Q. After I caught him, my husband admitted he had been cheating for several months. He begged me to stay and to work out our problems. A month later I found proof that he was cheating again. We tried couples counseling, but all he did was lie. Is there any way to get past this?
A. I’m uncertain the reasons that your husband suggested that you attempt to resolve your marriage issues, but obviously he had no intention of fulfilling his part of the bargain. If your husband was truly sorry that he had cheated, it would not be happening again after a month. He was not honest with you; he did not show respect for you or the marriage; and he did not make an effort to display a sense of remorse about his actions.
I am more concerned that you still have a desire to stay with him. Not every marriage can be saved. According to Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., a sex and relationship expert, monogamy is a choice that couples must make. When one person expects and values monogamy and the other does not, the relationship simply does not work.
You need to discuss this in depth with a therapist and a divorce lawyer. If you stay with him, you will likely spend the remainder of your marriage checking his phone, wondering where he is at night and being suspicious every time he speaks to another woman.
Another concern is that spouses who are unfaithful are often exposing their wives or husbands to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Since he has lied about other issues, he has probably also lied about his use of condoms. Have your doctor check you for AIDS and all STDs. Cheating can come with more consequences than just a broken marriage.
Q. Before I married my husband, I had several affairs with women. Our children are now adults, and my husband and I work in different cities. I know I’m bisexual, (even though my friends say there is no such thing), and I’d like to have another relationship with a woman. My husband is my best friend, but I feel no passion anymore. Please help.
A. The first thing you need is to find a good psychotherapist. You may have to go to several before you find one who has a complete understanding of your issues. If the therapist seems shocked or makes a quick judgment, find another one.
According to the American Psychological Association, bisexuality certainly exists. Some people desire an intimate relationship with someone of the same gender and the opposite gender at different times in the life cycle.
For many years, bisexuality was not accepted by either the straight or gay communities. People had to be one or the other. This perception has changed. Now it is accepted that there are many bisexuals who are married to partners of the opposite gender and those who are in gay or lesbian relationships.
My concern for you is that you are married. Before you proceed with any extra-marital relationship, you must confront how your husband would accept this arrangement. Would this end your marriage or is he accepting of an open-relationship? Remember that many people agree to an open marriage until they are actually in one.
To proceed with a relationship without discussing it with your husband, is a lie of omission. Even though you may thrive in a new relationship, you will still have the burden of infidelity. If you are ready to end your marriage, then you should discuss your feelings and intentions with your husband before you become involved with someone else. If you do not, the new relationship will begin under the guise of dishonesty.
Talk to your therapist. Do not go into this hurriedly and without taking professional advice.
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Nancy Ryburn holds a doctorate degree in psychology from Yeshiva University in New York City. She currently teaches psychology at Southeast Arkansas College. If you have questions, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will not be answered personally, but could appear in a future column. There will be no identifying information and all e-mails remain confidential.