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Ask Dr. Sherry: 'My Husband Is a Deacon and Repeat Cheater'

A wife who’s tired of catching her husband stepping out on her asks Dr. Sherry what to do next.

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,

I’ve been a married women for 15 years and two years ago I found out my husband was having an affair. It was hard, but I forgave him. A few days ago I found out he is having a new affair with someone else. We have two children ages 17 and 15. He is a deacon and very active in the church. I need and want to leave. Our children know something is wrong. We hardly talk or even look at each other. He is not a bad man but he just found someone else. I lost my father and my oldest son less than two years ago. Life is to short to not be happy. Any advice you have will be appreciated. Please help!

I am very sorry about the loss of your father and son. I am sure that must have been emotionally tough for you to deal with two deaths of loved ones in less than two years. Now, before you can fully heal and complete the grieving process, you are facing another death – the end of your marriage. You see, your marriage is on life support and you are struggling with pulling the plug. Because your husband is a deacon and very active in church, this will be even harder for you to do.

Unfortunately, church congregations often knowingly or unknowingly put pressure on women to present as the “proverbial” virtuous women regardless of what is really going on at home. As a deacon’s wife, you are expected to respond with “great, blessed, and highly favored” when you’re asked how are you doing. Women often present this image while crying inside for the sake of protecting their family or out of fear of others knowing “our business.” At ages of 17 and 15, your children may not only know that something is wrong but what is wrong too. You are taking care of everyone except yourself. You have learned to justify and excuse your husband’s adulterous behaviors by saying that “he is not a bad man and he just found someone else.” That may or may not be true but he has cheated on you twice!

You are right; life is too short not to be happy. You deserve happiness in your life and you must take the responsibility of acquiring it. I suggest that you seek individual therapy to work through your losses and to figure out what happiness is for you. Everyone’s happiness looks and feels different. It is time that you find some true happiness. Once you are clear on what you want and need for happiness, I suggest some marital therapy to deal with the life support status. Keep in mind that you did not put him on life support, he did. But, only you can decide if and when you are ready to pull the plug on your marriage. — Dr. Sherry

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