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Living With Divorce

Wayward Husband Is a Repeat Offender

October 20, 1985|VIRGINIA DOODY KLEIN

Question: Years ago my husband had an affair. It was very painful for me, but we managed to come through it together. I even thought our marriage was stronger because of our mutual efforts, and we decided to have a baby.

While I was pregnant, he again had an affair. This time it lasted five months. I left him and filed for divorce. We are both so unhappy. He calls every day, begging me to forgive him and forget the past. He swears it will never happen again.

I love him, but how can I be sure that he means it this time? I don't know if it's possible to forget.

Answer: It's understandable that you are tied up in knots. Don't do anything about the divorce for the time being. Concentrate on family counseling for you and your husband. Finding out why he behaves as he does and what you both can do to strengthen your marriage is a first step toward deciding your course of action.

Q: My wife and I are both 22 and have been separated for nine months. We have a 3-year-old son. I am presently in jail, which is what caused our breakup.

I have been seeing a psychiatrist here, and he has helped me to realize that my upbringing has had a lot to do with our problems. I was abused and then left by my mother.

In my marriage I would do wrong things, subconsciously wanting to see how much my wife would take. I tested her to see if she would stick by me or leave, and I guess I pushed too far.

She does not know about my childhood, and I don't know if she would understand that what happened to me then has something to do with what's happened to us.

I don't want another woman, and she says she doesn't want another man. I'll be getting out in a couple of months, and I want to know how to get through the pain I've caused her and how to make her understand the past. I want her to know that I've changed, that I love her and want to be with her until death do us part. Please advise.

A: You've learned a lot in nine months' time. You sound articulate and sincere. Tell your wife what you've learned about yourself and your background. Make an appointment with your psychiatrist for the three of you. If this is not possible before your release or if the doctor does not see private clients, ask for a referral to someone on the outside and an explanation of your therapy to date. I'd bet on you. You sound like a winner.

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