Dear Annie: My husband works for a large mental health agency and five years ago had a two-year affair with a fellow employee. I found their illicit emails three years ago.
Even though my husband and I are still together, I am broken and cannot heal. I pray and I strive and nothing works. It is the most painful and devastating experience of my life, and I wonder whether it has ruined me. I was a happy, cheerful woman before this, and everyone who knew me marveled at my good humor and vivacity. Not anymore.
Please tell people to get divorced before having an affair. Otherwise, commit to your marriage and make it work. Infidelity is excruciating, and if you care at all for your partner, please, please have compassion and don’t cheat. – Broken in Omaha
Dear Broken: Not being able to trust your partner is one of the most damaging elements of an affair and can impede attempts to reconcile. Your husband must be consistently transparent in all of his dealings, without complaint, for as long as it takes. This is a difficult process, and a trained professional can help guide you.
Please ask your doctor or clergyperson to refer you to a marriage counselor, or contact the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at aamft.org. While it would be best if your husband went with you, go alone if he refuses.