- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I find myself in need of some advice and words of encouragement. I have been married to my husband for five years. We have two beautiful children. My problem is that I found out that my husband started cheating on me while overseas (a few kisses and e-mails are all I have definite proof of) and it really hurt me because it is not the first time. I do not know what to do, and I love him so much.

The children absolutely adore him, and other than his infidelity and lies, he is a great husband and father. He is very apologetic. He tells me that he loves me with all of his heart, that he will not do anything further to hurt me, that this little “fling” was over before it began and that he is not interested in continuing the lies and cheating. He said he cannot explain why he had an affair, but it is not [because of] anything I have done.

We have agreed to seek marriage counseling upon his return, and we are trying to establish a religious relationship with God to help us in our marriage as well.

I sometimes feel very insecure and discouraged. I have tried praying for the strength to believe he will be faithful and the strength to make it through this deployment. I try to stay busy and am job-hunting as well as looking into getting a masters degree. I guess I am basically seeking encouragement to help me make it from day to day.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I do hope for a reply. - Wife Seeking Peace of Mind

Dear Wife,

I applaud you for writing for advice on this issue. I know it is difficult for you to stay and fight for your marriage after your husband’s affair. I have to report that I’ve counseled many couples whose marriage became stronger after infidelity; all marriages are not over when this occurs. It is difficult to move forward, but it can be done.

From your report, it sounds like you are trying to handle this in a mature way, and I applaud you for that. I am sure it was a major shock, and very hurting and disappointing to you. I am happy your husband is not blaming you for anything. He is right; it’s not your fault.

You’ve been married now for five years and have two beautiful children. You also report that you love and adore your husband and that he is a good father even though this is not the first time he has cheated. Even during the deployment, you and your husband can start the healing process and can work on building a stronger relationship. This can also be a time for personal growth for both of you. You named some of them, i.e. your interest in pursuing higher education, employment opportunities and spiritual growth.

I also agree with you and recommend marital counseling when he returns. On the other hand, he should begin working with a counselor now because he really needs to understand and be honest with himself about his affairs. In my professional opinion, two affairs just don’t happen. I hope you take my advice because this is very important. Please continue to take care of yourself and your children. You have nothing to be embarrassed about, so be encouraged. Stay in touch as you wish.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I love the advice you give and I get to read it every Thursday when I’m at work. I am so happy that I get to read The Washington Times for free. You are the main reason I grab a copy as soon as I walk inside my building.

Ms. Vicki, my husband is in his third deployment. Each deployment gets harder, contrary to what some might say. I’m managing OK although I miss my husband desperately.

I hate to be nosy and in other people’s business, but my neighbor is doing her husband wrong.

Since her husband deployed, she has been letting other men come to her house.

I’m not going to say what I think they are doing, but I know they are up to no good. She even has children who I know are at home when she has other men in her home. All of the neighbors are talking about what’s going on.

Do you think I should tell my husband what’s going on so he can tell her husband? Or should I just stay out of it? - Trying Not To Be Nosy

Dear Trying,

I’m glad to know that you are managing well during the deployment. Keep persevering as best you can - every day gets closer to your husband’s return.

Regarding the crazy things that you see going on, stay out of it! Please don’t tell your husband about what your neighbors are doing.

Think about what this would do to a man to hear that his wife is entertaining other men in his house while he is away fighting in a war. No good can come from this.

I’m not sure what your motive would be for doing this. It would only cause more heartache and chaos.

Our service members are trying to serve their country and stay alive. Each day they are required to be alert, focused and protect the people serving with them while protecting themselves. If you sent the message, ‘Your wife is entertaining men in your home, this would cause much disruption that could be devastating.

My suggestion is stay out of it. When your husband calls you, continue to let him know how much you love him and that you’re waiting for his return.

Your neighbor may not be making a wise decision, but it’s none of your business. Please keep your mouth closed.

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times on Thursday and Sunday. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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