Dear Amy: My husband had an affair eight years ago, but it feels like I found out yesterday. I hurt every day.
I filed for divorce when I found out. He begged for a second chance and ended the affair, and I took him back.
When I want to talk about my feelings, it ends up in a fight, with him saying that I should be over it and that he’s not the same person.
I have so much anger inside that I am wondering if counseling would help me deal with my issues, or if it’s even possible to move on from this.
What do you think?
– Still Hurting, Still Angry
Dear Hurting: Yes, counseling could help both of you to recover from this betrayal. Discussing this might lead you to also unpack aspects of other relationships, going back through time.
A well-matched therapist will guide you, and you will come to understand that you can actually feel your negative feelings and emotions, and then release them.
This episode has engulfed many years of your life. It sits as a wedge in your marriage, interfering with your ability to regain intimacy and trust.
Your husband’s reaction to your attempts to discuss this is unkind and unfair. He may be responding to his own fear of facing accusations – when for you, discussing your own feelings, and perhaps hearing an acknowledgment and bid for forgiveness would help you to heal.
If he expects you to “get over it,” he should be brave enough to be with you every step of the way.
But you cannot count on your husband to respond in any particular way. Therapy can help you to recognize this reality – and face it.
There are many books relating to healing from an affair. My own long-ago experience taught me that after the anger and sadness, forgiveness would be my liberating path.
Dear Amy: On several occasions I have loaned my former co-worker, “Cal,” a portable oxygen concentrator that was used by my deceased husband.
Cal’s wife, whom I have never met, requires nearly full-time oxygen use and the concentrator makes her frequent trips out of state to visit family much easier than hauling canisters, which is the only alternative her insurance provides.
The concentrator also enables her to fly on these trips, as canisters are mostly prohibited by airlines.
The last time he borrowed it was six months ago. I had forgotten about Cal borrowing it, but texted him a couple of months ago to check in.
Before I could mention it, he apologized for not contacting me and asked if his wife could use it one more time in the following week, and then he would bring it back.
I said of course.
That was the last time I heard from him.
I am conflicted on how to handle this. I am disappointed in this person and feel he has just decided to keep the concentrator unless I specifically demand that he return it.
I don’t need it and had actually considered giving it to him when he first asked to borrow it.
Should I just let it go?
I’ve considered blocking all communication from him as a way to draw a definitive line though any presumed friendship we had.
I guess I am mostly disappointed that someone who pretended to be a friend is apparently a user.
Dear Upset: “Cal” has a lot on his plate. Helping to care for someone on oxygen is a heavy lift, as you know.
My understanding is that portable oxygen concentrators are medical devices that require a prescription. Let’s assume that Cal’s wife has been examined by her physician and that she has a prescription for this device.
Just as you had forgotten you had loaned this expensive and valuable item to Cal, isn’t it possible that returning it has slipped his mind?
I suggest that you go ahead and either offer to sell this to him at a very reasonable price, or go ahead and give the concentrator to him.
Doing so would make both of you feel better, and might inspire him to pay it forward, if the opportunity presents itself.
Dear Amy: “Mom” wrote to you, explaining her worry about disclosing to her eldest son that he was conceived through “artificial insemination.”
Nowhere does she state that she used a sperm donor, and yet you assumed that she had!
– Confused Reader
Dear Confused: You are right – I did make that assumption, which was based on the mother’s extreme concern about disclosure.