Baggage Claim: e-Betrayal 

Dear Lou,

I’ve been married for two years and recently found out my husband had been e-mailing with other women and had a profile on a dating Web site. I confronted him on this, and he swore to remove all his profiles and said he was sorry and that he would never do it again. He told me he had not met anyone in person, that it was only online, but he knew it was wrong and was sorry. I was devastated; I’ve barely even spoken to him for weeks and I cry all the time. He wants us to work it out, and I want that, too, but I feel like a part of me has died inside. Every time I even look at my husband, the hurt takes my breath away. I just can’t seem to get past all this. Plus, in my mind, I keep wondering if he’s still lying to me, if he really did meet with some woman he met online and had sex with her. It’s like, he lied to me about this (e-mails), who’s to say he’s not lying about physically cheating? Sometimes, I feel like I just want to get away from him and get divorced and never have to look at him again. I’m crying right now as I write this. I feel like my life is over. What am I going to do?

Dear Shattered,

How terrible. I’m so very sorry about the pain you’re obviously in. What you’re feeling is, sadly, not only normal, but necessary. When trust is broken, the wronged party will often pass between emotions, not unlike those dealing with the death of a loved one. Bouncing between sadness, denial and anger is very common, and I imagine that’s exactly how you’re feeling right now. One minute you swear he’s lied about everything and could slap him, in the next instant you collapse in tears, followed by wanting to wish it all away and magically go back to the way things were before. That’s why you feel as though part of you has died. This is a mourning process — mourning the loss of the intimacy and trust you and your husband once shared. If you have both committed yourselves to repairing your marriage, there is no way to avoid this wrenching point in recovery. But, Shattered, right there is the good part: This is indeed a step in recovery. As horrible as you feel right now, please try and take some comfort in the fact that this is the worst it’s going to get, right now, and it only gets better from here. Now is the time for constant communication about what you are both thinking and feeling, and that is where the work of rebuilding trust begins. I’d highly recommend seeing a counselor regularly, even if it’s only during this time when wounds are so fresh. Regular guidance from a trained, objective third party can help you move past this point and keep you both honest along the way. Hang in there, Shattered. I applaud you and your husband’s choice to take the hard road back. I hope you are both rewarded for it.

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Lisa "Lou" Welch

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