Heartbroken but Committed

by Shane Dominix
(North Sydney NS)

Until a week ago, I was a happily married man and I thought my wife and I were going to be together forever. Then I found an ex-boyfriend of hers on the computer, but I didn't think I had anything to worry about. My wife and I have been together for ten years and married for seven, and being married to her has been the best experience in my whole life.

I really don't want to give up on her and she doesn't want to give up yet, but she will not make any promises for the future. She will not give up talking to her ex-boyfriend and she may feel that she cares for him in more than a friend way. I try to accept this, but I can't help but be hurt whenever she talks to him.

What can I do to save my marriage?



Gosh, Heartbroken, I really feel for you. Your signature tells all. You sound like a pretty good guy, and you really got kicked in the teeth!

There are a few things you left unsaid that might have helped us come up with the best advice for you:

1. Has she seen her ex-boyfriend in person, or is this just an email affair?
2. Has she actually gone so far as to cheat on you with him?
3. Has she voiced serious doubts about whether she wants to stay married or not?

There's a big difference between her just catching up with him via email, and actually re-kindling a full blown affair/romance with him. It is crucial that you find out how far this has gone and whether she is willing to stop it right now and save your marriage.

Hopefully, your wife just got the "7-year-itch". It's not uncommon for a couple to fall into such a familiar routine with their mates that they become bored... and the grass looks greener over there....

This is not to condone what she is doing, and the hurt she has caused you. But if this has gone no farther than emails, it may be much easier to nip it in the bud.

Time for a heart-to-heart talk. Tell her how her contact with her ex hurts you, and that you feel it is inappropriate (it is). And tell her that if she wants to save your marriage, she must stop. Not negotiable.

(Innocent contact with an ex on a friendly basis is not in itself bad. But if it is causing hurt and damaging your marriage, then it is bad, and should not continue.)

If she has actually seen him face-to-face, and/or cheated on you, then you must first decide whether YOU want to forgive HER and save the marriage, or not. Then, deliver an ultimatum! There is no room in a marriage for three.

If you just stand by while she carries on with her ex-boyfriend, then you will lose your dignity, she will lose all respect for you, and you won't have much chance of restoring a healthy marriage relationship.

If you both decide to stop this whole affair and start anew, you will have to commit to it and work at restoring the faith and the loving feelings. Sometimes this is not possible, but it is worth every effort to try. You may even need marriage counseling to unravel this mess.

I do suggest some good long-term relationship advice below to get you guys started on the right track:

What Men Want

What Women Want

Love Wisdom

Good luck to you both, and please don't hesitate to get professional help, if needed.


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Your questions answered, I hope it will help
by: heartbroken

Q: Has she seen her ex-boyfriend in person, or is this just an email affair?

A: Just a little bit of flirting, I have been hurt more by what she has said to me than what she has said to him.

Q: Has she actually gone so far as to cheat on you with him?

A: No, I know my wife would never cheat on me; that's where the inner conflict comes in.

Q: Has she voiced serious doubts about whether she wants to stay married or not?

A: Yes, but has said she wants to try everything else first.



It really sounds more like a wake up call for your relationship than a serious outside threat.

You say that you are more hurt by what she has said to you than to him. This seems to indicate she is kind of "rubbing your nose in it". And for her to say she has serious doubts about the marriage and wants to try everything else "first" sounds a little lame, sorry.

Well... I stand by what I said earlier. She MUST quit emailing this guy. Not because it is such a bad thing to do, but because it is causing you pain!

If she really wants to "try everything", this is the best place to start. Then both of you must commit to making your marriage work, and promise each other you will work at it. There are probably many ways in which you can improve from your side, so do them. But she has to meet you half way. If she means what she says, then she should have no problem working on this most important issue, her marriage, from her side.

It is essential that you keep your dignity intact, no matter how heartbroken you are. You can be strong and committed to the marriage, but you will not tolerate her carrying on with another man, period. She will not respect you if you allow that.

Read the
long-term advice
, and take it all to heart. These really are messages from couples who have survived the storms and remained together. Get her to a marriage counselor if necessary. But be forewarned, it takes two to make or break a marriage.

Best of luck to you both,

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