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How to save our marriage

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  August 3, 2009 08:30 AM

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Welcome back from the weekend. I’m on a train from Maryland to Boston today. My friend’s wedding was beautiful. I’d never been to a Quaker wedding. It was very cool. And the wedding cake was designed by this place. Tasty.

Q: Hey Meredith.....
I don't know if my question is unique -- I trust it isn't in general but it certainly is to me. I hope that I can glean some advice from you and the readers as to this situation. I am hopeful that it creates a discourse that can help save our marriage.

Overall, I feel that we have built a solid foundation to our lives -- 5 great kids, wonderful extended family, great home, and general economic prosperity due to really hard work over the 21 years that we have been together. Unfortunately, as may be too often the case, we have let our physical and emotional closeness erode as we put that aside for the sake of others.

6 weeks ago, she indicated that she was not happy. She did not come out and say she wanted to separate but intimated that. We had a very emotional conversation -- the most so of all our time together. I expressed my love for her and committed to change my behavior to ensure that there was no doubt about how special and important she is to my existence. I committed to ensuring that we spent time together and communicated our feelings. It was like I was staring down the abyss ... it scared me to no end thinking about not being with her forever. She also indicated that she would work on the relationship as we both wanted to stay together -- or so it seemed.

Here is where it gets complicated. There were obvious signs of a distraction from another relationship. She had started to work out like a fiend, lift weights, and diet -- ostensibly because she wanted to feel better about herself -- which I am proud of her for doing so. She looks fantastic. While this was going on, however, she was secretly having a long-distance relationship with my son's former hockey coach. There were two occasions where they had an opportunity to be physical but I don't know if that happened -- she indicates no but I am skeptical. This two-month relationship involved mostly texting - sometimes 70 per day and some of the material that he produced would make a sailor blush. I confirmed my suspicions by looking at her phone and confronted her with it. She was predictably upset about the fact that I had "spied" on her -- nothing I am proud of -- but I needed to confirm what I already knew in my heart.

She is visibly sad and confused as she tries to sort out her feelings. I have asked her to stop the relationship with the other guy -- I feel it inappropriate but she refuses to do so. Irrespective of the pain it is inflicting on me and the harm that I believe it will inevitably cause to our relationship -- she indicated it would be too painful for her to stop the interactions. More importantly, she feels that relationship is in parallel to ours and is not the cause of our underlying problems. I believe that there is truth to that statement -- this relationship was not the cause of the distance we created yet I can't believe that with it alive and well - we can ultimate reconcile our feelings of love for each other. Particularly because of the lies, secrecy and deceit that I feel being inflicted on me. She won't share what is exchanged -- I won't go behind her back anymore to find out. I have been very understanding and forgiving over this period while she is sorting things out but I am running out of both. I am hurt and angry.

Am I out of bounds here to establish some firm boundaries about her interactions with this guy? An ultimatum won't be received well but is that an approach to force her to make a decision?

Do you or the readers agree that a relationship where intimate feelings were exchanged can be viewed as having no bearing on how it affects her "working" on our relationship?

Any other approaches to suggest -- she is too stubborn and independent to accompany me to counseling.

-- Cold as Ice, North Shore

A: CAI -- You're right -- your question isn't unique, which is sort of a bummer. It seems many couples find themselves in this position after being married for a long time. Life gets boring, love does erode, as you put it, and someone new starts to look like an escape.

I'm happy this was a wake-up call for you. I'm happy you're willing to take some accountability for the aforementioned erosion.

Now it's your wife’s turn to help mend this relationship. She's not Tony Soprano. She's not allowed to have a spouse and a significant other on the side. You're not willing to share. You're right to assume that her relationship with this man directly affects her ability to rediscover emotional intimacy with you. She can disagree all she wants, but she’s just trying to delay the inevitable -- which is letting him go.

Tell your wife that if she wants to stay with you, she has to trust that you’re going to give her enough positive attention to make her happy. Tell her you understand that she’ll be miserable for a while if she has to let this man go. It will be a break-up -- and you’ll be there for her as she goes through it.

Tell her what you've told us -- that you can't maintain a marriage with someone who's in a relationship with someone else. It’s not so much an ultimatum as it is a fact -- you can't deal with a text-messaging third wheel. If you fix this marriage, you'll be doing it as a twosome, not a trio. Tell her you're drawing the line -- not because you're a controlling partner who wants to threaten her happiness, but because you're the man who adores her and wants to stay married to her for the rest of her life.

If you're asking for my permission to make what you already know is an appropriate demand to save your marriage, you've got it, buddy. Just don't expect an over-night decision on her part. It takes more than a night and a lot of repeat conversations to figure this stuff out.

Readers? Should this woman be allowed to text a hockey coach while she's working on her marriage? Should CAI give an ultimatum? Can this North Shore marriage be saved? Share here. Letters to right, etc.

-- Meredith

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174 comments so far...
  1. She's having an emotional affair. She needs to stop it NOW if she's at all serious about saving your marriage. And really--I don't care how painful it is for her to cease contact. It's painful for YOU for her to engage in this type of relationship. It's not a casual friend--she's being secretive, they are sending really intimate and inappropirate texts, etc. NOT OKAY. This is hurtful behavior.

    If a person hascheated and wants to save the marriage, they cut off all contact with the other person and you work on the marriage (and refrain from blaming their spouse for their actions). I'm not a fan of ultimatums, but I'll say this--if she doesn't cut off contact, at least you know where you stand, and can go forward from there.

    Posted by PM August 3, 09 09:05 AM
  1. I hate to say it because I'm generally not one for ultimatums, but giving one is kind of a necessity here. CAI didn't walk down the aisle for the to hear "I now pronounce you man, wife, and lover.".

    I think the fact that she won't leave the hockey coach kind of speaks for itself though... I wonder if the coach married as well?

    Posted by Boston Transplant in DC August 3, 09 09:06 AM
  1. This must be so painful. I am so sorry CAI. However, you and Mer are completely right. If she loves you wants it to work, ending the relationship with hockey man should be a no brainer. She should WANT to make it work and try and cut the bullsh*t. If not, then maybe her love for you cannot be repaired. If it were me, I would want to give my husband 100% and ditch the other man. She has to be as dedicated to you as you are to her.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! August 3, 09 09:13 AM
  1. This is easy.


    The marriage CANNOT be saved if she continues to have a relationship of any kind with the hockey coach. Period.

    It’s too bad if she feels it will “too painful” to break ties with the guy. No matter what joint factors have eroded your marriage to it’s current state, the road to recovery must be undertaken in a two person vehicle.

    Frankly, it sounds like she’s blaming all this on you. That’s comical considering the things she has done already to undermine things. She spent countless hours working out to tone up for her new pal. Spent countless hours thinking of him. Spent countless hours texting him, calling him, and you know what else with him at the expense of you and the children you have together.

    Wake up.

    She’s already refused counseling. Give her an ultimatum: Him or you.

    In the meantime, contact a good lawyer. Now.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss August 3, 09 09:23 AM
  1. Great advice Mere..

    She should absolutely not be texting your son's hockey coach and as her husband, you have every right to check her cell phone records and her phone. If she had nothing to hide, than she would not care if you did these things. If this man was just some innocent male friend, than she would not be so deceptive.

    I hate to say this so bluntly, but your wife is cheating on you and she is acting incredibly selfish by not being honest and caring about your feelings. She's avoiding the subject because she probably has a hard time lying to your face. When a parent commits infidelity, they are hurting their own children the most. Remind your wife of this. The opposite of love is indifference and you aren't there yet, you still love her and want to fix things. Your wife has to come onboard. Talk to her again. If you don't want to do the dirty work, secretly hire a private investigator.

    Posted by trueluv4eva August 3, 09 09:25 AM
  1. Oy! Mere, throw us right into the fire with this one. It's Monday ~Wake-up!
    Ice Man,
    You deserve a group hug from LL. I have a pit in my stomach after reading this letter. Honestly, I could never trust her again, but that's me. I know Mere thinks you should try to work it out, but she is refusing to dump the other guy! "I have asked her to stop the relationship with the other guy...but she refuses to do so" RUN- DON'T WALK- TO THE NEAREST LAWYER TODAY! Right now! You are proud of her for losing weight and looking so good? She did it for HIM, Ice Man, not for you!
    As a woman what I find most upsetting is that she is not only cheating on you-she is cheating on your kids! She seems completely self-absorbed-spending hours at the gym everyday and even more hours texting her lover boy. Who is watching your kids? What kind of quality attention are they getting? Don't believe for a minute that your hockey-playing son and your other children aren't onto Mommy's little "business meetings and phone calls". I have kids they see and hear EVERYTHING! I can guarantee her relationship started while lover boy was still coaching junior. And yes, it is physical and has been for quite sometime no matter what she says. How many girls' weekends, overnight visits to sick friends and girls' night out has she had over the past couple of years? Disgusting! Morbid curiousity makes me wonder if she works or is she a 'stay-at-home cheater' whose lifestyle you are supporting with your blood, sweat and tears.
    ...And Ice Man-she is not 'sad and confused' about the affair-she's upset that you CAUGHT her-she regrets nothing! She still wants to stay with the guy! She's worried that you will call LoverBoy's wife and the jig will be up.
    Just an aside-if things implode- Do NOT move out of your house! She needs to go. You keep the kids. She has already proven that she is an unfit parent.!

    Posted by Mommy's little secret August 3, 09 09:34 AM
  1. She either breaks it off with the coach or gets sent to the penalty box.

    Posted by techdood August 3, 09 09:36 AM
  1. Reminds me of the Harry Met Sally scene in which Harry's friend tells Harry the lover is just a symptom of a bad marriage, and Harry says, "Yeah? Well that 'symptom is [curse word-ing] my wife!"

    Of course she is right that the lover is not the cause but a symptom. But she *knows* -- unless she is dumb as a bag of hammers -- that regardless the causes of the problems in your marriage, this 'symptom' is now a full-blown problem on its own. The kind of problem that makes it impossible to repair the marriage as long as it continues.

    It is common sense that a marriage cannot be repaired while an affair is going on, be that affair physical or emotional. You have every right to demand she stop seeing him. She cannot on one hand claim to want to work on the marriage, while on the other keep her little man on the side. And to be dismissing your pain over this seems cruel of her. She has to make a choice and it is unfair of her to pretend she does not.

    My heart goes out to you. Maybe the marriage is not salvagable, maybe it is. Either way, your wife needs to step up and make the decision whether she will work on it or not. And as Mer said, working on it means dropping the lover.

    Posted by jlen August 3, 09 09:37 AM
  1. It's already over. Your wife is unwilling to go to counseling and will not break off the infidelity (emotional and possibly physical). The only things left to do are

    1. get a lawyer
    2. tell your wife it's over
    3. go somewhere private and get on the phone and tell everyone (your wife, the coach, the coach's wife, your kids, your extended family, her extended family, etc.) the truth about why it's over.

    Posted by Bob Dwyer August 3, 09 09:39 AM
  1. I agree with earlier posts - she cannot work on the marriage and a side relationship at the same time, nor is it fair to you. That is not part of your original marriage agreement. She needs to end the side relationship and put that energy into working out problems with you.

    The funny thing that she may not realize - the hockey coach is so out of line here. If she thinks her other choice is to end the relationship with you and have a life that is better with the hockey coach - she is in for a rude awakening. That guy clearly has no backbone for what he is doing, and that is hardly the foundation for starting a healthy relationship. I can tell you from experience too - the kids won't find your wife very respectable either, and it will impact their relationship with her. Your wife better wake up soon before she really loses everything in her life that has potential for happiness. I wish you luck.

    Posted by spaceman August 3, 09 09:43 AM
  1. Of course she is right that the lover is not the cause but a symptom. But she *knows* -- unless she is dumb as a bag of hammers -- that regardless the causes of the problems in your marriage, this 'symptom' is now a full-blown problem on its own. The kind of problem that makes it impossible to repair the marriage as long as it continues.

    It is common sense that a marriage cannot be repaired while an affair is going on, be that affair physical or emotional. You have every right to demand she stop seeing him. She cannot on one hand claim to want to work on the marriage, while on the other keep her little man on the side. And to be dismissing your pain over this seems cruel of her. She has to make a choice and it is unfair of her to pretend she does not.

    My heart goes out to you. Maybe the marriage is not salvagable, maybe it is. Either way, your wife needs to step up and make the decision whether she will work on it or not. And as Mer said, working on it means dropping the lover. If she will not do that, she is telling you the marriage is over.

    And please ignore the advice to hire a PI. Make your decisions the honorable way, without resorting to that kind of underhanded tactic. (Anyway, if you found out the relationship was completely non-physical, and your wife found out about the PI, the relationship would be over. And if you found it was physical? Well, there are better ways to figure that out than through deceit and spying. And no, it would not help you in a divorce.)

    Posted by jlen August 3, 09 09:43 AM
  1. I feel for the LW. Meredith had some great advice.I would add, ask her for a true definition of this other relationship again. Tell her if its a friendship and not more (physical) you'd like to see a way for it all to work out happily but it threatens you. Most important, make clear again how dedicated you are to her. Beyond that, tell her you want the both of you to go to marriage counseling together. Using a counselor can make it a non threatening way to discuss the problems.

    Back from a great vaca. Sad to see Rico Suave egomaniac is still polluting the board with his self centered male chauvinist drivel. Funny to be called out, so to say. Rico, go have fun with yourself. You're not worth the time or effort beyond this board.

    Gas not gears. get 'em with the door. Turn on the a/c. Increase your carbon footprint :-)

    Posted by byubba August 3, 09 09:43 AM
  1. I think your wife needs to want to work on your relationship for the both of you to have a shot.

    The hockey coach is an avoidance technique - there is something really wrong in your relationship that for whatever reason she cannot face. If she won't consider counseling seek solo therapy. You are going to need the support as you navagate these muddy waters.

    Posted by older and wiser August 3, 09 09:43 AM
  1. CAI, even though your wife won't go to counseling with you, I would strongly urge you to consider counseling for yourself. You're going to need the support (as an individual, as a spouse, and as a dad) whether you decide to stay in the marriage or to walk away. What your wife is doing now by refusing to let go of her indiscretion because it would be too painful for her (what the heck???) and laying the burden of this in your lap is emotionally abusive. She is not thinking of anyone but herself right now. If nothing else, do it for your kids -- they need one of their parents to have their sh*t together right now.

    Posted by move on August 3, 09 09:44 AM
  1. Rico has some very simple yet complicated advice for you:

    Rico has no idea what you did to contribute to the erosion and Rico honestly doesn't care at this point. What he cares about is the fact your wife HAS CHEATED. Whether it be emotional or physical and you have your suspicions the affair has happened and is continuing to happen. That being said Rico suggests either she gives up the "other guy" and goes to counseling to try and work it out or you go and file for divorce. You deserve better. Rico doesn't like cheaters and the others on here will confirm that.

    Rico knows of people that were/are in similar situations so it is not uncommon. It is not right but not uncommon. If the marriage is dead then bury it and move on. Rico hates these people that figure messing around with someone on the side is OK. These people are wrong and shouldn't be in the relationship. Do everyone a favor and end the relationship you are in and start another after it is settled, not any sooner.

    Hope you all had a nice weekend as Rico did. Rico got a lot of fresh air and he enjoyed a nice ride in the rain Friday.

    Love always,

    Rico

    Gears not Gas

    Posted by Rico August 3, 09 09:47 AM
  1. What man is his right mind would sign a letter telling us his wife might be having an affair with his son's former hockey coach as "cold as ice?" This alone tells me that the letter is a fake. If this guy was so upset over the situation, he would have never used that signature. Ever.

    For Meredith's sake, I'll play along. (Aside....any rich businessmen on the train Meredith? You should have taken the shuttle from DC, that's more the type you like. You will not meet your financial savior on Amtrak, hon)

    Hey North Shore Guy -
    Your wife has already checked out. She doesn't want you. She wants someone else. Time for you to protect your assets, hire a lawyer, and kick her out. You need to get into the gym and start getting some steamy texts from lonely divorced hockey moms. The season is starting soon. Nothing like a single mom, with her high waisted jeans, fleece corporate logo zip up and steaming cup of Dunk's at Kasabuski Rink to get you going at 6am.....ughhh.

    Posted by leykis101 August 3, 09 09:49 AM
  1. is LW or letter fake or is 'Dith's advice fake ? or is it just hateful angry people throwing comments here ?
    anyone - If this MAN was just some innocent MALE friend, than SHE would not be so deceptive ? MAN , MALE, SHE ...OK.

    Posted by FAKE August 3, 09 09:51 AM
  1. Therapy! You need marriage counseling, and If she won't go, then you need to get individual counseling for your own self.

    Without the counseling, your marriage truly is headed for its ending. You can't live without trust in a healthy marriage, and if it would "hurt too much" for her to let go of the other man, you've got her answer. In counseling, she (and you) can look at the deep rooted causes and perhaps work things out. If not, I'm sorry to say that it will be time to move on with the next phase of your life

    Posted by Pats forever August 3, 09 09:52 AM
  1. I totally agree with Meredith and all the posters’ advice so far. She is cheating on you with the hockey coach and that relationship impacts her emotional availability which ultimately impacts the opportunity for you two to get back together. I would give her the opportunity to get back together, however, as others suggested I would also hire a private investigator and have a lawyer on retainer. Someone in a past LL post once wrote: “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” Just keep that in mind.

    Posted by LuLuLemon August 3, 09 09:53 AM
  1. please check out the modern love essay from yesterdays New York Times. I think you will find it appropriate.

    Posted by linda August 3, 09 09:53 AM
  1. And one thing that Meredith left out...

    CAI, you say your wife is too stubborn & independent to go to counseling. Is that an assumption on your part or have you talked to her about it? If you don't ask, she definitely won't go. And if she refuses, you should still go on your own. It's not a pancea. The marriage may still break up, but you'll have an objective third party to help both of you see what you need to do (and your wife may take the "ultimatum" better if it is reiterated by such a person). If she won't go, you'll have an objective third party to talk to no matter which way the marriage goes.

    Best of luck!

    Posted by Seen it before August 3, 09 09:54 AM
  1. Both of you are responsible for your current relationship troubles - but she should know it's going to take both of you to fix it. 100% commitment to getting it back on track. Emotional affairs are hard to end. They can do a lot for ones ego. I hope she tells you exactly what she needs from you. You seem willing to work on it and I hope you get the chance. It can't be all one sided though, she needs to do her part as well. You have every right to give her an ultimatum - she's YOUR wife! This hockey coach can't just walk in and take her from everything you have built together - your history - your kids - your finances - your HOME. Tell him to focus his attention elsewhere - to an unmarried and single woman. Shame on him.

    Posted by T August 3, 09 09:58 AM
  1. So not only is she cheating on you, but she refuses to cut off contact because it would be "too painful?" How about the pain she's inflicting on you? Get thee to a divorce lawyer with the quickness, because there's nothing but pain if you try to "fix" this.

    Posted by Scooter Mcbooter August 3, 09 09:59 AM
  1. I think you are all being extremely judgmental and not right in your advice. She found someone who makes her feel like a woman when her husband admits he didn't make her feel good. Now, he can ask her to end the relationship, but I suggest a different approach. Start working on your own relationship. If you make it fulfilling for her and show her what you really feel inside about her as your romantic partner, then a texting relationship will not survive in the face of real life.
    That texting thing is just a fantasy. Make your life together a happy reality, and you won't have to deal with it for more time than it would take her to get over the "breakup."

    Posted by Mrs_J August 3, 09 09:59 AM
  1. No need of advice !
    YOU already know her traits - stubborn and independent .
    YOU have been very understanding and forgiving over this period .
    YOU SAID we can ultimate reconcile our feelings of love for each other!

    Posted by discourse, ofcourse! August 3, 09 10:01 AM
  1. You sound like a caring, compassionate, understanding man...and you sound like this woman's DOORMAT. You deserve so much better than this after 5 kids and 21 years together.

    Posted by Sabs August 3, 09 10:02 AM
  1. Consensus is she is having an emotional affair.
    She needs to break it off immediately and the two of you need to seek counseling. Together.
    You need to make it absolutely clear that if she chooses not to end her affair, then your marriage is over.

    DrK

    Posted by DrK August 3, 09 10:02 AM
  1. How can advice be given to say that CAI should give support in his wife's 'break-up' of an extra-marital emotional affair? Marriages rest on many compromises but no where in the doctrine is there a promise to share. As has been said, MANY, MANY hours have already been spent by your wife giving her time, energy and mind to another as an escape from the problems she should be addressing with you. 21 years?! 5 FIVE kids? And she is too independent and stubborn to try counseling?
    Karma has brought her devious ways to light and now she needs to redeem herself in order to reestablish that trust between the both of you that took too long to create. You most certainly may understand what led her to stoop this low and will be by her side while she works through this mistake but absolutely not while she tends to her ‘broken heart’ over another man. You are in a MARRIAGE. This sort of ultimatum should not be a challenge for your wife…F@ck boundaries my man…No contact should be.
    Take care of your mind, body and soul to get back to your needs. Ensure your own emotional safety if this marriage isn’t salvageable and you can always take comfort in knowing you loved and cared to give it your all.

    Time will tell and heal all wounds; there is nothing more certain than that.

    Posted by Rossia August 3, 09 10:03 AM
  1. Definitely get a lawyer and tell her it's DONE. Then see how attractive the long-distance hockey coach looks to her, and her to him. Imagine the hockey coach when he realizes his little fun on the side is no longer married and available FULL TIME.

    Posted by Shecky28 August 3, 09 10:04 AM
  1. Okay, let Uncle Mistral break it down for you:

    1. Any time the middle-age haus frau (or hubby) suddenly hits the gym, that’s a red flag. Sure, it’s great if it’s for “health reasons”, but not for “gettin’ busy w/the new b/f” reasons.

    2. There were 2 occasions on which they had an opportunity to get physical? What that means is she’s banged the guy, at least twice.

    3. I generally don’t think “spying” on someone is cool, however, if that “spying” reveals actual dirt of the kind yours did, then the “spy-er” is absolved, and the “spy-ee” is the guilty party. Next time she brings it up, tell her she’s p*ssed about getting busted w/Wayne Gretzky.

    4. The hockey coach is a sleaze, b/c anyone who goes after someone else’s marriage is a sleaze.

    5. You shouldn’t have to “ask” your wife to stop a relationship with another dewd.

    What to do:

    6. Flip the script. Start working out yourself. It will make you feel better, and it will make her wonder. Stop being such a sap, and make her feel like she’s got something to lose.

    7. She won’t go to counseling (this is a *huge* bad sign. Generally, it means that she’s emotionally checked out of the relationship), but counseling might benefit you, so you may want to go by yourself.

    8. Go see a lawyer, but don’t mention it to her. Position yourself for the upcoming divorce—which is pretty much going to happen.

    9. Take your time on issuing an ultimatum (i.e. after you’ve see a lawyer), but you should feel bad about it. She’s *your* effing wife, and it’s time she started acting like it, and that means no more b/f.

    10. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

    Best of luck,

    Mistral

    Posted by Mistral August 3, 09 10:04 AM
  1. Go on vacation, just you and your wife. Go someplace romantic: Hawaii, Paris, Rome, Provence, or whatever conjures romance in her mind. Spend the week walking hand in hand, having quiet dinners, making love in the morning and at night. In other words, make new, happy memories. Keep it loving and upbeat. Talk about your past together. Talk about the future. Do not talk about the hockey coach. By the time you come home, she will either dump him herself or you'll know there's nothing left worth saving. Best of luck.

    Posted by Kate's Nonna August 3, 09 10:04 AM
  1. she's a tramp, period, but especially for being caught red handed then maintaining that, "no honey, it's okay if I continue to see this guy while we work things out". that's just terrible. call a lawyer while continuing to be the good husband, because this doesn't look like it's gonna end well, buddy. if you have the "economic prosperity" you maintain in the letter, and hopefully your kids are near or at adult age, maybe you can squeak out of it without being completely screwed as it relates to your future financial situation post-divorce.

    oh and put some cash in some off shore bank accounts - NOW.

    Posted by FJ August 3, 09 10:05 AM
  1. I have been in this situation. For me the marriage was doomed. The kids, the friendships built over the years and the extended family that gives life it's meaning will not matter in the end. If the wife is willing to come clean and trully work on the marriage it could be saved. Most of the time this is not true and the marriage breaks up. Good luck to him. I hope the relationship can be saved. My advice is to forgive but do not forget. I did and 5 years later she was at it again. At this point we divorced. I have never married again. I just don't think you can trust anyone again when the person closest to you, your best friend and the mother of you children betrays your love. Try to work it out but get yourself a good lawyer.

    Posted by Bruce Pieroni August 3, 09 10:06 AM
  1. Another thought - a suddenly SINGLE woman with FIVE KIDS is going to be a MAJOR buzz-kill for the hockey coach!! HEE! HEE!

    Posted by Shecky28 August 3, 09 10:06 AM
  1. I have been in this situation. For me the marriage was doomed. The kids, the friendships built over the years and the extended family that gives life it's meaning will not matter in the end. If the wife is willing to come clean and trully work on the marriage it could be saved. Most of the time this is not true and the marriage breaks up. Good luck to him. I hope the relationship can be saved. My advice is to forgive but do not forget. I did and 5 years later she was at it again. At this point we divorced. I have never married again. I just don't think you can trust anyone again when the person closest to you, your best friend and the mother of you children betrays your love. Try to work it out but get yourself a good lawyer.

    Posted by Bruce Pieroni August 3, 09 10:08 AM
  1. "5 great kids, wonderful extended family, great home, and general economic prosperity" - is she really willing to throw all this away?

    Make HER tell your kids and extended family why she's leaving and just imagine their reactions

    Posted by sparky August 3, 09 10:09 AM
  1. CAI, you're in a horrible situation and it sounds like both you and your wife need a lot of support. Being a woman, I can tell you how horrible it is when you can't rely on your significant other for emotional support, and I think that's one of the reasons she's found it elsewhere. Does she have any close female friends that she could rely on, because it's obvious that at this point she doesn't trust you. You both are going to need a support system in building your relationship back up, and besides a psychologist (which is a good idea for both of you), you need to have friends there. See if you can get her to reconnect with her best female friends as a way to start to pull herself away from Coach Hockey.

    Posted by gradstudent6 August 3, 09 10:09 AM
  1. This is all you need to know about her level of committment to anything...

    "she is too stubborn and independent to accompany me to counseling."

    ...if that's true, you may as well jump to the last chapter.

    Posted by hippydippy August 3, 09 10:11 AM
  1. I went through an almost identical situation, CAI. I hate to say it, but you can't save your marriage. I tried looking the other way for two years. I begged her to go to marriage counseling. We have three young kids, and the thought of having them grow up with divorced parents absolutely killed me. But at some point you have to stand up for yourself. The fact that you feel guilty about looking at her text messages shows how messed up she has made you. I was the same way, apologizing for discovering she was having an "emotional" affair. Like you, I never knew if it was physical, but it doesn't really matter.

    Perhaps the scariest part is finding out that if she stayed home with the kids during the marriage, you will almost certainly lose custody even though she is the one who destroyed any hope of reconciliation. So you are put in an impossible position: stick up for yourself and lose your kids or suffer through so that you you aren't a visitor in your kids' lives.

    I ended up giving up almost every asset ... the house, lots of money, etc. ... to get her to agree to 50-50 custody. In affect, she used the kids as a bargaining chip because the laws of Mass are so one-sided in this. Disgusting. But in the end, the "stuff" wasn't nearly as important to me as the kids, so it was an easy decision.

    Get out now so that you can start the recovery process. It takes time, lots of time, but the sooner you start the sooner you can start living your own life again.

    Posted by In the Same Boat August 3, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I am a woman who has been in the wife's shoes. My relationship with my husband had eroded, and I was having a long-distance emotional affair with an ex. When confronted about it, I felt horrible and guilty, and vowed that inappropriate contact would cease, but refused to give up all contact altogether. I knew the truth even as I tried to do the "right thing" - my relationship with my husband was already dead. It's not always a conscious choice, and though some may say that this woman is maliciously undermining her marriage by refusing to let go of the lover, she probably just knows the truth in her heart, and hasn't admitted it yet.

    Saying it would be "too painful" to give up an extra-marital relationship, is, in effect, making a decision against your marriage.

    Posted by Luci Ole August 3, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith and all the other posters but I would go one step further. Why would the LW even want to stay with this woman? She sounds like a shallow piece of crap who refuses to work on her marriage, go to counseling, or even BREAK UP with her other lover! The LW mentions 21 years and 5 kids. Granted, that's a lot of time invested but you are still young and you have the right to be in a mutually respectful relationship. This woman is not in love with you, or at least her love is in a time-out while she explores the other possibilities out there. I agree that ultimatums are not usually the way to go but in this case you have every right. Just be prepared for her departure. Stay in the house, take care of the kids, and when she comes crawling back because Coach turned her away (and you KNOW he will), you will be faced with another decision - take her back or not? You have to ask yourself if you really want to be with a person who makes efforts to improve herself for a lover but wouldn't do it for you. You are worth more than her and your kids will benefit from having a role model who stands up for marriage, loyalty and integrity. Rico will have a lot to say about this one, that's for sure.


    Posted by J Bar August 3, 09 10:13 AM
  1. Yes, she has to break it off and probably she knows that if she goes to counseling that she will have to break it off.
    However, I completely agree that staying at this point is the best option. She's not taking off with another guy. She is confused, probably guilty, and unsure if your marriage can be happy again.
    I would call up a couples counselor, make an appt but explain the spouse is reluctant to come because of an ongoing emotional affair, and then kindly and patiently invite her to go just once to see if the counseling helps. If she still refuses, then go on your own and talk to the couples person about what can be done to encourage her to attend.

    As angry as you naturally must be, I think she loves you and you two just need to re-establish the relationship and probably face some hard things about what you both are not getting and giving. It's really hard to see the possibility of happiness again after a long time of being unhappy, but my guess is that you two can be happy again with some work.

    Posted by good luck August 3, 09 10:15 AM
  1. The LW does NOT have the right to check his wife's personal text messages. What's done is done, but the ends do not justify the means. The letter writer needs to admit that checking text messages is an invasion of privacy and that he will stop doing it, just as he expects his wife to end the relationship with the hockey coach should she wish to continue in the marriage.

    Sounds as if there is a lot of work needed in rebuilding this marriage. It's quite doable, but it takes 2 to tango. Don't be surprised if she chooses the hockey coach over you.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Sigh August 3, 09 10:15 AM
  1. She needs to see your balls right now. You do not want to be an "understanding nice guy" about this situation. You must be angry and feel violated. That means settlling for nothing less than an immediate and verifiable end to the relationship with the hockey coach and an appointment/commitment from her to couple's therapy. Anything less, and she owns your balls forever and she knows it. You should seek the advice of an attorney if she even hesitates.

    It is great that you understand that you are both responsible for the loss of passion in your marriage, but she is 100% responsible for cheating! Right now, she doesn't deserve you.

    Posted by sanity123 August 3, 09 10:15 AM
  1. How awful. Although I first need to say my first thought after reading your letter was what the "behavior" is that you are working on changing? You never explicity say what it is and that concerns me since you have eagerly disclosed every detail of your wife's faults. You say you committed to spending more time with her and communicating more but what brought this about? Have you done something similar in the past? Or is it a matter of you prioritizing your job above your wife for years? I am assuming option 2 based on your comment about your "prosperous" life. There are two sides to every story and frankly you seem a little vague about your hand in it. Please note, I do not in any way condone her behavior, but I do think we deserve more information from you about this.

    The fact that your are contemplating staying with her after she has done this to you makes me think you feel guilty about the way you have treated her. Regardless, there is no excuse for her behavior. You have every right to give an ultimatum. She either gets rid of him or she looses you. No alternatives. She can't have both. End of story.

    Typically I agree with Mr. Hoss... but not completely today. How are we getting she is placing all the blame on CAI? We are hearing his side of the story, no kidding we have that impression. You said that there was some truth to your wife's statement about thinking your underlying problems are what caused the distance between. What are they? Clearly they are a major part of this? Did you leave them out because they don't portray you in the best light? I bet so. Write in and explain.

    Posted by Kathleen August 3, 09 10:16 AM
  1. LW is petty and bitter life!
    So if you want to do something that makes you happy, don't let the unhappiness of others bring you down! Find other people who are genuinely happy with their lives without feeling the need to judge and condemn, and surround yourselves with THOSE people-- they'll be loyal friends and add joy to your lives!

    Posted by every1 texts, look around! August 3, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Cold as Ice,

    I am so sorry you are going through this. It seems like your relationship was already for the rocky shoreline and this affair was the actual crash of it. Water is flowing through the hull. It's too late to recover from it I am afraid. She just doesn't have the courage to tell you. You should ask her to leave the house, separate and file for a divorce. It will be ok in the long run. One day you will find someone again that is deserving of your trust and love.

    Posted by Lucien Desar August 3, 09 10:17 AM
  1. why complicate a good thing? If it's great now, it will be great after you!! HATERS will alway hate! Don't rush things!

    Posted by julianna August 3, 09 10:18 AM
  1. Hoss (#4) is right. Nothing more to add, except sorry that you're going through this.

    Posted by DT August 3, 09 10:18 AM
  1. there are never guarantees about anything. Life happens....people fall out of love, people die, jobs relocate, and millions of other scenarios, but that doesn't change the fact that there are times to be more ready for something.

    Posted by Karen August 3, 09 10:19 AM
  1. First of all, this has nothing to do with the hockey coach; it is about the two of you. In the beginning, there is the "love bubble" within which you both exist in the absolute security of each other. That is not to say it is someplace to hide from the other people in your life, rather it is the part of your union that no one, including children can get to.

    Rebuilding after the pop is difficult, but you need to do it and draw her back in. There needs to be an ultimatum, but the really tough part is that it has to be known only to you. If you have to force it, your love will never be real. You need to win her love every day; something you should have been doing all along.

    Posted by tanzer August 3, 09 10:20 AM
  1. Take a look at your own support system. Do you have people (your own age and also from your parents generation) that you can talk to when you are making those big life choices? If you don't, there are ways to develop that network. And find ways to keep your emotional resilience high (exercise works well, as does yoga/meditation)

    Posted by Brian August 3, 09 10:20 AM
  1. After reading this love letter, I feel for both of you. I'm sad for your wife, who was probably emotionally and physically neglected while working hard to raise five(!) kids. Simply put - she sought out what she wasn't getting at home, or perhaps this hockey coach recognized it and took advantage of the situation. That said, I'm sad for you too for finding about the affair and think it's admirable that you're willing to fight for your marriage and for her when a lot of people would just walk away.
    But set your expecations accordingly. It may just be too late to save your marriage. Hopefully it's not. Both of you need to commit to the rebuilding process or it doesn't stand a chance. She needs to cut it off with this guy. You need to consistently remind her how important she is to you. Just one emotional conversation isn't going to do it.

    My piece of advice: Take a week long trip, just the two of you. Go somewhere you both have always wanted to visit. Turn the cell phones off and only check on the kids once a day - five minutes max by phone. Plan activities and try to reconnect. By dedicating some up front time with each other, it will give you a good litmus test as to whether things will work out in the long run.

    Posted by Marina August 3, 09 10:22 AM
  1. one item to add....while she may have turned down counseling don't give up. let her know you want to create a safe environment for both of you to openly discuss your issues. It's all in the way you position it. You can't force her into counseling, she has to agree. If you truly feel that way, tell her that anything can be overcome and you can move forward together, but it does take two.

    Can't believe I posted twice. must have caught the h1Rico flu.

    Posted by byubba August 3, 09 10:23 AM
  1. Correction on my previous post:

    Sit down face-to-face with your kids somewhere privately and tell them what's going to be happening (i.e. "Mommy and Daddy are going to be separating....") and the reasons why. Don't put any blame out there. Just spell out the facts and try to answer any and all questions the best that you can.

    Tell everyone else over the phone as quickly as possible. You will need to get out in front of the spin / damage control that your cheating wife and the hockey coach will try to conduct.

    Posted by Bob Dwyer August 3, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Know any hot cheerleading coaches? Give her a taste of her own medicine. Talk about a cold hearted woman, that is 100% cheating in my book. Go find a lawyer now and start writing down any 'indescretions' or 'girl nights out' so you will have it documented for the upcoming court battle.

    Posted by sorrytohearthat August 3, 09 10:27 AM
  1. It just never ends! This is a very common tale that happened to me as well. Many women in long marriages are like a switch, once they get turned on by some other person, they cannot see the forest from the trees and there is no going back. They seem to fall in love with a life that is complete fantasy, fueled by some scumbag guy who has no moral compass and could care less about the fact that he is helping destroying a family. Unfortunately, our state (and many others) make it far too easy for women to get away with and even reward this behavior through no-fault divorces, equal property division, fictional restraining orders, female biased custody rulings, and child support amounts that are actually alimony in disguise.

    My advice is practical in nature – protect yourself and your children now. Do not, under any circumstances vacate your home. Never, ever leave your children home alone. Insist that if she does not end this relationship immediately, that she be the one to move out and make it clear that if she does so, it will be without the children. Also tell her that if she wants a divorce that it will be her financial responsibility to get one. If she, or her scumbag lover threaten you in any way, file a restraining order immediately. In the meantime, contact a lawyer of your own and bring them up to speed on the situation. Do not speak with her ever without a witness present.

    I know this sounds harsh, but these are the realities of the system in MA. Never stop offering counseling to her to repair the marriage – get counseling yourself. Offer her counseling in writing – send her a letter via certified mail twice a month. Save all receipts, phone records, e-mails, bank and credit card statements. Get your finances in order – remove your name from any joint credit cards wherever possible. Open your own checking account and make sure your paychecks are deposited in it immediately. Do NOT refuse her a car or money, but make sure every transaction is documented. Do NOT confront the person she is cheating with in any way.

    I am sorry to hear that your wife has decided to throw her marriage away, now it is time for her to face the reality of her decisions. Give her every opportunity to work out the issues with you but make it clear that she must take the first step by breaking off the other relationship immediately. Outside of that, you must protect yourself and your children from her self-centered behavior. I know firsthand just how devastating news like this can be – do everything possible to keep your own sanity.

    Good luck friend.

    Posted by DK August 3, 09 10:33 AM
  1. Let the tramp go, you'll be happier.

    Posted by josh August 3, 09 10:38 AM
  1. If you want counseling, and your spouse doesn't, just go yourself. Trust me; therapy is going to help no matter what.

    I think Meredith's advice, as usual, is spot-on. But I would also ask whether or not your desire to stay with your wife is more based on complacency and your family than the relationship itself. That's what it was for my dad, when my mom was unhappy. And to be honest, that's not always enough to save a marriage.

    Posted by sabend August 3, 09 10:39 AM
  1. Sadly, I've been in this man's shoes, myself.
    I had suspicions about an affair going on behind my back but didn't pry or spy. When my late ex's mother told me that her son had brought his new girlfriend over to meet her- and that it was serious- I had to confront him. Really wish I could have kept my head buried in the sand.

    We had two kids, a marriage that we had worked on, previously, with a counselor and a lovely home. I worked an outside job, he worked one and I also worked for his side business. All that went south when he resisted my suggestion that we re-commit to each other, the family and the marriage.

    He immediately moved in with his new woman, abandoning all of us in the process. It was hell. After the divorce we managed to be "friends" for several years, but then his lady ditched him for his best friend (another married man with two kids) and he wanted to get back with me. Couldn't go there. He became enraged and vengeful.

    In the end, he launched a custody battle that destroyed my family, I lost the home and he finally died last year. The lingering pain and horror haunts me and my kids to this day.

    If you can't persuade your wife to give this guy up at least prepare yourself and your family for some heavy legal warfare. He will dump her. I'm certain of it, but only after she has dumped you and gone for the "gold". This story is very common, unfortunately. It is like a sport to some folks, nowadays. When the scorched earth bears no more victory, they move on and do it again, elsewhere, to somebody else's family. She will end up alone, bitter and angry with YOU.

    Posted by Mari McAvenia August 3, 09 10:39 AM
  1. When someones needs are not being fulfilled in a relationship, it is not at all uncommon to foolishly start getting those needs fulfilled elsewhere. This is all to often the case over the course of a long relationship.
    In the beginning we are generally very focused and attentative to meeting our mate's needs, but through the course of careers, kids, and the general ups and downs of relationships we can lose track of what it was that kept that spark bright.

    I would STRONGLY recommend you AND your wife reading THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES - as a start. Then go from there. It is a relationship saver!

    If your wife is unwilling to participate with you, which it sounds like that is the case, do yourself a favor and read it anyway!

    Best of luck to you!


    Posted by EastCoastGirl August 3, 09 10:39 AM
  1. I tell you this breaks my heart. Serious terrible feeling in my stomach.

    This woman is CHEATING on you. No matter if it was physical or not, emotional cheating is the WORST! Sadly her new found interest in health and fitness probably hasn't anyhting to do with feeling good about herself in regards self improvment but that she is shaping up for her lover so she can feel sexy in another man's arms!! Oh my it frustrates me.

    I understand that a family is involved, but regardless of that the feelings of betrayal and loss of trust, constant questions about fidelity, and then on top of all of that her out right acknowledgment of the relationship with another man and the refusal to end the adulterous affair!!! I know the waning of passion and love happens, or atleast becomes just in the background when families grow.......heck when just normal everyday life gets involved, but love is still there, the sense of security and comfort can still be there. She does not love you anymore, even if she protests that she does. If she did still love you then she would be in shock and awe at her own actions and be trying everyhting in her power to mend her infidelity. Not defending it and making it OK in some way something that she needs. I mean really?!?! She needs and affair with soem other man?!?!

    If we reversed these roles do you think she would put up for it? Do you think she woudl not be securing a lawyer and taking every last thing you hold dear? Confront her, with options not ultimatums. .........She can continue on this path and lose her family and everyhtign that goes with it, or she can end this and work with you and the kids to keep this life you have worked for together (and I say the kids becasue she needs to take stock of the things that make her happy and content in life and give her reason to be in the family); that's it those are the options and if she refuses then what options do you have, for you and your kids (who yes probably already knwo something about it all, maybe not all of it but soemthing)....COMPLETLY heartbreaking and crushing and horrible for you and your family but possibly a course that has to be taken.


    Posted by KMH August 3, 09 10:41 AM
  1. Here's some advice coming from the other side: I am your situation except I'm the one having the affair (and I'm the woman). My husband has no idea. I am madly in love with the man I'm having the affair with. When I'm with my husband I'm thinking of my "boyfriend". I have wasted COUNTLESS hours thinking of my boyfriend, emailing him, visiting him, all when I could've been spending quality time with my husband. When I dress up, I'm dressing up for my boyfriend. When I fantasize, it's about my BF, not my husband. So as you can see, this is a kinda all-encompassing thing for me. It's been going on for over a year.

    I don't know if you should give her the ultimatum "him or me!" yet. I'm afraid she'll say to you "HIM!!!" if you push it right now. If my husband pressed me, that's what I'd say, because I'm very caught up in it all. If she's like me, she probably feels she's in love with him and that she needs him more than you right now.

    The readers are right though, if she keeps carrying on with him, she's not 100% focused on you. But she might need a little time to let her fantasy end and come back to reality. It might be a start if the door can open a crack and if she can seriously consider perhaps re-building her future with you. It's not gonna happen overnight though. She's gonna be thinking "Why should I give up this exciting, passionate relationship to go back to my emotionally barren existence with my husband?" Try to help her remember the reasons you two married in the first place.

    KEEP TALKING to her about it, COMMUNICATE, as much as possible. I also strongly encourage therapy for the both of you so keep trying to get her to go. I'd LOVE to talk to my husband about my affair (sounds strange) but in a way I wish I could tell him all the things I felt went wrong between us, all the missed opportunities for communication and closeness. (I'm not excusing my behavior because I know it's wrong, but I"m doing it anyway.)

    In a way, you and her are lucky because you know about the affair and are willing to work on the marriage, from the ground up. Hopefully you can clear up the lies, and get to the underying reason of what caused the affair. You really might be able to work through this, but she's not ready to let this guy go yet and she might never be.



    Posted by InOverMyHead August 3, 09 10:42 AM
  1. First, your wife has already checked out of the relationship. Sorry to say that, but it seems to be the fact. Second, feel free to be angry and upset with her for cheating on you-- emotionally, physically, whatever, but she's cheating on you.

    Third, get copies of those text messages. You'll need them if this relationship lurches into divorce. Understand that even when the woman is clearly the primary transgressor, divorce laws in Massachusetts are not at all favorable to men. You need all the ammunition you can get. Keep that ammo dry, tell her it's either the hockey coach or you, and then prepare for battle if she refuses to stop seeing him.

    Posted by Joey August 3, 09 10:42 AM
  1. CAI, I have been there. I knew there were problems in my 18 year marriage, but never conceived of my now-ex wife violating the privacy of the marriage and the exclusiveness of the emotional relationship.

    It took me eight months of riding the roller-coaster, telling myself to believe her when she said I was blowing matters out of proportion and then being confronted with more reasons to suspect before it finally became too much. During that time the suspicion I found myself feeling, the urge to Google search for her records online, and the pain of what I often found was terrible and made me feel like I had become a different person. Through that whole time we were in marriage counseling & the counselor gave similar advice to Meredith's. I finally gave an ultimatum -- demanding honesty and an effort to repair the relationship -- and that was the end.

    My counselor recommended the book "After the Affair" by Spring & Spring. My ex would never read it because she denied what she was doing was an affair. I found and will heartily recommend "Not 'Just Friends'" by Glass. Whether or not your marriage is salvageable, you are and the thoughts in these books, along with good counseling, are meaningful. You're already in a better place than most -- you're aware that you played a part in the relationship reaching the point it did.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Didn'tWantTheTShirt August 3, 09 10:43 AM
  1. Emotional affairs are still affairs, and if she doesn't want to give up the coach and go to counseling, break it off.

    Get a good lawyer and make the split.

    Posted by mz August 3, 09 10:43 AM
  1. CAI, like everyone else, I feel for you. Your letter was very honest about your own failings and your very sincere feelings for your wife. None of us are perfect, and when we commit to a marriage, we commit to always striving to be a better person for the other.
    My husband's parents are in the same predicament right now. His mom has a younger boyfriend and has pretty much shut out my husband and his younger sister. His father, who for years worked too many weird swing shift hours and never made enough time for his wife or his family, desperately wants to work things out. The only honest and good thing my mother in law has done is that she said no, I'm not giving up the boy-toy and I'm not working this out. They got divorced last Tuesday.
    Your wife needs to stop trying to balance on the fence and make a decision. Either she is in, which means no hangers-on, or she is out - in which case she needs to work with you, in an adult and responsble fashion, to begin to separate your lives in a way that is considerate of your children. In either case, the mature thing to do is to put the relationship with Hockey Dad (btw, EWW, your poor son) aside for now and focus on transitioning your family. She will have plenty of long, dark days in the future to date other men. Winning the forgiveness of your children for something like this is much, much harder.
    For your sake and that of your children, do not let this situation to drag along. Act decisively to protect you and them from further harm.

    Posted by Q97 August 3, 09 10:44 AM
  1. CAI, It is always difficult to judge a situation when you only hear one side, but everyone is right-on here. Your wife doesn't need to sleep with this guy in order for her to betray your marriage. She has already removed a piece of herself from the marriage in order to have this emotional affair. It definitely needs to end, which will be really really difficult for her. I would guess that after 21 years of marriage, the kind of attention that she is getting and the feelings that go along with it are like crack to her. It probably feels as though she would rather die than give it up - this is NO reflection on you or your relationship - it is just the kind of infatuation that goes with this kind of illicit affair - human emotions can unfortunately be weak and predictable. But talk to your wife. Try to talk her down from this cliff she is about to jump off. There is a big difference between being in a stable loving relationship and getting lots of romantic attention and going through a messy divorce, losing the pieces of yourself that were tied up in your marriage, and trying to turn your affair into a truly fulfilling relationship. Your relationship with her has passed the test of time. I would bet that this emotional affair has shown her some of the underlying problems because she is now looking for them. Remind her to look at the good parts too. Ask her to help you strengthen the good parts and prune out the weak points. Divorce is hard on everyone. Everyone will be much better off with this hockey coach out of the picture completely. It absolutely must happen so she has 100% of herself to give to your marriage. Finally, you need to let yourself feel hurt and betrayed - it is only natural - give yourself time and space to just feel those emotions away from your wife and the children and find ways to channel that energy productively (maybe through exercise). The point is that you are going to need to devote some of your time to taking care of yourself through this experience and that is okay. If you put all of your energy into your wife and your marriage right away, you will not have the patience or the peace of mind to handle the stress. Good luck. I really hope that it works out.

    Posted by hopeful August 3, 09 10:49 AM
  1. CAI, I know what you going through right now, I have been in same situation a year ago. (My husband and his colleague). Usually this kind of relationship goes for about 2 years. If you love your wife, be passion, try to talk to her, tell about your feelings,.....It's hard, painful, sad, ...... but try it. Good luck! I hope, one day she will realize how lucky she is to have you.

    Posted by A August 3, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Sounds to me like she doesn't deserve you.

    Posted by Lizziex1980 August 3, 09 10:55 AM
  1. I can't comment on this until the letter writer states what is behind:

    "committed to change my behavior to ensure that there was no doubt about how special and important she is to my existence"

    Please tell us. Sometimes a woman gets pushed too far. What have YOU done that you need to change YOURSELF to make her feel special and important?

    Posted by citykitty617 August 3, 09 10:55 AM
  1. I've been in your wife's position, and while the other relationship was a symptom, it was also making the problem much, much worse. I truly wish I had nipped it in the bud, before it became physical. I was in denial about a lot of things, including how cruel I was being to my spouse, and I regret it to this day. I ended up losing my spouse and my lover.

    There's a book, "After the Affair" (Janis Abrams Spring), that might help you and your wife sort things out. It helped me and my partner understand each other, and helped us avoid a lot of potentially damaging anger and resentment. "Affair" in this book covers a broad range, including non-physical, emotional attachments outside a marriage.

    She needs to end the thing with the coach, without a doubt. You both need counseling, and if even she won't go, you need to go.

    My heart goes out to you.

    Posted by Been there August 3, 09 10:55 AM
  1. This guy byubba sounds like a total loser. Who would want to add to their carbon footprint or hit a biker with the car door on purpose? I give credit to the bike commuters and those trying to reduce their use of fuel. The PMC was this weekend, lets all say thank you and get rid of jerks like this byubba. angry people like that should be confined. That is just totally uncalled for. If you don't like what someone has to say there is no need to act like an ignorant child. Ignore the people you don't like and move on since none of us really give a $*@( what you think. you need therapy. if I was riding and you pulled that on me you'd find yourself looking up at a very large man with a fist about to shut your lights out. Do me and the rest of the readers a favor and just try it and see hwo quick you get your a$$ beaten.

    Posted by Wish I didn't need to own a car August 3, 09 10:59 AM
  1. Some of these questions baffle me. Not be be trite, but why does a "man" need to write a stranger in a newspaper to ask if he's "out of line" to politely ask his wife to please stop cheating for a little while while they pretend to work on the marriage? Honestly, it sounds like the writer is so needy and emotionally weak that he will take any amount of abuse for any amount of time, so he can stay with this woman who doesn't love him.
    1. Cheating. 2. Refuses to stop cheating because of the "pain" (OMG). 3. Refuses counseling. 4. Clearly blames the husband because she knows he's such a doormat he'll take it.
    Game over.

    Posted by SoxFanInIL August 3, 09 11:08 AM
  1. For the sake of spelling it out for Kathleen and others:

    LW's wife is putting on the blame on him by insisting that she should be able to continue the relationship with the hockey coach AND by refusing counseling. By doing so, she has taken ZERO responsibility for the past, present, and future of their marriage. She's basically saying: "You drove me to seek attention elsewhere. I did nothing wrong and I should still be able to flirt and more with our son's coach. It will be too painful for me to stop having Mr. Offsides in my life. I do not need to attend counseling. I will not go."

    Get it?

    Posted by Hoss August 3, 09 11:17 AM
  1. First of all, she's wronged you. That said, it's clear you still want her -- which is the only issue worth considering. But, you've got to toughen up. You're acting like an emotionally dependent, insecure boy. Women are attracted to men, not boys. Women have nothing but contempt for emotionally dependent males. Women respond to strength, not gentleness and ass kissing. Tell her in no uncertain terms, "You belong to me. Tell this guy to get lost. If he doesn't get lost, I'm going to take matters into my own hands and it won't be pleasant." Too strong? B.S. That's what she wants to hear. You've described her as independent. She calls the shots, no? You've got to call the shots -- which is what she wants, despite whatever she says. Ignore the rest of the advice you've read here. It's all nonsense.

    Posted by Ronin555 August 3, 09 11:19 AM
  1. I hate to say this, but I will because I've been in your shoes. It's over already. By saying she won't stop with the coach, she is telling you she is only there because of the kids and she is going to treat you like crap until you finally leave. Call a lawyer now. You have to be proactive and plan for a future without her as your wife. Even if you are able to maintain a good relationship with the kids post-breakup, child support for 5 children will bury you. Good luck to you. None of this is going to be easy, but you have to face the facts, as hard as that is. I went through hell because I wouldn't.

    Posted by JK August 3, 09 11:22 AM
  1. I am sorry to say this, but let her go - she is already gone. If the love was still there, it would take no thought process on her part. That is why she does not want counseling - she has made up her mind. They say the first year of a relationship, especially a secret relationship, is always the greatest, and that is what she is experiencing. Nothing you do or say will change her heart. You need to think about yourself and go find a way to be happy. She is not coming back, ultimatum or not. Her mind is already made up.

    Posted by B August 3, 09 11:23 AM
  1. "Overall, I feel that we have built a solid foundation to our lives -- 5 great kids, wonderful extended family, great home, and general economic prosperity due to really hard work over the 21 years that we have been together. "

    I disagree with this statement. The solid foundation of all of this is trust and she broke it. She is acting like a self-centered child. She didnt get the attention she needed from you and instead of trying to work on it by asking for what she needs, like an adult, she acted like a child and went out and demonstrated on someone else what she was lacking. I would bet she wants to continue to cling to the coach until she is sure that you are willing to fill that void, but it doesnt work that way.

    Therapy is the first step because then she will have to address the ongoing relationship with the coach and whether or not its helpful in repairing your marriage (it isnt) but at least you are in a controlled environment with a professional. If she refuses to get into therapy to sort this out, then it will be a really tough road ahead. For me, refusal of therapy/help would signal that you are wasting your time and you should move on since you already have 5 children to care for and you proabably dont need a 6th..


    Posted by Anonymous August 3, 09 11:24 AM
  1. CAI, I feel for you and hope I am never in your situation. I would like to have a long conversation with you and learn how I might avoid it in my life and marriage moving forward. But I would like to have a nice quick cold painful conversation with the hockey coach even more. Not much of a person there, certainly not a man.

    My greatest concern would be for the children and how you move them forward. I would hope that you would work on a plan for them to succeed b/c this will be difficult, especially on your son, the hockey player. Maybe move to a new town so he could benefit from a whole new set of coaches, still will be tough catching on with a new team and group of children.

    Last, and most important. Why do you have to wait for her to make a decision for you???? Please show your strength and make the decision for your family, I.E. your children. They will need the strong example, and they are not getting it from the female person failing to be a mom!!

    Best of luck - all my sympathies!!!

    Posted by BlameMe August 3, 09 11:25 AM
  1. "Overall, I feel that we have built a solid foundation to our lives -- 5 great kids, wonderful extended family, great home, and general economic prosperity due to really hard work over the 21 years that we have been together. "

    I disagree with this statement. The solid foundation of all of this is trust and she broke it. She is acting like a self-centered child. She didnt get the attention she needed from you and instead of trying to work on it by asking for what she needs, like an adult, she acted like a child and went out and demonstrated on someone else what she was lacking. I would bet she wants to continue to cling to the coach until she is sure that you are willing to fill that void, but it doesnt work that way.

    Therapy is the first step because then she will have to address the ongoing relationship with the coach and whether or not its helpful in repairing your marriage. It isnt, but at least you are in a controlled environment with a professional. If she refuses to get into therapy to sort this out, then it will be a really tough road ahead. For me, refusal of therapy/help would signal that you are wasting your time and you should move on since you already have 5 children to care for and you proabably dont need a 6th..


    Posted by sexual chocolate August 3, 09 11:26 AM
  1. Pursuant to your communication referring to the aforementioned "she", and inference of your spousal partner's alleged affair, I will respectfully attempt to understand that to which you allude (If you speak like this in real-life, no wonder she prefers to be around others who can get simple messages across, like a hockey coach. Just say it! You think she's having an affair, it hurts, the future looks bleak, it hurts, and you want to work on staying together, it hurts. I've condensed three excruciatingly long paragraphs into one sentence).

    People grow apart, and that takes two. There is too much missing to understand what is really happening and allow for provision of any sort of usable advice.

    She says she wants to work on it and is not having a physical affair. You can disbelieve her, continue to be accusatory and intrusive, issue ultimatums, and lose your marriage. Or, take the risk, and work on it by acting like a partner who respects his partner instead of being a knee-jerk neanderthal. Know why? Women don't have to do what a man says. She actually gets to live her own life and make her own choices whether it's to be with the hockey coach or her decision to end the marriage without a liner-upper. This is a defining moment in your marriage--be part of it or you'll be out of it.

    Posted by yupokay August 3, 09 11:27 AM
  1. Same thing happened to me, my wife at the time said "we're just friends", and guess what happened after I moved out, "bingo" he moved in. My advice, tell her to hit the road and fast.

    Posted by Eddie August 3, 09 11:27 AM
  1. I hope it works out for you, BUT just in case start preparing:

    1. Do not abandon the homestead - she'll get everything if you do.
    2. Consult many divorce attorneys, and choose the best of the best. If you have already consulted w/ them she will not be able to use them herself.

    Sorry to recommend such dirty tactics, but the laws in MA are terribly unfair to men. Brace yourself for a bumpy and $$$ ride.

    Good luck!

    Posted by RealityChic August 3, 09 11:30 AM
  1. This is very much like a situation I went through. In fact, ask Meredith for my email address if you need to commiserate more. My gut feeling is that you should separate. She is really not committed to fixing your relationship. Not agreeing to counseling and not ending the relationship without hesitation each say that. I think she is trying to goad you into pulling the trigger on a separation. She wants to be with this other man, but lacks the strength to say so. She is probably wondering exactly what she has to do to get you to leave her. I commend your desire to stay together, especially with five children, but at some point you have to stand up for yourself, or else what kind of a relationship would you even have afterward? You can't be her doormat. If you want her back, you have to first stand up for yourself, and then ride out the period in which she comes to her senses and realizes she has made bad mistakes. I recommend a book called 'Uncoupling' (look on amazon) which explores the psychology of both those ending long-term relationships and those on the receiving end. Your wife is engaging in classic "initiator" behavior and you may feel a lot better (and less confused) for reading it.

    Posted by JC August 3, 09 11:31 AM
  1. CAI, I feel for you and hope I am never in your situation. I would like to have a long conversation with you and learn how I might avoid it in my life and marriage moving forward. But I would like to have a nice quick cold painful conversation with the hockey coach even more. Not much of a person there, certainly not a man.

    My greatest concern would be for the children and how you move them forward. I would hope that you would work on a plan for them to succeed b/c this will be difficult, especially on your son, the hockey player. Maybe move to a new town so he could benefit from a whole new set of coaches, still will be tough catching on with a new team and group of children.

    Last, and most important. Why do you have to wait for her to make a decision for you???? Please show your strength and make the decision for your family, I.E. your children. They will need the strong example, and they are not getting it from the female person failing to be a mom!!

    Best of luck - all my sympathies!!!

    Posted by BlameMe August 3, 09 11:33 AM
  1. Wow, I'm sorry, CAI. This is just a horrible situation.

    InOverMyHead, as weird as her post was, made a good point when she said to try to remind your wife why you married in the first place. Take her to a restaurant you haven't gone to in years that you both used to love. Frame some pictures from early on in your relationship, or better yet, make her a photobook at any photo site that runs through your entire relationship, especially adding pictures from before you were married and the early years of your marriage to remind her of the good times. Don't forget to add in romantic pictures of the two of you from the past 5 years or so though (if you have any), to make her see that you still can be in the loving relationship you once were. Take her to a new run of a play or musical you took her too 20 years ago, and maybe go to the same place you went for dinner that night, too. Cook her her favorite meal. Did you go to college together? If so, go for a walk of the campus to see how much has changed. Go for a drive in the neighborhood that you two had your first apartment or house in. Send her her favorite flowers to her work or bring them home with you if she stays at home.

    You get the point. She seems to have lost sight of what you and her are and have, and maybe this added effort and reminiscing might bring her back down to earth and start some conversations about how you can improve your relationship. And above all, if you really want this to work don't get sick of these efforts. It sounds like it might be one sided for a while, but persevere and the reward of a rekindled relationship will be worth it all. Best of luck to you.

    Posted by laurahere August 3, 09 11:36 AM
  1. An additional comment. I agree with everyone saying "end it." But you should not necessarily rush to get a lawyer. Divorces don't have to be contested with attorneys. You could get a mediator and mostly work things out on your own (depending on how cooperative she is, and she may be very cooperative if it means she can be with hockey coach). This relationship is probably over, but that doesn't mean that you have to go to war. The best outcome for everyone is one where you resolve all the child-related and financial issues, but still preserve some money (mediation is MUCH cheaper) and do not completely destroy your relationship and ability to be a co-parent.

    Posted by JC August 3, 09 11:44 AM
  1. This is one of those occasions where I don't need to bother reading what anyone else wrote because I have been there. Almost to a t. Except I was not the author but rather the wife. All I can say is the Meredith is spot-on. She completely, 100% nailed it. I almost don't need to say anything else. But let me just add that if your wife truly does love you, is committed to rekindling the passion (and let's be clear, that is precisely what she's been chasing), and doesn't want to give up on her marriage yet without giving it an honest effort, then you two can make it work. But you will need to put in as much work as she will. She will, as Meredith said, be going through a real break-up, as tough a pill as that is to swallow, and you will need to be there for her. As crazy as that sounds. She'll be heartbroken for while. But stick with her--and at the same time be firm and stand your ground. She must understand she is the one in the wrong--the serious wrong. Best of luck to you both. And go to counseling!!

    Posted by beentheredonethat August 3, 09 11:46 AM
  1. Ouch. As you know, the answer is obvious, and others have already covered it so well. We all know that your relationship can't be fixed if she's having an affair (emotional or physical). If she's not willing to end the affair, there's not a heck of lot you can do to force her. Your choices are

    - ultimatum: As Meredith points out it's not so much an ultimatum as a fact - you two can't fix this with her relationship going with this guy. Right now, your wife actually knows this, but she's in denial. You can point this all out to her again, and hope the reality actually sinks in. She's wants it all (her lover and you), and she's being selfish. She thinks that somehow she can keep it all, and you need to let her know that she's wrong. Lay out the facts, and help her come to the conclusion that there's no way that's going to work.

    - wait it out. The affair could fizzle out on it's own. When it does you will still be around for her, and in the meantime you'll be keeping it together for the kids. You'll be absolutely miserable, though, and there's no guarantee she'll eventually come around. (You could end up having an affair of your own to help you through it).

    - Leave now. It may already be hopeless.

    Everyone seems to advocate the first option, and I agree. The reality is, though, you started to try this, and she got defensive. I wish I could suggest a surefire way to bring her around. You need to let her know that you are serious. If she can't leave this guy, your relationship will be over - that's not your choice, it's a fact. You can give her some time to make a decision, but make sure that she working on making one, and not just holding on to her buddy a little longer because she can.

    I think you are eventually going to need counseling. Go on your own, at first, if you have to. I understand that she may not be willing to go, but I don't think you'll be able to do it on your own. Part of the reason she wants to avoid counseling is that she knows she's been bad, and she doesn't want someone who is supposedly impartial to point this out to her. (Back to the fact that she is in denial). Hopefully, she'll manage to let go of her affair, and then she'll be able to truly work together with you on repairing your relationship.

    Posted by two sheds August 3, 09 11:47 AM
  1. Oh my, Cold as Ice is your signature. You are quite hurt.

    I hope it does give you some consolation to know, no, your situation is not at all unique. Though I am very sorry for your having to experience this. I would not go so far as to say "love erodes", I think rather, it gets lost, or forgotton. It's still there, but other things get in the way if we let them. I appologize in advance for the length responding to such topics require.


    The true danger of affairs, particularly for women, is that they fall in love. You have handled this beautifully, maturely, but a human can only stand so much pain. You must talk to her again, and tell her keeping the man, and keeping you, are not an option. She is acting like a women in love, and it is too painful to remain in a marriage where you spouce loves someone else actively. I say the word actively, because spouses do sometimes fall in love with others, but to keep the marriage, you must give up the other. You cannot control an occassional email, once a year, but to be speaking in one form or another every day is having that person play an active role in her life and that is not reasonable.

    "No, you cannot have him and me. I can't do it. It is not within my power to spend my life continuously wondering if my wife is in love with me. If you do not love me, let me go." This is just fact. Any other name is superfulous.

    One question - are the children still young? Are they home?

    Women are niave, married women, often, when they have affairs that part of their attraction is for them, fresh chemical love drive that is the first intoxicating stage of love. For men, that IS the appeal. After it fades, the affair is over. For women, sometimes, they start to drift into the next phase of a 'comfortable committed love', without realizing that the men they are having their affairs with did so because married women are supposed to be 'safe'. Married women can't possibly want any commitment from them, they're already married with children, right?

    It is quite possible that she tells this hockey coach that you and she are splitting, that he will run like the devil and she will be quite alone with all the children and in most cases, in dire financial straights and loss of your companionship.

    She needs to give herself to this marriage. If she does not, it wont work. And ask her to think about that. Think about breaking up, selling the house, telling the children, who WILL find out why it broke up, and what will her 'love' do? Stand by her, come help her with her FIVE children? Oh I will go out on a limb and say, absolutely not on that one. She will be quite alone, with the burden of knowing she has imploded the world of seven people.

    Is she so sure can she live without you? Or is she simply taking for granted your generous nature will always be there. Too often women walk down this road, and not until it is far too late, and the husband much too bitter and hurt to return do they ask themselves "what have I done?" Though highly honorable and abundantly beneficial to the children, there is an extrodinary amount of dissatisfaction that comes with giving yourself to child raising, but she may want to think long and hard if she wants change, perhaps she should go back to school, start a second career....she needs to wake up as well. If she were working toward a degree and a career, would she 'need' this soccer coach?

    There is a delicate balance with not overreacting to an affair, and being a doormat. You cannot be a doormat. You have five pairs of eyes watching you. If they watch you both heal this, it will be an invaluable lesson. If they watch you horribly disrespected, and your wife's unchallenged indulgences, it will traumatize their view of marriage and future relationships as well.

    I am glad this is a wake up call to you. If she is to choose you, she needs you as a friend which is why most marriage fall into affairs, the friendship, the caring, gets lost. Your desire to be her friend feels real, geniune, and something it may be quite foolish for her to throw away. You need a respectful friend as well. I hope she can still be that person for you.

    Good luck to you, my good man. I will say a prayer for you and your children.

    Posted by A few grey hairs and getting older August 3, 09 11:58 AM
  1. Ok, here goes:

    LW needs to calm down. You're hurt. We get it. Don't make it worse. Commentors need to stop giving the advice that they think people want them to say. This is an internet column for a reason: straight-forward advice asked for and expected. It makes me nauseous to read 88 variations of "Give her an ultimatum / get a lawyer".

    My advice: You have 5 kids, a career, and a comfortable lifestyle. Your marriage has slipped over the years for reasons that you played a part in (you all but admitted that you haven't given her attention and made her feed *special*). Hockey Guy is filling that bill and getting her off your back. Call her bluff. You don't need counseling either. You're fine with her keeping contact with Hockey Guy. Enjoy your life. Enjoy your kids. Be a good Dad. Get yourself a comparable friend (as someone else suggested "Cheerleader Coach Gal") and keep on keepin' on.

    Posted by Hadie Nuff August 3, 09 12:26 PM
  1. CAI - I am the wife of someone who had a sex-only affiar for three years. He was able to cut it off with her (them, actually) cold-turkey. I thought I fell in love with someone else, and the emotional affair turned physical. Although my affair was much briefer than his, the emotional aspect of it was probably more damaging.

    Your wife thinks she's in love with someone else. She's not. She's addicted to the chemistry, the newness. It's like a drug - you feel like you're alive again (which is perhaps the first sign that you have that something in you seemingly died). You feel like the other person is your soul mate, he gets you, you click, you're so right for each other. The sex is great. Every conversation is great. Every look, touch, communication is heightened. It's intoxicating - because it's all forbidden and fake. It's hard to give that up. But she must. Relationships with affair partners rarely work out - anyone with half a brain knows that. She wants to be, what is termed in affair-land, a "cake eater" (have her cake and eat it to). She can't - she's just putting off reality as long as you'll tolerate it.

    Meredith's advice is dead-on. Know that when you let her know that she can't have you both, she'll resent you, and mourn the loss of this fantasy relationship. Do you have the stomach to stand by and watch her mourn the loss of the other relationship? Can you give her time and space to clear her head and come around? There are a few good resource that helped my husband and me - the marriagebuilders web site, the book "After the Affair," and the book "Too Good to Leave, too Bad to Stay." Counselling was somewhat helpful but we never really found someone good who we stuck with.

    If you want some insight into how your wife and others in her shoes see things, go to ivillage.com and check out its affair support messageboard. It's embarrassing and almost comical how cliche everyone is when they are in an affair - lots of junior-high emotions, ridiculous justifications, etc.

    Good luck to you.

    Posted by Been there, done that August 3, 09 12:34 PM
  1. You need to take care of yourself and your kids by giving your wife an ultimatum. Either completely stop her contact with the Hockey Puck and enter marriage counseling with you, or you have a shark of a divorce lawyer on speed dial.

    But my question to you is this? Why would you want to mend a relationship with a woman who is selfish, emotionally unavailable, a liar and a cheat? I know you have 5 kids, but what kind of example is your wife setting as a role model of a positive wife and mother? Go to individual counseling to figure this part out for yourself if she refuses marriage counseling.
    I wish you the best for you and your kids.

    Posted by exvermonter August 3, 09 12:39 PM
  1. your wife has some guts! on top of the fact that she's disgusting she wants to reconcile with you but "she indicated it would be too painful for her to stop the interactions" WOW! The nerve of this lady!
    Please, Go to the gym, take care of yourself, take some time to reflect, have fun with a friend. Do something wild and crazy to get this selfish person off your mind.
    Once you are satisfied with your renewal, consider giving her that ultimatum.
    You or him. THAT"S IT.
    Your heart is in the right place it would be a waste if she didnt apply all her energy and love to you.

    Posted by korriv August 3, 09 12:41 PM
  1. A couple of comments to other advice-givers, here:
    To "In Over My Head", I don't see either your marriage or your affair surviving. You've been fanning the flames of an illicit affair for over a year, habitually lying to your spouse and yourself . Dishonest behavior only begets more dishonesty. No doubt that you "want your cake and want to eat it, too", but you will probably lose everything when the truth comes out. And, it will. That's a promise.

    To the men who claim that Massachusetts is biased towards mothers in Family Court: That's hogwash. Not even close to reality. This propaganda only makes men more willing to launch pre-emptive strikes against women when they decide to go to war.

    Look at the facts. Men get custody as often as women do, these days. Women must split their mutual assets and pay their ex-husbands after a divorce. The old days when a mother ALWAYS got custody are long gone. There is no such thing as "alimony" in this Commonwealth anymore. It's a judicial design that fosters the mutually assured destruction of both parties, equally. The kids ALWAYS suffer the most, though.

    Do some research, people. It's not the 20th century anymore.

    Posted by Mari McAvenia August 3, 09 12:47 PM
  1. Inadvertently, Mere has brought to us the difference between Quakers and Shakers. First of all, in the Shaker Manifesto, the color Purple is not permissible because it evokes an overwhelmingly sexual response. Which brings us to the crux of the divergence: Quakers shake and Shakers fake. In other words, Quakers reproduce, while Shakers practice abstinence. Conversion must be the only way: Well, that and spontaneous generation. I would expect recruitment to be as difficult as, oh say, calling for the celibacy of male clergy. I didn’t need to major in Biology at ole VC to know that Shakers are a dying breed. If you could just put a purple dress on one of the remaining few…Now that’s a Genesis I could get excited about.

    As far as the Hockey Who-ah is concerned, I’d be interested to know if the transgressions of our LW went beyond emotional negligence. I also wonder if he’ll have any dignity left when Lorena Bobbit is finished with him. Here’s the problem: Knowing that their affair has been found out, Don Cherry, over there, needs to take a step back and let Jillian Michaels allow the sex change to take place. In the meantime: TWO MINUTES for HIGH SHTUPPING!!!

    Posted by valentino August 3, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Love the people on here claiming dirty tactics are okay because divorce laws are skewed to women. Gee, ever think that your willingness to resort to dirty tactics is what bit you, not the laws? That maybe the "win at all costs" attitude showed through *just* a little bit? And the guy claiming the laws are so messed up he had to give up all his assets to get 50/50 custody -- dude, you said to "make her agree" you had to do that. Guess what -- you could've gone to trial and argued your point without giving anything up.

    LW, don't make decisions based on posters' anger. If you proceed as if you are in a pitched battle, you will be in one. That is not rocket science.

    If you want to save your marriage you have to act as if you are still in one, which means treat her and your relationship with respect. If you want to end it because she is being unfaithful, then end it. Some of the people on here seem "ethically challenged" to me. Do what your conscience tells you is right, listen to your own gut, don't let your wife guilt you out of what you know is right, and don't let posters here convince you to be the sleaze.

    Posted by jlen August 3, 09 01:10 PM
  1. Spelling it out for Hoss:

    The LW did NOT say his wife said she didn't want to go to counseling he said.... "she is too stubborn and independent to accompany me to counseling." Do you know if he even asked her? Wouldn't he have said "She said No to counseling"? Or is he just assuming she wouldn't? You don't know the entire situation, you only know CAI's telling of what his wife did wrong! 2 sides to every story... and the LW is being purposely vague about what he has done...

    I will repeat, I NEVER said what she did/is doing is right... but she may have just had enough. She could have been trying to fix their relationship for years and now it is too late, you have no idea what they have been through. Again, it all comes down to the fact that there has been no supply of the facts about what got them to this point. I'd think you'd want to hear all the facts before jumping to such harsh conclusions

    Heaven forbid someone disagree with the almighty Hoss!! "Get it?" Really?!? I have liked your opinions in the past, now I think you're a condescending ass. Shame on you for thinking it's okay to talk down to people that way

    Posted by Kathleen August 3, 09 01:13 PM
  1. Public Service Announcement to Commentors: Stop with the book recommendations. Just stop.

    Posted by LWs want real advice not a book club August 3, 09 01:13 PM
  1. "...I expressed my love for her and committed to change my behavior to ensure that there was no doubt about how special and important she is to my existence..."

    What behavior, hmm? Drinking, gambling, drugs?

    No matter though. She's bored of you and likes someone else, because people often want what they can't have. There's a few different solutions to your problem. One of them is NOT "ask her to give him up", because her feelings for the coach are not like a light switch. Like others have suggested, you can just divorce her. However, your letter indicates that you want to save your marriage and that you care about appearances.

    Here are my creative solutions:
    1. Let her get sick of her cake by taking a break from monogamy.
    2. Call her parents or siblings and tell them what she is doing, so hopefully they can shame her back to you.
    3. Visit the coach and have a friendly talk with him.
    4. (If the coach is persistant AND married) chat with his wife.

    You can be creative too, but do not stoop to her level. If divorce becomes inevitable, you will want to look like the perfect husband.

    Posted by Bee August 3, 09 01:14 PM
  1. You have a real All-Star Hockey Game going on in your house. Your wife is looking for an assist from another player, and you're in the attacking zone. This is going to come to a face-off soon, center-ice.

    I say don't be a puck and hang out on the rink after the game is over. You'll be crushed by the Zamboni. Sharpen your skates, put on your wrist guards, and get there and fight! fight! fight!

    Au revoir!

    Posted by Sally August 3, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Here's some real insight in a nutshell: what your wife is doing is daring you to be a man. That either means, she wants you to give her walking papers, or she wants you to make her get rid of him. She has a respect issue with you. One thing for sure, whether this works or not YOU NEED TO HAVE RESPECT FOR YOURSELF.

    F.O. to the people that think you should kiss her butt in order to rekindle the spark. That is so absurd. THe deal is, marraige isn't guaranteed to be a lustfest for your entire life. Don't vows mean anything to people anymore?! Why isn't this broad thinking of the kids?

    Anyway, get pictures and send them to her family and friends. Send them to the league president too, so the a-hole gets fired. Roll witgh the pigs and you get muddy. Time to show her what her disgusting lifestyle has reaped.

    Posted by big hat August 3, 09 01:26 PM
  1. Concur with Hoss.

    Posted by MaryRo August 3, 09 01:38 PM
  1. What a selfish piece of garbage your wife is. She is carrying on an affair? Kick her out of the house when she is not looking. Pack up all her stuff and have the locks changed. She has absolutely no respect for your or your family. The sooner you toughen up and act like a man, the better. You are letting this bitch steamroll you and run the show. If the kids ask what is happening, tell them that Mommy is a dirty whore who can't be trusted.


    Posted by DumpHerNow August 3, 09 01:40 PM
  1. You can check her text messages if you want, she will continue to deceive you. Just like I did to my husband she can just buy a second phone and have the bill sent by email or to a friends house. I have 2 kids and my fat dumb husband thinks I am just not interested in sex. I am very interested in sex, just not with him. I too joined a gym, got my body in shape and started dressing sexy etc...then I found some guys that wanted me and I went out and gave them what they wanted. It was so nice to feel wanted and I still like to get out and feel something new. As long as there are guys like you there will be cheating wives like me :)

    Posted by Cathy at the sportsclub/la August 3, 09 01:41 PM
  1. Kathleen,

    You don't have to "like" me or my opinions, but I will try one more time to enlighten you.

    She is having an affair. He is not. She refuses to stop the relationship with Hockey Guy. She will not accompany LW to counseling.

    Frankly, you can save your theories and b.s. excuses about how LW's wife "tried to fix" things for years until it was too late. Basically, you share the childish attitude that LW's wife took. In my opinion, she cheated. She's to blame. If he was doing things wrong for years, then perhaps she could have...>.....done something, anything, besides getting numb fingers (texting 70 times per day) and other numb body parts with another guy behind her husbands back and as a way of betraying her FIVE children.

    Don' t bother re-reading the letter. Just read this excerpt. It says it all:

    "I have asked her to stop the relationship with the other guy -- I feel it inappropriate but she refuses to do so. Irrespective of the pain it is inflicting on me and the harm that I believe it will inevitably cause to our relationship -- she indicated it would be too painful for her to stop the interactions."

    He played apart in it's downward slide, but ultimately, she is entirely to blame for the application of the toe tag and body bag. The marriage is D-O-N-E. Stop rationalizing or justifying what she did and why. It's irrelevant. You don't bang your kid's coach, get caught, and then refuse to end the relationship. Get it?

    Posted by Hoss August 3, 09 01:43 PM
  1. I was in a similar situation two years ago. My 46 year old wife of 23 years – mother of our two children - had an affair with a 29 year old car parts salesman. After some very difficult times, we are still together and working on our marriage. Here are some things I learned:

    1. Go to counseling with your wife. There is no guarantee counseling will save your marriage. But it will likely fail without it. The goal is better communication. And it will force your wife to speak about her behavior in front of another adult. This alone could be productive. And don’t avoid difficult and painful discussions outside of counseling. Once the anger subsides you can learn a lot about yourself, your wife, and your life during these discussions. Also, when you talk with your wife about this, don’t offer solutions to the problems she identifies. Just listen and let her vent. She is likely not looking for a problem solver, but for some validation and confirmation that she has legitimate concerns that you understand. The solutions come later and slowly.

    2. Urge your wife to see her own counselor. Cheating can be complicated and your wife may never fully understand or explain her motives. But your wife needs to have someone to help her get to the bottom of her feelings, motives, etc. That is not you. Urge her to get counseling. This was key to getting my relationship back on track.

    3. Confront the other guy. Don’t listen to the people who tell you to simply focus on your wife and yourself. This guy is a threat to life as you know it. And he has no problem upending the lives of your kids. It may take your wife a while to figure out she is throwing her life away. So you need to look at the other side of the equati0on and cause him to back off and give your wife space. The day I found out about my wife’s affair I called the other guy and told him to come pick up my wife so they could start their new life together. Of course he didn’t and on some level my wife saw this as a failure on his part. And that was the first step in driving a wedge between them. I’m convinced he finally backed off because he was afraid I would raise the issue with his mother. This allowed my wife to see him for what he is – a spineless 29 year old mommy’s boy incapable of making any sacrifice to maintain the relationship for which my wife was willing to give up everything. Did it get ugly. You bet. Was it worth it. Absolutely.

    4. Be empathetic and drop your own defenses. Your family is in a crisis and you have to step up to be the hero. Don’t let your own ego or sense of betrayal stand in the way of saving your marriage. Suck it up and deal with it later. Right now you have more important work to do – go to counseling and learn how to better communicate with your wife.

    5. Tell as few people as possible as long as you continue to work on the problem. Don’t tell your parents. Don’t tell your mutual friends. Don’t tell your siblings. First, it is none of their business. Second, these people will never forgive your wife and you want things to go smoothly when you and your wife put it back together. Tell your closest male friend and get your own counselor if you have to.

    Posted by GB August 3, 09 01:48 PM
  1. As others have pointed out, I have concerns about your statement: “I expressed my love for her and committed to change my behavior”… I’m wondering what kind of behavior you’re talking about. If you’ve been doing something that’s caused you to be a less than stellar husband, then that probably has something to do with her recent behavior. BUT she should have come to you long before now to let you know of her unhappiness instead of reaching out to someone else. I’m betting that the hockey coach is filling a void for her and that’s what she doesn’t want to let go of – it’s probably not really about him specifically. And as others have said, I highly doubt their relationship is solely emotional. He probably makes her feel beautiful, sexy and the newness of the relationship is probably exciting. These are the things that people tend to forget about as time marches on in a relationship. The two of you cannot work on things with him in the mix and after 21 years of marriage, she owes it to you to work through this. I say you keep pushing for her to end it with him and give your marriage a chance.

    Posted by bumbly-bee August 3, 09 01:50 PM
  1. I agree with Meredith in that it makes sense to not have a 3rd party still on the sidelines if two people are really committed to saving a marriage. I think if she's not sure where the other guy (or you) stands, maybe it makes sense to call it a separation rather than a marriage that is getting worked on. Perhaps that sounds too simplistic, but if she really does have feelings for this other person and isn't sure where the marriage is going, then whether you call it a separation or not, that is what it is. Is it possible for one of you to move out, so the two of you have space to work on your own individual issues?

    It's safe to assume you have your own issues as well since you made a point to say you needed to change behaiors. Curious what behaviors needed changing. Writers tend to give us their own POV (obviously) which means going into great lengths about the other person's faults/mistakes and glossing over (or omitting outright) their own contributing behavior that may have led to communication/relationship breakdowns. Not that contributing behavior excuses people to cheat (whether physically or emotionally), but things usually don't happen in a vacuum either, and the fact that you seemed to need to get committed to showing her how you feel with words and actions, makes me think there were issues going on that BOTH of you didn't address before this revelation. Have the two of you talked about the reasons for her attraction to this other person? Was she not feeling an emotional intimacy with you? If so, why not? That reason (or reasons) and your acknowledgement or understanding may help more than ignoring what lies beneath the surface of her motivation.

    No easy answers, but if you want to salvage your marriage, you need to get to the root of what issues were going on. That she doesn't want to go to counseling is not a good sign. It sounds like she may have made up her mind that this marriage isn't salvageable. I'm sure there's a better reason than her being "stubborn". Did you ask why she doesn't want to go to counseling and she not tell you? Or did you not ask? I get the sense the two of you probably never had great communication skills before (where's "effective communication" when you need it....excuse lame reference to Fri's post). Like it not, some things are just not meant to be and maybe there is a happier life in the future for both of you (whether you stay together or not). Only thing you can do is keep digging down to what the foundation is (or isn't) and see if the two of you have what it takes to get through this.

    Posted by bklynmom August 3, 09 01:51 PM
  1. Look out for "Lifetime alimony". Despite what someone else posted it does still get awarded in this state. The key factor is the length of the marriage. 20 years is the magic number. Depending on your income as compared to hers she could make out like a bandit.
    In the unlikely case that she makes more than you, then you could be awarded alimony.

    Posted by sean August 3, 09 01:51 PM
  1. I am also a woman who has been in this situation ... If you've never been through this...i feel it is very hard for anyone to understand. Like many have said.. I do believe it's not all her doing. In my experience I did not stray from marriage just because I was bored or felt like. There were things missing in my marriage and I tried to work on them for MANY years with him and through therapy. At one point I point blank told him... I am afraid I may cheat on you and I dont want to...so please work on this with me...Well.. he didnt. and down the road I travelled like many...

    I got found out like most people do the most common way these days.. DREADFUL TEXT MESSAGING (technology...I swear it's the cause of sooo many breakups!!) I was given the ultimadum and tried to stay away from my "bad behaviors" which were only a symptom of a larger problem that were really years in making.. BUT I could not.... I fell out of love with him and could not get it back... I tried so hard. We tried to get back together many times. We have child together. I worshipped my husband I thought he was the smartest, the most handsome, and the only one I would ever love.. Never thought this would happed to me or "us."

    Needless to say....I filed for divorce and it was very difficult. Our families and friends were in complete shock and could not accept it .. I felt all alone and guilty. I cried the day we went to finalize it in court. I felt horrible and could not say the word "divorced" BUT 2 1/2yrs later I am okay with it and the decision.. As much as we cared for each other it wasn't going to work... We had an pretty amicable divorce, we remained friends and raise our child as best we can and communicate daily.

    I do think it is most likely over for you...but do try to work on it as hard as you can as long as she is willing to do the work too... But also I agree with DR. K. It can get ugly.. Protect yourself and contact an attorney just to be educated and informed of what may come..

    I do want to same that anyone who says that you invaded your wife's privacy by spying is nuts... If you have nothing to hide then she wouldnt be upset. When I was up to no good, I hid my phone, emails..etc... I am in a new relationship (faithful..engaged) and I dont hide my phone and emails.. so?

    I could go on and on and I think I have.. I do wish you the best and don't give up just yet. But don't be a fool either...

    Posted by Another woman's perspective August 3, 09 01:55 PM
  1. "THE GRASS ISN'T ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE" ! Let her go, she will come crawling back when the excitement of sneaking around wears off. Then tell her, "YOU DONT MISS A GOOD THING, TIL ITS GONE"! and introduce her to your new girlfriend!!! "ONE WOMENS TRASH IS ANOTHER WOMENS TREASURE"!

    Posted by LilShorty98 August 3, 09 02:00 PM
  1. Ok so he does not live in the area? Very 'safe' for her to play with that fire and not get too burned. Huh. Weak. Anyway...
    I'll suggest this.... separate to show her you are really serious. Room to breathe and think. VERY hard...but I think maybe a good idea. Do your best for your children as it will be awful. Seek professional help now...tell her you are going... ask that she come and give her time to come around.
    Action breeds action.
    Think long and hard about what you want and then tell her. Spell it out. Don't demand immediate results, but just lay it on the line. If you feel you did that a few weeks ago still go one more round just so you can be confident you've done what you can.
    I feel like you wrote so much about her ...what about YOU. Help yourself get back on track. Good luck....I know it sucks.

    Posted by pb August 3, 09 02:02 PM
  1. What is this "lifetime alimony" stuff and where can I get some?

    Posted by Sally August 3, 09 02:03 PM
  1. AGAIN, I did not say what she is doing is right. In fact I said it was wrong, not once not twice, but now 3 times! I am not rationalizing for her, I am simply stating there are facts that we do not have...and don't fool yourself...there is a reason for that. You're right it is absolutely her fault at this juncture. She is cheating, there is no excuse, I already said it. But whether we'd like it to or not, the past dictates the present and future. You can try as hard as you want to not let it but it does. Multiple things have caused this to spiral to this point, and no one here has any idea what they are. And despite what you think they ARE important.

    Posted by Kathleen August 3, 09 02:08 PM
  1. You can check her text messages if you want, she will continue to deceive you. Just like I did to my husband she can just buy a second phone and have the bill sent by email or to a friends house. I have 2 kids and my fat dumb husband thinks I am just not interested in sex. I am very interested in sex, just not with him. I too joined a gym, got my body in shape and started dressing sexy etc...then I found some guys that wanted me and I went out and gave them what they wanted. It was so nice to feel wanted and I still like to get out and feel something new. As long as there are guys like you there will be cheating wives like me :)

    Posted by Cathy at the sportsclub/la

    Wow. Doesn't that just say it all. I've had friends that thought of women as just sperm receptacle. I guess they are right, judging by you Cathy.

    Posted by big hat August 3, 09 02:10 PM
  1. GB #108: "The day I found out about my wife’s affair I called the other guy and told him to come pick up my wife so they could start their new life together. Of course he didn’t and on some level my wife saw this as a failure on his part. "

    Wow, awesome and smart. It's not a question of "being a man" it's being a confident, non-doormat human and demanding respect. Male or female, if your mate is cheating on you, get it together and follow GB.

    Posted by Q97 August 3, 09 02:10 PM
  1. "If you have nothing to hide then she wouldnt be upset."

    Human beings are entitled to privacy, and that privacy is not conditional based on what another person wants to know.

    Sometimes honoring privacy means not having confirmation of a breach of fidelity. But the symptoms and problems are there, anyway, so the actual confirmation isn't really needed in order to start working on the real problems.

    Posted by sigh August 3, 09 02:10 PM
  1. My questions is with 5 kids where does she get all of this free time to be a gym bunny and conduct an affair? Who is watching the kids when she is living La Vida Loca? Hoss, I agree with you-Kathleen needs to get her head out of the sand.
    If she was feeling 'emotionally' abandonned then she should have had a conversation with her husband, BEFORE she decided to start trawling her kids' activities for lovers. As a mother that creeps me out on so many levels, I can't even go there. The poor son. Hi I'm Josh and this is my Mom, Mrs. Robinson!
    Kathleen, if things were so bad why didn't she ask for a divorce, demand counseling, ask for a lifeline before carrying on like a trollop? Why have 5 kids? And -nobody spends months at a gym for an extreme makeover when they are *only* sex-ting. She is having a full-blown affair-physical, mental, emotional-the works. I would venture to say this isn't her first affair either. For those that have said they have lived through these situations successfully-the key for all of you was that the spouse gave up their lover. This woman is refusing! Also, don't tell family and friends about her affair. Why not? I bet half the PTA knows what she's up to. Women are perceptive. Have you noticed that Suzy's mother does call for playdates with Emma anymore? Wonder why? Suzy's mother doesn't want Mrs Ice Queen sniffing around her husband. I bet the guys at the hockey rink have the 411 on Ice Queen, too. Too bad the husband was the last to know.

    Posted by Here's to you Mrs. Robinson August 3, 09 02:16 PM
  1. I agree with other commenters and say -- have you actually asked your wife if she's willing to do couples counselling, or are you assuming she's too headstrong to do so?

    I'm also going to go against the grain here and present other options. Because this might not be about the state of your marriage with her. It might actually be about her, and the fact she has spent the last 21 years doing what wives do -- raising your kids, running the household, etc.

    Perhaps she just needs some freedom. Perhaps she's discovered she's not really into monogamy (in which case you need to decide if opening your marriage is something you're willing to consider doing).

    But before you go to a divorce lawyer, before you make any decisions at all, I would recommend finding out *why* this emotional affair with the hockey coach has happened.

    Only then can you decide your next move. Good luck.

    Posted by Sa(h)ra August 3, 09 02:18 PM
  1. Why all or nothing? Why not have a separation and see how that goes? Yes, there are kids and relatives, etc., and they are all going to have opinions and comments, etc. Yes, it's going to be uncomfortable dealing with what others think, however, if you care more about what those parties think than what the two of you need to do to try to stay together, then you may as well call it a day.

    I separated from my spouse for almost a year and went through the discomfort with family and friends, and it saved our marriage (note: I did not have a physical affair with my "crush"). We are back together and both of us have acknowledged and changed some behaviors, and it's much better and there's lots of hope.

    Posted by Just Sayin' August 3, 09 02:24 PM
  1. This is a tough one, and my heart goes out to you. I agree with those who've said that ultimately she is going to have to give up the hockey coach if you have any chance of rebuilding the marriage. But I can also see that she is in the flush of it all right now (it really is like a temporary insanity) and that you may have to give her some time and be patient for awhile until she is willing to do that.

    How long you hang in there is really personal decision and with a long marriage and so much at stake, I would not think less of you at all for being patient and putting up with her shenanigans and staying in this "limbo" space awhile longer. Not endlessly, but only *you* will know when you've reached your personal limit. This does not make you a doormat.

    While you are in this limbo, I strongly encourage you to get counseling for your own self. Work on getting strong enough to stay, or strong enough to leave. Until she is ready to work on the marriage with you - and willing to give up the lover (which is necessary) - then work on yourself.

    Otherwise, I do have a practical suggestion, but it is not for the faint of heart.

    You say you haven't been emotionally close in years. Being emotionally close takes honesty. The fact you haven't been emotionally close, means you haven't been honest with each other, which is why the affair happened. Affairs don't happen in marriages in which both partners can be honest enough to share everything, including admitting to attractions - even when such honesty may hurt the other partner. Being honest to such attractions nips them in the bud.

    To that end, now that the affair is out in the open, you've taken some wind out of its sail. The deception of an affair is what makes it so exciting. Tasting the forbidden fruit. Etc. If you give her an ultimatum and she's not ready for it, and she goes around your back and continues being deceptive, then there will be more wind pumping into the sails.

    So take all the wind out, let the affair continue, but in an environment of 100% honesty. He texts her, you calmly ask what he texted. She shares with you, try to be objective. If it is funny and clever, say so. "I can see how you would find him attractive." "I can see how he seems exciting compared to the routine of marriage." Etc. Make it SAFE for her to be honest with you. Try not to get defensive. (Yes, I did mention this isn't for the faint of heart).

    Ask her about the affair in a nonjudging manner. How did it start? What did she feel? How does he make her feel? Explore it with her in detail and openness - not accusations and judgements - as if you were her confidant and friend, not the one she is cheating on. (I know this sounds weird, and that it sounds hard. This advice is not for everyone).

    Probe her gently to discover the reasons beyond blaming you or your relationship: he made her feel young again. He compliments her. He is exciting and sexy. Let her talk. Listen. Repeat back what she says to you: hearing how she sounds might help jolt her out of it. If you are hurt and jealous, calmly tell her so. "It pains me very much to hear all this, but I can see how the affair must be exciting for you. I know marriage isn't always a bed of roses. I can understand - it just hurts so much. I need a bit of a break, but I don't want you to stop sharing."

    Analyze the affair from a distance with her, like it is a bug under a microscope. She wants to blame you for your failings? Refocus her back on to analyzing the affair. Any talk about what needs fixed in the marriage is off-topic until the affair is over - because any work fixing the marriage is going to be wasted unless you are BOTH working on it together. And at the moment she is awash in shame and guilt, and to assauge those feelings, she's going to justify by blaming you. Don't buy into it. Just table it all, until she is in the head-space to recognize the pain she is causing you, and can admit her own culpability. She's not there yet.

    The more honesty you allow in your relationship - the kind of painful, wrenching to the gut type of honesty that he's not having with her at all (they barely know each other, it's only been two months!! they are still in the fantasy rosy-colored eye stage) - the closer you will become emotionally, and the more and more wind you will take out of the affair.

    Eventually the affair will disappear all on its own, because she won't need it anymore. Because she will be finding emotional closeness with you again. Probably at a level that you have never had in all your years of marriage together.

    Posted by honesty is your secret weapon August 3, 09 02:33 PM
  1. Seriously, hats off to you, GB #108 - you are the bomb. Thankfully, reading this column everyday further convinces me not to get married or have children. I may be lonely and sexless, but I'm not fat, trapped in a loveless marriage with a cheating spouse and bratty kids running all over me.

    Posted by LuLuLemon August 3, 09 02:35 PM
  1. To Mrs. Robinson or whatever you call yourself-- All I was saying was you do not have all the facts. Unless of course you know this couple personally which is the only way you could make the below statement:

    "Kathleen, if things were so bad why didn't she ask for a divorce, demand counseling, ask for a lifeline before carrying on like a trollop?"

    How do you know she hasn't made attempts before? Did she tell you? Or are you assuming she hasn't because the LW didn't mention that she has? That's good reasoning...

    Posted by Kathleen August 3, 09 02:37 PM
  1. Take over. Fight for it and yourself. If that means giving her an ultimatum, then that's what it means. But she needs to know that your in this for you both. And that her current infatuation is only a temporary high.

    Then contact the coach and let him know you're a man who cares and to back the F off. YOUR wife is vulnerable and this guy is a bottom feeder for taking advantage.

    Saying a prayer for you, man. Good luck.

    Posted by Joe August 3, 09 02:40 PM
  1. #89, you are crazy! You expect him to "be there" for the pain of her break-up with the coach? What planet are you from? Do you think he is Superman? If she does decide to break up, she can shed tears with one of her friends. Would you really expect yourself to do the same thing if you were in his shoes? This guy sounds like a "Mr. Nice Guy" and he is getting the crap kicked out of him likely because he is too "nice" already!

    Posted by sanity123 August 3, 09 02:47 PM
  1. What's really sad here is how many couples this seem to have happened to.
    A symptom of society? Is it simply human nature?
    Just a thought. Carry on.

    DrK

    Posted by DrK August 3, 09 02:51 PM
  1. #124.. Do I know you.. sounds familiar.. but I think you were my whore..Not all women who go outside their marriage are looking for a relationship.. Some of us look for boytoys like yourself.. and Sluts are younger "girls" not women with experience who have needs too.. I just hope your girlfiend does it to you.. Karma's a BITCH!! LOL!

    Posted by KARMA is woman August 3, 09 03:12 PM
  1. #124 You can't hurt me.

    Posted by GB August 3, 09 03:16 PM
  1. All in all this is fascinating reading. I wonder what percentage or marriages these days have some sort of "cheating" going on?

    Posted by Dave August 3, 09 03:17 PM
  1. #124--before they remove your comment, I must say not only are you angry but you are gross to make those vile comments--esp under the shadow of anonymity. I bet you're a hell of a guy in real life--

    Posted by E August 3, 09 03:21 PM
  1. #130 do you go to SCLA NYC? Maybe I do know you? I had some great times there, now I just go to work out and laugh at all the dumb whores looking for a piece of A$$.

    What were you wearing last Thursday?

    Posted by #130 August 3, 09 03:27 PM
  1. “Third Rate Romance, Low Rent Rendezvous” Haiku

    Coach Hockey Krishna
    Too many men on the ice
    Texts with head down…NUFF

    Posted by valentino August 3, 09 03:44 PM
  1. Agree with #128 DrK. Why is this type of behavior so common? Has it always been that way or do we just know more about it now? Is "marriage" really just a big lie we are perpetuating?

    Posted by Todd August 3, 09 04:06 PM
  1. Ice Cube:
    If after you try and she still takes her leave, I am one of millions who will tell you that life begins again…that you have a chance to find incredible, lasting and whole love…that you can use the lessons learned to seek a mature, honoring and committed relationship. I agree with BTDT who said your wife is intrigued by the newness of her stardom. It’s like she’s Wayne Gretzky in the WHA. Not exactly primetime, but anything new will due. She actually likes that new car smell. But unless she’s buying the “new car smell” auto-cologne, her interior and exterior are going to fade like any other car. Be the turtle, Ice. Let her and the hockey Krishna be the Hare, Hare.

    Posted by valentino August 3, 09 04:13 PM
  1. Start the divorce proceedings - and get a good Lawyer.

    Posted by Been around August 3, 09 04:15 PM
  1. I am no Sherlock Holmes, but call it a hunch, but comments - # 106, #124 (which has since been removed), and #133 are one in the same...a high school teenage boy who has never been with a woman before and is essentially a misogynist. Or, at least, that is his mental capacity considering he is probably juicing and can't satisfy the women he is with. (FYI – little man, a misogynist is someone who hates women and spews hatred towards them). Additionally, I’m sure the legal counsel of Sportsclub LA does not appreciate the unauthorized usage of their name. I’ll be sure to let them know so they can proceed accordingly. Have a great day, little man!

    Posted by X August 3, 09 04:17 PM
  1. COI,

    I read through your letter again, and I've come to a sad realization.

    "6 weeks ago, she indicated that she was not happy. She did not come out and say she wanted to separate but intimated that."

    This happened during the affair, before you knew about it? This may have been a cry for help, but I think she was telling you it's over. The fact that she hinted that she wants a separation, and is unwilling to take any of the logical steps to save your marriage tells me she's already checked out. I'm truly sorry, but I think you're done. You might as well give her the ultimatum, because I don't think you have anything to loose.

    I don't know what the laws are really like in Massachusetts, but do not leave your home and the kids! A judge will consider this a sign that your wife is the primary caregiver, and if you end up in a custody battle that may make all the difference.

    Again, I'm sorry, and I wouldn't blame you if you don't give up on her, yet, even if what I say is correct.

    Posted by two sheds August 3, 09 04:33 PM
  1. DrK, Interesting thought. Given that society seems to hate cheaters in general, human nature? Then again, some don't blame the cheater at all. The question is: whether soceity condones it or not, does that change human nature?

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! August 3, 09 04:38 PM
  1. valentino's haikus are amazing!!

    Posted by haiku lover August 3, 09 04:38 PM
  1. She would have left you already if she had enough income to support herself because in her mind, this marriage is over. The fact that she's still hanging around says that she wants all the comforts you provide, but still wants to keep her bit on the side. Don't put up with this. Go to counseling by yourself if she won't go, but do not suck up to her, play nice, etc to win her back. That will only fuel her contempt and erode your self-esteem even further. You are the wronged party here. You might not have been a great husband, but you didn't make her cheat. There is no excuse for immorality except "I just wanted to."


    Reforemed Cheater

    Posted by Reformed Cheater August 3, 09 04:42 PM
  1. #138 X,

    You may be right about the person who posted those SportsClub comments - definitely a loser.

    But let's all be careful with the slur "little man". "Little" could be misinterpreted by some readers. An inadequate man isn't the same as a short man. I think you mean that he's inadequate.

    Posted by TallGirl August 3, 09 04:59 PM
  1. Okay I'll be brief, your spouse probably won't listen to you, you need a neutral party, the initial ultimatum should not be to stop the affair but to go to marriage counseling, if she won't do that then you'll have to decide whether you want to be in this marriage or how you want to be in this marriage.

    Posted by steve August 3, 09 04:59 PM
  1. Keywords: 5 children. If any husband did that to me, and I was worn out between here and a year from today, I'd be seeking comfort elsewhere, too. Who has 5 kids these days (OK, since around the early 1990s, but still)? Even as a mother myself. I feel the world doesn't need such large families - at least not in the U.S., which long ago attained ZPG. Tell me, CaI, have you been nurturing? Helping her at home? Making her feel like a WOMAN and not just your baby factory? A man who encourages or lets his wife have 5 kids has some soul-searching to do. What was it about her, that she wasn't enough, that you had to have almost as many children as that Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe? I tell you, she must have been worn out, and didn't receive comfort and whisper-words from you. You both have problems, I say. That said, can you report the coach to his supervisor for crossing boundaries with a parent?

    Posted by reindeergirl August 3, 09 05:41 PM
  1. Very sad situation, and I must agree, its over. Once she has fallen for the "other guy", its too late. Even if Kathleen is right, ( his behavior drove her to the other man), it doesnt matter. The game is over. Trust is gone, and intimacy has been lost.

    No reason for the blame argument between Hoss and Kathleen. It doesnt matter who is to blame. I dont believe any amount of counseling can help. This LW should consult an attorney and dont move out. It also doesnt matter if your the male or female, your will be in trouble if you move out of the home.

    This man has to stand up and regain his self respect. Its a hard road to go, but unless you stand up to her, and boot her cheating self out, she wont respect you. Time for her to go. Without the kids.

    Posted by billy13 August 3, 09 05:45 PM
  1. Mistral, you didn't say which Rodin sculpture the L/W resembles.

    Kate's Nonna - The L/W is too busy creating "general economic prosperity" and baby-factorying his wife to take her to Antibes or some other lovely town in Provençe. My guess he was building his business, and never made time to tell his wife how much she's been adored; how pretty she is; never made time to help with the children, etc. "General economic prosperity" indeed - at the expense of his marriage. No wonder she strayed.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 3, 09 05:53 PM
  1. Same scenario happened to me. (only I was the one getting lasik, losing weight and had the affair)

    With 3 kids and 19 years invested in a marriage, it was a difficult decision to weigh. Our "love" was gone.

    The pain of divorce vs. the pain of a loveless marriage...what to do?

    We DECIDED to get all the help we could and really work on our marriage. It takes more effort and patience than you can imagine. However, the pain of divorce seemed worse.

    Posted by Makeyourwifehot August 3, 09 06:07 PM
  1. valentino - your haiku today was even more brilliant than ever, just ... perfect!

    And Hoss - can you please stop saying "Get it?" Sheesh, you're beginning to sound like Bleako. Do you really want to go there?

    Alimony? All property? That's not the divorce I had. "Father's Rights" groups much? Father's Rights are neither fathers, nor right. As Linda would say, discuss.

    In fact, my ex tried to take the home my family (read: parents) had owned since the early 1960s. He hasn't paid C/s in more than 18 months, but I will continue to take the high road ... because it's the right thing to do for our child.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 3, 09 06:35 PM
  1. Should this all work out for the LW and they decide to renew their vows, I'd like to point out that cake place Meredith mentioned is super yummy and they have their own television show AND they made the 100th episode cake for Lost. Complete with Dharma beer cans made out of cake.

    Posted by Sally August 3, 09 06:41 PM
  1. #50 (Karen)....so do I get a cut of the royalty from you lifting an entire sentence I wrote in my response to Friday's post on Shotgun Wedding (#221) in your response to this letter today?

    Well...they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....so thank you :-)

    Posted by bklynmom August 3, 09 06:54 PM
  1. Sally - "What is this "lifetime alimony" stuff and where can I get some?"

    If you want to be my dad's 4th wife, you too can cash in. You just have to make sure he thinks you know he's right, swing a mean 9-iron and be feisty and challenging enough to create sexual tension, but not so much as to deflate an erection. I worry about your bull whip, but I haven't had a step mom in 10 years.

    Posted by valentino August 3, 09 08:56 PM
  1. #151 = if you are LW and wrote #50, #151, #221 on friday,
    you are happy to see your own response which goes well,
    you should pay yourself royalty,
    however will accept your 'thank you'.
    Thank you for seeing your # here more and more!

    Posted by from now on , refer to comments August 3, 09 08:58 PM
  1. @reindeergirl -- it takes two people to make a baby, you know. And generally it's not the man's biological clock that's ticking away and wanting to have kids, anyway. Of course if they don't believe in birth control, well, again, it takes two to make a kid, it's not like he just wished the baby into her uterus and it started growing there.

    I could never imagine having five kids, either, but there are some people who want it. I think they are insane, but they want it. She's evidently now found time to get into shape and have an affiair, so I'm betting the kids are older and likely off at day camps or something .... which is being paid for by dear old Dad. He might even be putting some through college while trying to provide for the others ... so it's quite possible he's a business owner or might be working two jobs to make ends meet. So yeah, he probably comes home exhausted after working all day.

    And I'm really betting she was the one who really really had to have the kids. Now she really really has to go have another guy.

    Posted by K August 3, 09 08:59 PM
  1. Four simple steps:

    1) Oldsmobile Delta '88 (big trunk)
    2) Nylon Rope
    3) Mexican Border
    4) Your new name is Sanchez el Rojo

    Posted by Atticus Black August 3, 09 10:40 PM
  1. Four simple steps:

    1) Oldsmobile Delta '88 (big trunk)
    2) Nylon Rope
    3) Mexican Border
    4) Your new name is Sanchez el Rojo

    Posted by Atticus Black August 3, 09 11:19 PM
  1. @147/reindeergirl. I might suggest Balzac, insofar as the wife hottied-up, and I doubt hubby has, but given the sad-sack element, I would think he looks more like one of The Burghers of Calais.

    Posted by Mistral August 3, 09 11:21 PM
  1. Well, I disagree that it is definitely over. You never know. However, you may need a lot of patience to get through this. If you want to control the situation then you are going to be challenged. However, if you tell her you love her and want to make it work (as long as she ditches the coach) you may have to give her some time to figure it out. And in the meantime get lots of therapy and try to be appreciative of her whenever you can. Even if it is going to be over, the more grateful and kind you can be the better! My husband hung in there with me through a really rough period and now we have a solid and happy marriage.

    Posted by empathetic August 3, 09 11:27 PM
  1. If any of you "adults" who are defending this women, also become bored or unfulfilled in your marriage, lose the ability to speak with your spouse, and make a conscious decision to cheat, try not to do it with individuals who are associated with your children and his/her friends. What many of you are missing here is the potential torment and trauma that could be unleashed on LW's son if (more likely when) this gets out. "Ohhh Timmy, is Coach McIllvie still nailing your mom?!?!?!" A complete betrayal to her own son motivated by her own low self esteem and selfishness.

    As a father of two, it literally makes me ill to think that this women would do this. Going to games / practices and making goo-goo eyes at the coach, text messaging 70 times per day to feel like someone "wanted" her all the while her own five kids NEEDED her. "Don't bother Mommy right now. Supper's not ready, because I need to do something on the phone here. I'm almost done. Go to your room..."

    Just sick.

    Then she has the audacity to say to LW that it would be too painful to terminate the relationship? Unacceptable. LW should get as much proof as he can (text msgs, PI, etc.), get a lawyer, and then focus on being a good dad. These kids need to be saved from this toxic situation as soon as possible.

    Posted by Hoss August 4, 09 07:20 AM
  1. I think Princess Diana said it quite well a while back..."There were 3 of us in this marriage...a wee bit crowded".....

    Posted by Patrice Rizzo August 4, 09 07:37 AM
  1. Mistral - Perfect choices you made!

    -----

    leykis - anti-semitic much? You think because Mere has a Jewish-sounding last name, she wants a man with money? For shame!

    ----

    Let the wife have the coach and the husband, I say. That is, until CaI is done creating "general economic prosperity" (McMansion? $90,000 car? boat?); tells his wife how pretty and loved she is; let's her go out and splurge on some REALLY sexy lingerie and show off for you, and you repair the marriage with love, kindness and sensuality. "General economic prosperity" does not a husband make, at least, not that alone. Have a poly marriage for now, until you can repair the years of neglect.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 4, 09 10:38 AM
  1. I don't understand how Atticus Black's post could go through, but mine, which actually had helpful info, was not posted twice.

    Posted by alipie August 4, 09 10:40 AM
  1. The point was never that her behavior is acceptable, it certainly is not. The point was also never that it was the LW's fault. It was not about blame. It is about RESPONSIBILITY. Being accountable for your actions. How can you give advice to this man not knowing what part he has played in it all? Do you frequently solve problems without the entire equation? Do you think he would walk into a therapist's office and he/she would say "Sir, tell me about your wife's indiscretion. Don't tell me about what happened before because it doesn't matter." It does matter.

    I agree with reindeergirl in that this man has probably been completely consumed in providing for them financially he has let his other duties slip. And if you think that is acceptable it is NOT. Money does not buy you love. It never has and it never will. Putting clothes on your wife and children's back is not equivalent to being there and loving them. If you think his wife is the only person that he has neglected, I'm sure you're wrong. And putting your job before your families emotional needs for years is equally as loathesome.

    Stop thinking the LW is so innocent.

    Posted by Kathleen is done with this subject now... August 4, 09 11:02 AM
  1. Val,
    Does your dad have a cat? If yes, I pass.

    Posted by Sally August 4, 09 11:32 AM
  1. Next time, read the whole letter instead of just skimming through it and then reverting to your flawed, bias agenda (i.e. "MAN = wrong, WOMAN = may be wrong but her behavior is acceptable because she was driven to it by man").

    She cheated on her husband with her child's coach and when caught, refuses to end the affair.

    He MAY have worked to hard to financially provide for a family of SEVEN and has acknowledged the mistake and is willing to work hard on the marriage and be more attentive and emotionally supportive.

    Big difference.

    Class dismissed.

    Go feed the 12 cats roaming freely around your house and then work on cleaning up the backseat of your Subaru which is buried in AC Moore flyers, craft projects, and junk mail.

    Posted by Hoss August 4, 09 02:08 PM
  1. You're right... he MAY have. Why isn't your man updating us on his "behavior"? Oh, right.... still not willing to come forward and admit what that behavior is. For all we know he could have gotten caught banging his secretary on his desk for years!

    You're only hearing what you want to when reading my responses, not taking them for what they actually say! Get over yourself, seriously.

    And no cats for me. Although I'd take cats over playing jigsaw puzzles every night! Two can play at your nasty game Hoss....

    Posted by Kathleen August 4, 09 03:21 PM
  1. Wow, I feel like I'm reading my own life story over the past few months. In our case, she broke off the email and text telling me she had ended things, only to have me find out two months later that she had just move the affair to old fashion postal mail. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. As you can imagine we are now in divorce proceedings.

    My heart goes out to you and I hope your marriage can be salvaged. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

    Posted by Danno August 4, 09 03:40 PM
  1. Kathleen's in the lead. Hoss is trailing due to the AC Moore flyers comment (I don't seen anything wrong with that).

    Posted by Sally August 4, 09 03:45 PM
  1. Both parties (LW and his wife) contributed in some way to downward spiral of the marriage to the point where the affair began. At that time, she crossed major boundaries and betrayed her children and her husband. He is willing to forgive and to work on repairing the damage done. He does not feel that she will go to counseling and she thinks the marriage can be repaired while she continues her infidelity. Those things, in my mind shift the majority of the blame to her. I simply do not see how it can be interpreted any differently than that. Give him credit for attempting to take responsibility for his failures and to do what it takes to try to make amends and save the marriage. Giver her jeers for saying she wants to save the marriage but only if she can continue playing hockey groupie to the pee-wee hockey coach.

    Believe me, I’m taking your responses for what they say. I’m choosing to avoid the crush vibe your throwing and instead am trying to educate you. I’ll have you know that I don’t do jigsaw puzzles every night! Besides numerous Dora, Diego, and Cars puzzles, I’ve only done two 1,000 piece puzzles on my own! Geesh. Fine, hate me for it!

    Ok, I’m done now and notice how I’ve accepted some of your constructive criticism (no more use of ‘Get it?’ for dramatic effect / emphasis, no potshots at you personally, etc.).

    Next letter, please…..

    Posted by Hoss August 4, 09 04:31 PM
  1. It's a tie.Rematch tomorrow.

    Posted by Sally Ref August 4, 09 06:31 PM
  1. marriage is sacred, both parties should cherish each other and it is a kind of responsiblity.

    Posted by Kritty August 5, 09 05:59 AM
  1. Hey Kathleen, how about evaluating the situation upon how it was presented instead of speculating your own man-hating BS, in order to jusitfy the women's behavior. Being somewhat negligent isn't an excuse to have an affair. Marriages take work, but just because your spouse isn't perfect doesn't provide an excuse to nuke a marraige. She did nuke the marriage and based upon her own selfish desires.
    This woman's needs crap is a bunch of BS too. It's new world excuse making to be selfish. Believe me, I know men can be that way too, but we are talking about this, specific, situation.

    Posted by big hat August 5, 09 09:33 AM
  1. married 21 years and that means nothing anymore to some people... with agendas... I agree with hoss...aint worth the paper her marriage certificate was written on. Kathleen I have a room that needs painting...and curtains.

    Posted by jimmiec August 6, 09 02:41 PM
  1. someone needs to get their ass kicked
    unfortunately it will probabably be you

    don't allow another man to share intimacy
    with your wife without the threat of physical harm
    but since he's a hockey coach he'll probably beat
    you to a pulp but you'll have your dignity and you'll be single again, yippee!!


    Posted by mike in salem August 7, 09 11:24 PM
 
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