DEAR DEIDRE: EVERY time I go out, I worry I’m going to bump into my cheating wife’s ex-lover – for all I know, it might already have happened.
I have no idea who he is and not knowing is killing me. I’m now so paranoid, I imagine my wife with most men I see.
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Last month she admitted she had cheated on me for four years out of our ten-year relationship.
I hadn’t suspected a thing. She said she strayed because I used to work away a lot and she was lonely.
I admit I was distant and not a very good husband.
She will not tell me details of her affair but claims she hasn’t seen the guy for two years and it’s definitely over.
We’re in our early forties. I still love her and want to forgive her, and we’re trying to make things work for the sake of our son, who is eight.
The truth is, I’m not sure I can forgive and forget.
I’m shutting her out and pretending everything is OK, when it isn’t.
All I can think about is her ex-lover. I need to know who this man is, what he does, where he lives, what he looks like.
She says it’s better that I don’t know the details.
She assures me it’s not someone in our social circle. But her vagueness makes me feel she’s protecting him.
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I’m paranoid the dads in the playground, the barmen in our local pub and any delivery men are all laughing at me.
How can we now move forward from this?
DEIDRE SAYS: You may think finding out the identity of your wife’s ex-lover will help you, but the truth is it will probably only make you feel worse.
Rather than imagining a stranger, you will fixate on the details you have been given. Your jealousy is natural, but unhelpful.
Your wife strayed because there were issues in your marriage, not because of any attributes this man may or may not have.
If you want to repair your relationship, and it sounds like you do, you need to work on it together.
It is possible for a couple to recover from an affair, even a long one like this, if they both put in the work. Sometimes, the relationship ends up a lot stronger.
You need to stop shutting her out, discuss what went wrong and what can be improved, and rebuild mutual trust.
My support pack, Cheating: Can You Get Over It? will help you.
I’d also recommend some couple counselling. Contact tavistockrelationships.org (0207 380 1960).
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