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I Cheated on My Wife. Why Won’t She Get Over It?


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I Cheated on My Wife. Why Won’t She Get Over...

My wife and I have been married for eight years. We’re in our 30s and have two children. I love her; she’s my best friend. Unfortunately, I made a big mistake: I got drunk at a conference last month and slept with another woman. I swear it was a one-time thing and meant nothing to me! When I got home, I decided the right thing to do was to tell my wife what had happened, apologize and promise it would never happen again. I knew there might be fallout, but I had no idea she would be so upset. She has practically stopped talking to me and threatened to throw me out. I’ve apologized so many times. This is killing me! What more can I do?

HUSBAND

We all screw up (even the most judgy readers)! I know that you’re suffering, but you’ve caused suffering, too. And I think you may have overestimated the nobility of confessing behavior that is not OK in your marriage. No gold stars for you!

I hope your apologies to your wife have steered clear of excuses, like drunkenness, or (maddening) claims that your infidelity “meant nothing” — when it clearly means a lot to her. If you need to rethink your apologies, do it now.

You don’t control what happens next, though. (And yes, I know how scary that can be!) Your wife may be heartbroken or furious — or both. She may be considering what’s best for her and the children, and whether she can trust you again. If she’s really your best friend, as you say, encourage her to take all the time she needs to make the best decisions. In promising news: She hasn’t thrown you out yet.

You can suggest talking to a counselor together about your marriage and this episode, if she’s ready for that. (You should definitely speak to a therapist on your own.) Something went wrong here. And the more closely you examine it, the more productively you can address the problem.

Credit…Miguel Porlan

My best friend and I are in 10th grade. She comes from a wealthy family and always has lots of money. Still, I often catch her stealing little things from stores, like candy or lip gloss. I’m worried about her. Do you think I should say something to her?

JO

I love that you’re looking out for your friend. Still, you’re not quite an adult yet, and this may be a problem for adults to handle. When I was your age, for instance, I often felt ashamed of myself, so I stole things, too. I think I wanted to get caught to prove that I was a bad person. I needed adult help.

You can try to talk to your friend: “I know you have the money for that candy. Do you ever wonder why you’re stealing it?” It may lead to a great conversation, or she may shut you down. If she keeps stealing, though, tell an adult you trust. Your friend may need help. And there’s no shame in that.

A friend from high school is getting married soon. I’m the only person from our friend group who isn’t invited to the wedding. We haven’t seen each other in recent years, but I’m not aware of any bad blood between us. I assume he forgot to invite me (he can be spacey) or ran out of room. Would it be OK for a friend who is invited to ask if she can bring me to the wedding in place of her fiancé, who can’t make it?

FRIEND

I think it’s better to leave other people’s guest lists alone, even if you were left off by mistake — which I doubt. This wedding is not your high school reunion, and you haven’t spoken to the groom in years: Why would he invite you to his wedding?

Most of us like to be included; I don’t blame you for that. But claiming you weren’t invited because the groom is “spacey” is pretty weak. And asking a friend to intercede may be awkward. The groom knows you and didn’t invite you — the end. Don’t use plus ones to get around it. If you want to see your old pals, throw a party.

Our next-door neighbor is a serious weekend gardener. He’s often out in his yard from early in the morning until almost dusk. The problem: He starts using noisy equipment — his tractor mower, for example, and weed whacker — at 9 a.m. This wakes me up. (I work nights.) I know 9 isn’t that early, but can I say something?

NEIGHBOR

Why not? Especially here, where your neighbor is working in his Garden of Eden all day long. Maybe he can juggle the order of his chores without inconvenience. Still, you make a fair point: 9 a.m. is not the crack of dawn. So, ask gently.

The next time you see him, compliment his garden and say: “I work at night. So, I love to sleep in when I can. Could you possibly shift your noisier yard work to the afternoons? I know it’s a lot to ask.” What do you have to lose?


For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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A reader is anguished to find that the road from confession to absolution isn’t always a direct path.

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