You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Dear Dr. Sherry,
My husband and I have been together on and off for about 15 years and we have three children together. Recently I found out that he cheated on me with a mutual friend. I have cut her off completely but decided to work things out with my husband. The problem is, I don't want him to touch, hug or attempt to kiss me. Every time he comes near me, my skin crawls because I’m thinking about that other woman. Now I'm wondering if our marriage was worth working out if we cannot be intimate.
After almost 15 years of marriage and three children, I am sure you are furious about this. To add insult to injury, your husband cheated with a mutual friend. Really!? Unfortunately, you may have been her friend but she was not yours. You may have cut off physical contact with her and even busted their affair, but that does not mean anything if they are emotionally involved.
Your hurt and anger are definitely understandable. Once you find out that your loved one has cheated, it is very difficult to get that warm and fuzzy feeling back. It takes time to rebuild trust in a relationship. Before you start the process, you must be able to forgive that person. I am not sure if you have forgiven your husband for cheating on you. You may not be ready to forgive him and it is not an easy task. When I talk about forgiveness, I am not talking about giving "lip service" but rather emotionally forgiving him.
Right now, your intense anger is keeping you in the mode of wanting to punish him. By punishing him, you are punishing yourself. I strongly recommend that you seek marital therapy if you want a healthy marriage. You and your husband must be honest with yourselves and with each other. You have to ask yourself if you will ever be able to get beyond this and be intimate with him again. You may or you may not but you must be honest with yourself. His cheating is only one symptom of other longstanding problems with your relationship. While you must deal with the cheating, there are issues before the cheating occurred that must be addressed. Marital therapy with a qualified therapist is necessary to work through issues. If both of you believe that your marriage is worth saving, then get ready to put the hard work in to save it. Remember, it takes both of you wanting the marriage to make it work. Your problems maybe serious but not necessarily hopeless! -- Dr. Sherry
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