'I want to be a dad but can’t move on from wife’s 18-month affair'



Dear Coleen

I’ve been with my wife for 13 years and we’ve been married for six years. We’re both 39 and don’t have kids, although I’d like to be a dad.

My problem is, she was sleeping with a guy she met through work after we were married and the affair went on for about 18 months.

She actually told me about it because she felt guilty and her head was so messed up she didn’t know what to do. I was totally ­blindsided because I hadn’t suspected anything.

I suppose we were both so busy with work it didn’t occur to me that anything was going on.

After a lot of pain and tears, we decided to stay together and she explained the affair by saying we’d both focused on work over the past few years instead of each other, and she just fell into it. Before she knew it, she was in too deep.

I agreed to stay with her on the basis that we had therapy together, but while I have turned up to sessions ready to be honest and talk freely, she’s still not opening up and we are not getting anywhere.

We’ve carried on the sessions through lockdown via Zoom, but it’s like they’re an inconvenience for her and she just wants to get it over with.

Should we call it quits? I don’t think she is being truly honest about the affair or us and I can’t see us having kids at this point.

Coleen says

I think you are right to put parenthood on hold while you work through your issues. But maybe putting off big decisions like starting a family has been part of the problem.

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I wonder if you have been avoiding the question of ­parenthood by chucking ­yourselves into work? Maybe you’ve sensed she’s not keen and you’ve let the decision drift and you’re harbouring resentment?

These are all issues you can delve into with your therapist but, you’re right, your wife has to be willing to engage.

Therapy won’t work if she doesn’t open herself up to it and be prepared to be vulnerable.

It’s tough and it doesn’t work for everyone. It can also take time to get a breakthrough, so maybe it’s a question of sticking with it for a bit longer to see if you get anywhere. You might also need to change your therapist – there is a chance your wife could respond differently to someone else.

You also have to think about the possibility that you’re not going to get over this affair. Again, that’s something you can discuss in therapy and the sessions will help you to deal with ending the marriage if that’s what you decide has to happen.

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