My wife and I have been together for eight years. Last year we had a falling out and she cheated on me with another man. She wound up pregnant and begged for me to come back. I love her so much, so I did. Her attitude was the best I've seen in years towards me, but recently she's gone back to treating me like garbage. I am a very affectionate man, and when I touch her she pushes me away. She won't tell me how she feels about me. Any suggestions would be very helpful. If it doesn't stop soon, the inevitable will happen. Please help!
Most people think that being in love is the most important element to making a relationship work. The truth is, it just isn’t! In order to have a long-term satisfying marriage, the two key elements that are necessary are trust and respect.
Clearly, when one spouse has had an affair, the foundation of the relationship has been broken. You demonstrated quite a strength of character by forgiving her because you loved her so much, and it seems she was most appreciative of that gesture since her immediate response was so positive toward you.
There are so many reasons that affairs take place; and I want you to know that as painful as they are, couples can heal from them. Often, their marriages are stronger after work is done to repair the partnership.
The Road to Recovery
When I work with couples who are committed to saving their marriage, I first help them to heal from the breach that has taken place. This is an important step. Emotions do not go away just by moving on. And so, if the incident and all the resultant pain is not discussed somewhere down the road, the negative feelings will resurface at some point down the line and this is what may be occurring here.
After this initial work the marriage, itself, is explored. Please note that I said there are many reasons affairs occur. Sometimes it is because there have been difficulties in the relationships—ones that might not have even been obvious to the couple. The affair serves the purpose of bringing to light that there was a problem that needs to be addressed.
From what you’ve written, it certainly sounds like there are issues that need further exploration. It seems odd that from one falling out your wife would cheat on you; I wonder if there has been a lot more tension between the two of you that has not been attended to. Also, her unwillingness to tell you how she feels may be due to some fear whether it is reality based or not.
It seems to me that the two of you need to seek professional help. Let your wife know that you truly want your marriage to work and that you are very willing to learn how to make it better. When looking for a therapist, make sure that you inquire as to whether the person has had experience working with couples who have had affairs.
Again … as painful as this situation is, it can turn around and provide a very fruitful one to pave the road to a wonderful marriage!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is the author of "Mindfulness and the Art of Choice: Transform Your Life" and co-author of "Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last." You can sign up for her free monthly newsletter with relationship tips at www.ChoiceRelationships.com