about his name and I said I know
    you, he said no, I don't know you, he grow this facel hair and I know it was him but
    just he think with the beard that I would not reconized who he was, So weird things
    happened to me everyday. And I just think if you are looking for a one night thing
    or thinking of something crazy don't mess with nice girl becuse her god will punished you somehow or someway, so during dating time you got to be honest.
    and clear about what is dealable and got to be simple. don't make thing complicated it is just boring and not fun.

    Posted by it was a sad situation July 4, 09 12:25 PM
  1. Oh, please! Just get over it! Somewtimes a cigar is just a cigar. A impulsive erotic thrill with an ex is not exactly losing one's virginity, now, is it? Leave it behind and move on.
    If she won't leave it behind, look the other way; it will soon pass; she did divorce him, you know!
    Puritans were stamped out in 1640, everywhere but Massachusetts. Wake up: people in long term relationships have some erotic side trips that may or may not be inclusive of intercour4se. It's normal. It helps keep a relationshp alive by stimulating the person and that benefits the marriage (as long as it is trivial or a one time thing).

    Posted by Shamrock July 4, 09 01:15 PM
  1. To me noone does this type of stuff unless there is something missing in their relationship.

    It will take awhile to rebuild the trust but you have to be willing to rebuild that
    and realize that yes...it will take time.

    I would continue to go to therapy.

    Posted by violet500 July 4, 09 02:12 PM
  1. Don't be worried about what humans are 'hard wired ' to do. look at all history and see we are 'hard wired' to do a lot of nasty things. Don't cop out now reindeer. If its a make out french kiss, and she tormented you about the other girl you emailed, then you have torment rights. this will kill the relationship, so if you don't want that then you have to be the bigger person. M guess is this will eat you up ( if you are under 40) a lot. Give it a try but don't do anything you don't like, or feel comfortable doing. Its your life. We are realizing women are no better than men.

    Posted by F.F.C. July 4, 09 02:57 PM
  1. You're "both" not in love in this relationship. If you were, she wouldn't have been secretly emailing him for a whole year. There's more going on than just a kiss.

    Posted by Nancy July 4, 09 03:17 PM
  1. Payback.

    That's it. Nothing more.
    Get over it and get to work fixing your marriage. Sounds like that's what you both want.

    Posted by DrK July 4, 09 05:52 PM
  1. My wife had a relationship with a man 7 years ago. She was honest and told me and I thought we could move past it. The truth is I never got over it and should have gone to therapy or just left her when it happened. I don't blame your wife. You betrayed her trust and frankly it should be her that questions how faithful you will be.

    Posted by Hurting July 4, 09 06:48 PM
  1. Your wife was never happy with you in the first place that's why she punished you for your sins of the past but she was never any better than you and now she has proved it. You are both wrong for each other and maybe its time you realized it. You have been lying to each other for to long you should both move on.

    Posted by Anonymous July 4, 09 07:02 PM
  1. The comments regarding this incident reveal a singular lack of sensitivity.
    If someone kisses their ex,the only important question is where.

    Posted by TarheelChief July 4, 09 07:48 PM
  1. Meredith is right -- you don't know and you can't know. So what do you do about it? Go back and reread #27, and be realistic about people -- their strengths and weaknesses.

    Posted by grey hair, too July 4, 09 11:57 PM
  1. This sounds like one of those bumps in a marriage. Therapy can help. The question is: Does your wife want to commit to your relationship as much as you do with her? The best thing to do is keep an open mind and see what happens.

    Posted by Been there July 5, 09 02:51 AM
  1. Yes, both kissing and questionable e-mails can be forms of cheating. Each is a way of breaking the other's trust. When Beverly broke his wife's trust with the e-mailing, he did a series of things to earn the trust back: He apologized, acknowledged that it was wrong, cut off the relationship with the e-mailer, and reported further contact attempts. If his wife does not take similar steps he is unlikely to be able to regain trust in her.

    I agree with gray-haired #27 that not every offense has to mean the end of a marriage. Part of love and commitment is tolerance. On the other hand not every marriage is worth saving. If the wife is not interested in doing her part to re-earn her husband's trust, then what kind of marriage is it?

    Finally a response to the therapy nay-sayers: Get over it. Therapy works. You don't always get a good therapist, and not every problem can be solved. But quite often it really is worthwhile and productive. There's tons of research documenting this. So when you say it's stupid, that's like saying that seat belts are stupid because your friend's uncle wasn't wearing a seat belt and that saved his life. Sure there are exceptions but the odds are still better with the seat belt on. Numbers don't lie.

    Posted by Ricky July 5, 09 04:14 AM
  1. Maybe you'll become the ex and he'll become the ex ex and she'll be the ex with the ex ex and an ex.

    Posted by Jim July 5, 09 06:53 AM
  1. Corleone - Your first paragraph sounds like a romance novel (fabio). Nice vivid imagination.
    Doesn't cellibate mean abstaining from sex?
    And these women that you want - are you sure that they want you? Cause you're 50 and balding.
    Bottom line is if your flirting and winking and thinking -- you're already cheating--so get off your high horse!

    Posted by Maestrokittycat1 July 5, 09 08:13 AM
  1. A woman doesn't carry on a year long email affair and only kiss. If you have a womans attention for that long....it is beyond kissing.

    Men cheat and can walk away from the other person. When women cheat...there heart is usually fully into the commitment....that is a good and bad thing.

    You ought to start looking my friend....too much water under the bridge and it all started with you leak!!!

    Posted by Anonymous July 5, 09 10:58 AM
  1. Is there anyone out there who is not cheating? It's very simple. You marry someone because you love them and take vows professing love and fidelity to that one person forever! People need to really think about what those vows actually mean and they need to carry them out. If you don't like these "rules", don't get married.

    Posted by cali July 5, 09 11:31 AM
  1. The emotional cheat comes before the physical cheat. An attraction has to form and be acted upon, whether via email or physical affair. She caught you having an emotional affair and now hers has gone physical.

    Vows are not just about physical bonds, they are also about emotional and spiritual bonds. So, could she reasonably think she has permission since you broke your vows first? Absolutely. It NEVER goes back to the way it was. Doesn't mean it can't be rebuilt into something good, but vows were broken and that's powerful.

    If you catch a business partner cheating you on a deal, but over time you repair your business relationship, do you ever quite trust that person again? And do you really feel outrage on his/her behalf if he/she gets screwed over by someone else?

    Sure, to Meredith's point, life spans used to be much shorter. However, history shows us there was lots and lots of cheating going on. By the way, your wife is not deeply in love with you. You can only speak for yourself--she sure is speaking for herself when kissing her ex. Look, whether you can repair this will be a testament to the love you have for each other, and the amount of time and patience you are both willing to expend. You reap what you sow.

    Posted by yupokay July 5, 09 11:57 AM
  1. To all of you who think it's "normal" or "acceptable" for people in committed relationships to sneak behind their partner's back(s) and have flings with other people --- you all go to one side of the room and pair up. Have fun, and buh-bye.
    The rest of us, aka "not selfish creeps", can then safely choose partners like ourselves, who believe in having enough respect for the person we committed to, to be up-front when things are going south. Rather than sneak around and cheat like lovelorn teenagers, why not just 'fess up to your partner that your relationship needs work in order to survive/thrive? Work on what you have or call it a day and go your separate ways. It is never OK to be a lying, sneaking cheat.

    Posted by baroque July 5, 09 12:06 PM
  1. Cheating hurts no matter how troubled a relationship is. I will advise that you really reevaluate what you want out of you marriage. Make a list of the pros and cons of being married to each other and go from there. Try looking at it using the "80/20 rule"; if you are getting at least 80% of what you want then you can work with the 20% you done. If you are at all religious you may want to try The Love Dare book. I hope this helps. Hang in there.

    Posted by Similar situation:( July 5, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Well, a girl never forgets... perhaps you moved on after you cheated on her, but she is still holding to that and will eventually go all the way because she is pissed off that you cheated on her. Perhaps she is bored with you and needs some excitement on her life. I think you should just ask her!

    Posted by Mari July 5, 09 12:41 PM
  1. If you have children fake it and split once they are 18. If you don't have children get rid of her.

    Posted by mars July 5, 09 01:10 PM
  1. Would be over for me. Anytime there is even a thought about it, it`s not good. Once you can overcome the cheating thing, it will never go away just human nature. I would be real and if it ends, it ends.....

    Posted by Steve July 5, 09 01:14 PM
  1. The bigger question in my mind is why you allowed yourself to live as if "to prove yourself" over all these years. That's different than apologizing, making amends, and moving on to the next thing together.

    Posted by steve in W MA July 5, 09 02:19 PM
  1. If you love your wife as much as you say, you never would have betrayed her in the first place. Now you are dealing with the consequences. You shouldn't be asking us what you should do about your marriage. You should be asking your wife what SHE wants to do with it, and hold her to the choice she makes.

    Posted by Jersey July 5, 09 05:44 PM
  1. Didn't work out for Steve McNair, did it?

    Posted by Payday Manning July 5, 09 06:59 PM
  1. Haha...that was me with the Richard Marx reference. I can win any 80's related trivia. Anyway, it sounds like she loves you but doesn't love monogamy. It sounds like you love her, but "working on a marriage" has its limits as far as your pacience and understanding is concerned. Despite it's obvious draw backs, have you considered the possibility of an open marriage? It's not for everyone, but if either of you are looking to satisy (what is really) a primal need and not apologize for it, think about it. Therapy is a waste of time because your wife is not sorry for her indiscretion as you were. That lack of sincerity will continue to exist - she will not pine for your forgiveness. This leaves two choices: Divorce or a marriage, while untraditional, will leave you more honest and satisfied with one another. Just an idea.

    Posted by Mandy July 5, 09 07:24 PM
  1. I have to question why, if you have a therapist, would you come onto this forum looking for answers. I suspect that you know what your therapist is going to say and you don't like it.

    It is interesting that neither of you consummated the other relationships. It is also interesting that she kissed her ex in view of a friend who reported it to you. It is as if you are sending messages to each other, but know not to go too far. Perhaps you don't know how to say what you need to to each other. Maybe you need to learn that feelings are not actions. There may be an element of payback here - perhaps consciously or unconsciously , she needed to feel what you felt in your indiscretion to forgive you, or maybe she needed to know she could hurt you back, There are lots of reasons that people who love each other do hurtful things to each other; it doesn't mean the marriage is over. But it does mean that you two have some work to do before one of you crosses the line and there is no coming back.

    Posted by Nancy G July 5, 09 08:07 PM
  1. LONGWINDED-
    The race isn't to see who can write 10,000 words...It's the 10,000th comment. Shorten it up out there...I can't remember what you said when you started, so your conclusions leave me flat.

    Posted by val July 5, 09 09:02 PM
  1. I will agree with Mari: Women do NOT forget. If you think she'll ever let go of this completely, then I have a very large bridge for you located right near Manhattan and at a very attractive price.

    Posted by BeenThere July 5, 09 09:04 PM
  1. Where's Rico? Long weekend?

    Posted by Erin July 5, 09 10:06 PM
  1. "Val" feels like he is cheating by being on this board because of his self-proclaimed "Clever retorts, charming pathos, musical innuendo and bad poetry."

    Huh?

    Dude, you are pretty average in everything I've seen so far on here except your ego.

    Posted by LOL July 5, 09 11:36 PM
  1. I agree with Meredith on the "you don't know" answer to your question of "will it happen again"? Nobody has a crystal ball. Everything is an act of faith and trust. Even brides and grooms on their wedding day don't know with 100% certainty if their spouse will cheat. But, they base their trust on previous behavior and current action.Putting myself in your wife's shoes, if it was me, and my husband had sent "questionable" e-mails that I had to "catch" him doing, even though it's not technically cheating, that would sway me in wondering what else he keeps hidden from me without my knowledge and it would question my trust for him. And if I happened to get in touch with an ex after that, I could see it making it a little more easy to be a little more carefree with that dialogue knowing my husband did the same thing. Like many have said though, you have an 11 year marriage. I'm sure the two of you have been through things together as a couple that has tested and strengthened you (sickness, job challenges, family issues, perhaps even deaths of family/friends), and I'm sure (at least I hope so) that the two of you have had many good times (vacations, lots of laughs, silly times, nights spent talking and bonding), so I think the two of you need to focus on those things (the full history of your marriage), and re-establish what makes your relationship unique. You BOTH did things to jeopardize the relationship. This isn't the time to spell out why it's unfair for one person not to get over it as quickly as the other. Now is the time to sit down and talk about what you love about the other person. Stay up all night talking if you have to. You both need to re-commit to the other and be the love of the life for the other. Would you walk the ends of earth for her? If so, tell her. Don't just tell her you love and want the marriage to work. She needs to know that SHE is the one for you and the specific reasons why. Now, if you don't genuinely feel this way about her, then that's a sign that this marriage is in serious jeopardy because you either love someone passionately or you don't. And you need to know if she feels this with you. Make sure the two of you aren't in this marriage for convenience. As for #94 comment about Steve McNair, the same thought came to my mind when I read this. Although in his case, it sounds like it was full on cheating, his murder illustrated the extreme of what stepping away from marriage (and kids in his case) can bring. Lying and sneaking around doesn't usually have a happy ending (at least a genuine happy ending).


    Posted by bklynmom July 5, 09 11:37 PM
  1. #29 was as spot on as you'll ever read.

    Posted by Beentheredonethat July 6, 09 01:59 AM
  1. Yo, Rico, where are you?

    Posted by Kimball'sMom July 6, 09 07:30 AM
  1. Sounds to me like pay back and your wife have a lot in common. My advice is to find some bimbo and shag her rotten. Then be open an honest about it with you wife. The marriage is over, do yourself a favor and put the finishing touches on it now.

    Posted by Kay-Man July 6, 09 07:30 AM
  1. Ok, here's the golden rule for a good marrige. If it stinks leave before it smells.
    What do I mean by that? Let's say your out with the guys. You go to a stripper bar.
    Your having a good time and one of your buddies gives a "worker" twenty for a private dance for you. It stinks, it probably will smell. In this case your wife has feelings for her ex She chose to be alone with him . It stunk, and boy did it stink.

    If nothing good can come out of a situation then leave. The ingrediants to a healthy and happy marrige.

    Posted by rlsrd July 6, 09 08:52 AM
  1. "We now communicate very well and are both very much in love with each other. "

    Obviously, though, you don't and you aren't. Your wife was secretly emailing her ex for a year, kissed him, and expects you to just get over it. That doesn't show good communication or love. It shows very little respect. Even given your own past emotional infidelity, that's unreasonable. She didn't just get over it when you did it, which tells me one of two things--she's either a narcissist who thinks the rules are different when it comes to her or there's more to this than you've said. Either way, it doesn't bode well--there's been a pattern of blatant disrespect in this marriage, and that's soul-killing for all involved.

    I am struck by the people on here who think this guy is getting his just desserts. Come on. While I'm not particularly forgiving about any sort of infidelity myself, I do think that if you commit to working things out, you shouldn't act like a child to get back at someone. He cut off all contact with the woman and did everything he could to make amends. And I think it's pretty rich that the wife expects him to just get over it when she bloody well knows she couldn't. If she's still angry over what happened, or if there's more to this, well, I hate to say it, but she should have gotten a damn divorce rather than buy a ticket to the drama train.

    And to all of those people who think cheating is normal and okay and that it's just because the cheater's needs aren't being met or that it's biological--shut it. Seriously. Marriage means you stay faithful to your spouse. If you aren't happy or needs aren't being met, YOU TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE ABOUT IT AND YOU GO INTO THERAPY. You don't act like a greedy, petulant 4-year-old who's entitled to a spouse and bit on the side. You don't string someone along. You don't hurt people. If you're that unhappy, stop wasting your time and you spouse's and divorce with dignity. But drop the whinging martyr act--your unmet needs don't entitle you to a pony.

    Posted by PM July 6, 09 09:22 AM
  1. Stay in counseling and try to fix what is "broken" in the marriage and if it can't be fixed than it is time to part ways. Many, who are unhappy in their marriage, tend to look outside the marriage to another instead of confronting the spouse and saying to them, "Hey, I am not happy, let's try to figure out why together." This mature way of communicating can save so much heartache and pain rather than some one getting attention to their unhappiness by cheating. And if the marriage doesn't work out, at least you can say you really tried and can maybe part amicably and be friends. And before you move on to another person, make sure you have figured out what your contribution was to the problem because it takes 2.


    have been avoided if he acted maturely.

    Posted by chris July 6, 09 09:27 AM
  1. This is At a Crossroad in Beverly. A few updates since this letter was sent to Mer. We have continued in theropy and it is working wonders. We have re dedicated ourselves and are feeling like we are dating again. Ther have been bumps in the road but things are going the right way.

    As for more details yes the "questionable emails" bordered on the erotic but mostly they were about me and the other woman not ever exploring a relationship that should have been way back when we were younger. Turns out that other woman was a bit crazy and I am far better off. Also once this cam eout I realized what a jerk and creep I was being towards my wife I began treating her like a Queen, as I should have been all along. I may not do as much work around the house as she wants me to do, then again does any man, but I do a great deal. For ex I am the primary cook and I am the one who gets our young child ready in the AM and makes the lunches.

    On her end she is glowing and is real appreciative of all the progress we have made. I do believe this was just an indeiscression that could have been avoided but it was not and she does feel very bad as a result. Her email's were just friendly ones bassed in the how's life going and such. The harboring of emotions towards the ex is undersatandable as they were together for 9 years before I was even in the picture. I don't like it but it is understandable. She also says the kiss discusted her and she is disapointed that it ever happened. Also one other key point that i know he kissed her and it was not a mutual thing was the fact that HIS WIFE saw it too. He is dispicable.

    We do love eachother and we will continue to work on our issues as far as the why, that is always going to be a work in progress as to make sure neither things ever happen again.

    Posted by Crossroads July 6, 09 09:28 AM
  1. I honestly feel if we were able to have a fling here and there the divorce rate would be so much lower in this country... Yeah she kissed the guy, yeah they have history... Oh well get over it. Stick with counciling and try to work it out. I have an e-affair every day with a woman. It started off with an initial attraction, but after a while it just turned into an awesome friendship. Hell her husband refers to me as her BF!

    Posted by Anon in Cambridge July 6, 09 10:22 AM
  1. 1. What does doing work around the house and cooking have to do with this? It's irrelevant to marital infidelity.

    2. You and your wife can spin it any way you want, but it's completely absurd that she kissed her ex in front of you and in front of his wife.

    3. She clearly is in control of your marriage and is manipulating you quite effectively. I feel bad for you.

    4. Put a max length on these comments. Some of these are ridiculous monologues. Hint: I shouldn't have to scroll to read one comment.

    5. I do not know anyone who had today off for the holiday. Some took it as a vacation day, but no company / industry / business that I'm aware of counted July 6th as the holiday.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss July 6, 09 10:29 AM
  1. Why is life so difficult sometimes? Why do we engage in self-destructive behavior? This can't be easy for either of them. 50 percent of marriages of fail, half of the other 50% are unhappy. There's got to be a better way. I love how people on this site get on their high-horse and judge people like they sort of moral compass.

    Posted by Paul from Wellesley July 6, 09 10:38 AM
  1. What Meredith said...

    Oh, and PLEASE keep up with the therapy but if that doesn't work consider a trial separation. Some people are not meant to be together for the long run. Either you grow to love each other more each year and grow together as people or you don't.

    Chris Rock said, "You are either married and bored OR single and LONELY."

    Ponder...

    ===
    Meredith:
    I did not work on Friday but I am at work today. Have a wonderful everything!

    Keep this one up til Tuesday (hey, an 80s band name)...


    Posted by Amazed July 6, 09 11:29 AM
  1. reindeer girl- why are you so proud of your little affair? that is nothing to be proud of, you little homewrecker! anyone with a little class would never hook up with a married person, then to top it off brag about it?! you obviously think very highly of yourself. you need to be cheated on so you can feel the pain it inflicts. that is not to say that the one who cheats on his wife is not guilty. you both are. no one respects someone like you. grow up

    to the letter writer- the fact that you say you are in love is a good sign. if you two continue with the counseling you may be able to work through it. good luck!

    Posted by this chick sucks...literally July 6, 09 11:33 AM
  1. The way I see it...As long as you can honestly forgive (some people just cannot...no matter how in love they are) If you can look at her and not feel the rising tide of anger/jealousy etc (especially when you are in a disagreement or a bad mood with her) then YOU will be able to make it thru the marriage. If she can/did forgive you for your behavior years back (no longer feels that rising tide) then SHE will be able to make it thru the marriage. If both parties meet the criteria, then it should be petty simple...Pay close (not excessive) attention to the others moods...at the end of each day...you should be able to say whether your mate is happy / sad / fulfilled / excited etc...If your answer is "I have no idea what my mate is feeling" then you deserve to live alone with a parakeet. FYI - If you two still find mostly happiness with each other, it should not be that hard to work it all out...life is NOT as hard as people seem to think. Be Happy!!

    Posted by jenn in cali July 6, 09 11:50 AM
  1. I agree with Hoss (# 109). Some of these comments are way too long - unnecessarily so in most cases. Keep 'em short. That means you, Frico.

    Posted by Truman July 6, 09 12:04 PM
  1. yo - "Sad Situation"...what? That was the least sensical post EVER.

    And that's saying something!

    Posted by happily married July 6, 09 12:05 PM
  1. Late to the parade, but I have to agree with #105 and #106. And from reading your post Crossroad, it seems that you are (both I hope) working on the relationship. Good for you both. Counseling can work, but doesn't always. It helped me work out my issues. Unfortunately in an earlier relationship it did not help us work out our issues.... But it is worth an honest effort - as is a good relationship. And to those who might say "that sounds like work".....

    It's good work - if you can get it.

    Posted by Jeff July 6, 09 12:14 PM
  1. Why do people even bother getting married anymore?

    Posted by Joek July 6, 09 12:22 PM
  1. Where in the world did this make-out session between your wife and the ex take place? At a family reunion? How the heck do people make out so publicly that virtually everyone the couples knows gets an eyeful?

    Posted by Rae July 6, 09 12:24 PM
  1. Rico had a long weekend so sorry to disappoint the fan's...

    Here is Rico's analysis:

    As you all know, Rico doesn't like cheaters and you can probably already guess what Rico's response is going to be.

    Well, Rico is tired today and will keep this short. It sounds to Rico like this couple has more issues to deal with that need to be brought out to the forefront. The cheating is secondary to the big issue. Bottom line is that Rico thinks the therapy has been a waste of your time, money and effort. It might have been better for the two of you to split up and go on to whatever it is that you want. You both want other people in your lives romantically so stop trying to fix it through therapy, after a year it hasn't worked and is getting worse. You sure it was only a kiss? Rico doubts it and thinks more likely you have both cheated and will continue to cheat. Do yourselves a favor and just agree to move on. Rico's only concern is that you have children and if so they need to be dealt with appropriately.

    Rico will check in later if he has time but otherwise enjkoy the beautiful weather and have a great day.

    Love always,

    Rico

    Gears, not Gas

    Posted by Rico July 6, 09 12:53 PM
  1. New letter please

    Posted by Monty July 6, 09 01:05 PM
  1. Rico: The Solomon of Western Civilization

    Posted by jock itch July 6, 09 02:20 PM
  1. After you scrub the kitchen floor, cook her supper, and feed her grapes while she reclines on the couch, sneak upstairs and do her laundry as a surprise to her. That is the only way you will be able to determine the extent of her physical relationship with her ex. Carefully inspect the garments. Methinks she did more than just smooch him on the dance floor at the wedding you all were guests at.

    Posted by Whoomp_There_It_Is July 6, 09 03:09 PM
  1. Rico: The Sodom of Western Civilization

    Posted by Gold Bond July 6, 09 03:20 PM
  1. One other thing - why are you socializing with the ex and his wife if you find him "dispicable" and your wife reported the kiss to be "disgusting"? Move out of this friendship group entirely! There is nothing in it but heartache for you both. It sounds like you will be able to work it out but you need to stay focused on each other, not on other distractions. And Reindeergirl, please stay away from my man too! Anyone who gets joy out of damaging a relationship is beyond selfish and well into psychopathic territory. Boiled any bunnies lately? Jeesh girl - get your own life and leave the other womens' lives alone!

    Posted by J Bar July 6, 09 03:49 PM
  1. My initial reaction to the letter was that you need to find out from her what she really wants. Now, you've gotten the answer, and she really wants to be with you. This is good. I can only hope that she is being honest and not just telling you want you want to hear. Continue with therapy, and hopefully you both will be able to figure this out.

    I'm not sure I follow the comment about the housework. I doubt doing more housework is going to be enough to make her happy - it'll just make her less angry/bitter. I don't think women cheat because their husbands don't do the housework. They cheat because something (passion, romance, connection) is missing. Of course, if you are fighting about housework, it's impossible to work on being romantic, etc., so keep doing your fair share.

    Posted by two sheds July 6, 09 04:01 PM
  1. I agree with everything Hoss said... and that feels really weird.

    Posted by Q97 July 6, 09 04:55 PM
  1. Good point #125...I was a little perplexed by his update letter remarking on the cooking and getting the lunch prepared for their young child. It's almost like he wants a gold star for doing what he's supposed to do. Sorry, no one gets gold stars for cooking for their family and being a parent to their child. That's the basic requirement for BOTH parties. Reminds me of when I hear fathers say they "babysat" or "watched" their own kid while the mother went out. I have a son and I've never "babysat" him. Like #125 said, yearning for a different relationship is more about passion, romance, and connection and less about certain quotas of sandwiches and pancakes.

    Posted by bklynmom July 6, 09 07:33 PM
  1. I want to thank everyone here. I will take all the coments to heart as both sides have valid points. As for the "housework' comment there was another comment here saying that men tend to stop doing things around the house and that is why some women may stray. I was just basically saying that I was not like one of those men. We are continuing couseling and as mentioned have made some very strong break throughs and honestly know that bot our indiscressions are minor in the scheme of things but both of us hurt each other deeply and now we are repairing our lives together. So thank you all.

    Posted by Crossroads July 7, 09 08:39 AM
  1. my wife and I have given eachother permission to kiss other people as long as it doesn't lead to sex. I know of a couple of times in the last 3 years where she has acted on this and kissed at least two different men (she told me about one of them, and I saw her one other time. I have also kissed two different women over the last couple of years. My wife has assured me that she has done nothing more than kiss, and I believe her. She said both men felt her up and tried to have sex with her, but she told them no. We think that it spices up our own sex lives with a little extra making out on the side every once in a while. We have been married 15 years now

    Posted by Anonymous July 14, 09 09:15 AM
 
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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