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Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘My Wife Is An Uncontrollable Cheater’

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Dr Sherry Profile Two

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...

Dr. Sherry,

My wife has been having an affair for the last four years. She has been caught several times, and after each one there would be some outward sign of change—grueling two-hour sessions twice a month with a counselor, individual counseling with two additional counselors, attending weekly Bible study, informing family members, tears, promises and all of that. The impact on our three kids plays a huge role in me coming back each time.

Well, I’ve reached my limit with the latest incident. I discovered that her lover is married to someone I knew and liked a lot in high school, and I am still friends with her on Facebook today. Should I tell her about what her husband has been doing for the last four years? My primary concern is that if she found out that I knew and said nothing, I would be guilty of not doing the right thing.

I do question my motives for wanting to tell her, but at the same time, I am a strong believer in beating someone to the punch. It’s always better to tell someone before rather than after the fact.

Best,
Anonymous Husband In Need

Dear Anonymous,

Given that your wife has been having an affair for four years, why are you even surprised about her latest rendezvous with your friend's husband? It is quiet apparent that she has zero respect for you, your children or anyone else. She also has no respect for herself.  It sounds as if she goes through a litany of things to suggest that she is trying to change but she never actually does.

She may have a sex addition and need long term professional help. As long as you and others continue to tolerate her repeated cheating behaviors, she has no need to change or seek serious help.

Four years is a long time to be cheated on and lied to by the person you are married to and the mother of your children. The real question is, why do you remain with her? Is it for love? It seems like the love has been long gone. Is it for the children? If so, that is questionable to me. You have already told me that her behavior has had a huge impact on the children. Yet, you allow them to remain in the situation, and you join them there. You must be honest with yourself and process your feelings.

To tell or not to tell your friend that her husband has been cheating with your wife depends on what you hope to gain from doing so. You’ve told me that if she found out that you knew and said nothing, you would feel guilty of not doing the right thing. It sounds as if you believe that telling her is the right thing. What would be your real motive in telling her? Are you hoping that she will do something that you have not been able to do, like leave? Maybe you have thoughts of being with your friend and this would relieve any guilt that you may feel. If you are planning on doing something beyond sharing this information, then tell her.  If not, why waste your time? Your friend may have a husband with a long history of cheating like your wife. If you tell her, she may become angry with you for staying with your wife. So, be careful and understand why you chose to do whatever you decide to do. Remember, you cannot change your wife, but you can change how you respond to her cheating behaviors and what you do next for your family. – Dr. Sherry

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