Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dear Mary: My husband confessed to a fling – can I trust him again?

My husband confessed to a fling – can I trust him again?

Mary O'Conor

Q: SOME months ago, my husband slept with a work colleague while I was abroad. He was at a party and got really drunk. After a few weeks of acting strange, he told me.

I was obviously heart-broken and completely livid. I kicked him out of the house and wouldn't answer any of his calls, emails or texts for two weeks. I was devastated.

Since then we have had lots and lots of conversations and I know that he loves me and is truly sorry and is terrified at the thought of losing me.

I know that it was a mistake that he wishes he could erase.

I really love him and we have such a good life together, but I can't find it in my heart to forgive him. I really want our life back, but every time I decide to give him a chance I picture him being with another woman, and I can't go through with it.

Will this ever change, or is it just impossible for some people to trust again? I am the type of person to hold a grudge, so even though I want to be able to move on, I don't think I will be able to.

ATrust is something that can only be re-built with the passage of time but you will also have to give yourself permission to trust him again. Even though you will never be able to forget what happened, you will have to work on forgiving.

Otherwise you will both be miserable and that is no way to exist.

Try thinking what it would be like if you were the one that had made the mistake and what it would feel like if he refused to forgive you. You have so much to lose that it really is worth giving your best shot.

Sometimes it helps if you put the entire episode out of your mind when it comes into your head, but promise yourself that you will think about it on a particular day at a particular time, and when that time comes allow yourself to totally immerse yourself in the thought process for about 20 minutes.

That helps compartmentalise it until eventually you won't even need the 20 minutes.

You are the only one who can help yourself – he has confessed, promised not to do it again, and that's all he can do. Now it's over to you.


My boyfriend's lovely but I fear he won't be able to provide for me


Q: I am in my late 20s and I've been with my boyfriend, who is a few years older, for a couple of years. We get on great. We've had our ups and downs and stayed strong, and in the past two years have shared great times. He is romantic and sweet, and kind to me. He dated me the old-fashioned way, took it slow, and has shown complete love to me.


I set up my own business, so I work very hard and I have been getting increasingly successful and have been saving for my future. I am doing my best to increase my business and it's growing enough for me to have a steady income and I have always worked hard to have my own money.

My boyfriend lives quite a distance away, with his widowed mum, so we have mostly just seen each other on weekends and have gone on a few nice holidays together and romantic breaks away. He always makes the effort to come see me and call me at night. I get on great with his mum and she's always been happy for us and supportive of the relationship.

He has mentioned marriage casually ("when we do in years to come") and has told me numerous times how much he loves me and feels so happy and he wants to grow old together. I don't want to rush into marriage yet, but yes I am also starting to consider him as a lifetime partner – and that's something I would like with him down the line.

However my boyfriend never seems to discuss maybe moving in together. I worry that he would be happy to go along with having me at weekends and being with his mammy for the rest of the week. But I think after our time together and at our age, moving in would be a nice step to see if it would work and start building a future together.

I also worry because he doesn't seem driven or ambitious about his career. He is very talented and works freelance, but has not got a proper job. He also helps out in the family business, which is unchallenging for him.

I know that, deep down, I want financial security in the future and a happy home life. His income is irregular and very small. Sometimes when I want us to do things he complains that he can't afford to, although he will buy me flowers and chocolates so it is not out of stinginess, he just genuinely hasn't the money for certain events or holidays that I would be able to save up for. I have gone travelling alone and with friends and feel I live a fulfilling life in every other way.

My question is – as a woman in my late 20s, should I stay with a man who makes me happy, adores me, but won't be able to give me financial security and a house and a decent lifestyle that I would hope to have?

I am not a gold-digger, and I am not looking for anything fancy, just a decent house and decent lifestyle which we both provide equally financially in the future, because I have always wanted a nice family home and security in my life, and I don't know if he can give this to me.

I don't know what to do. If I mentioned it to others they might think I am being unreasonable to worry about this, but I have always thought it smart to marry the man who will be secure and support me if I have children, and I am left confused. I know this is taboo to actually admit – but I fear that once I reach my 30s, it becomes harder to find the right man and I don't want to have spent these years with him, if he won't ever give me the security and the quality of life I would wish for. Any wisdom on life would be helpful.

A: There is one thing that is missing in your letter and that is passion. You talk a lot about what this man does for you and how much he adores you and all his good points, but you don't once tell me how you actually feel about him. It is almost as if it is all very comfortable for you, and well thought out. And it seems like you are going to live the rest of your life in a similar well-thought-out fashion.

Regarding living together, I agree that it would be the next logical step, but you would need to sound him out as to what he thinks in general about people living together. He is obviously quite sensitive and very kind, and may have issues about leaving his widowed mother in order to live with you. He obviously thinks that you two are in it for the long haul and I wonder if he has any idea that you may not share his views.

Your question to me is whether you should continue the relationship with him even though you feel he would not be able to support you in the manner in which you would like to live.

There is no rule that says that it is the guy who has to be the major earner, although admittedly it turns out more often than not to be the case. So it may well be that you would turn out to be the one supporting the family more than him, and he may well enjoy being the one who runs the household and takes care of the children if you do have them.

This would enable you to continue to run your business and become more successful than you are at present.

But I still have reservations about your plan. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be secure and having the best possible lifestyle, but you should have very strong feelings for somebody before contemplating spending your life together.

Ask yourself how you would feel if he were to suddenly end the relationship – would you be devastated or would you move on and look for somebody more suited to your ideal man?

Your answer will tell you a lot.

Sunday Independent

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