Dear Dr. Buckingham
My wife and I have been married for seven years and together for 13. I found out last a few months ago that she has had multiple sex partners since we have been married and before. In all my previous relationships I was the one cheating. In this one I have not, although she has complained about me watching porn. Our families are blended. This is my second marriage, her first. We are both in our 50’s. I’m not above forgiving her but I don’t want to waste my time. I put a hidden camera in our home and a GPS in our car. So far, she is doing the right thing. But, who wants to live with a spouse they don’t trust?
We are starting counseling soon. I know I’m still being lied to about the nature of a relationship with someone she knew before me who is my step-daughter’s Godfather. Questions: About the Godfather, should I tell his wife? (I am going to confront her about it during the counseling). How much do I really want to know about what she has done? What is the probability of success from your experience? I am going to give us a chance for a number of reasons but I’m trying to stay realistic. What are your thoughts please? Will being Realistic Save My Marriage?
Dear Mr. Realistic,
I appreciate the fact that you are willing to forgive your wife, but want to be realistic in your approach as you move forward. It is important to balance optimism and realism. Optimism is associated with positive thinking and sometimes individuals make bad decisions even when they want what is best. However, wanting what is best in marriage and ignoring facts typically leads to continued distrust.
The best approach is to embrace realism. You accept the situation as it and prepare yourself to deal with it accordingly. Obviously, I disagree with the home and car surveillance, but am excited to hear that you all will be starting counseling soon. Also, I am excited to hear that you plan to express your concerns in a structured and therapeutic environment.
Your perspective about wasting your time should be determined by your motivation for wanting to remain married and the true condition of your heart. If you are truly interested in forgiving your wife then you will have to work hard to trust her without surveillance. God should be your surveillance because he can see everything without intrusion. What does this mean? Turn your worrying over to God and do what you can do to positively influence your marriage.
Ask the counselor to help you confront your wife about her alleged affair with your stepdaughter’s godfather. Do not go into therapy without having a plan for expressing your concerns about her potential affair. How you approach the situation will determine how it is received and the outcome. In regards to securing information about what your wife has done, be careful not to solicit information that your heart cannot handle. What do you plan on doing with the information? Sometimes we want to know things that do not help us. Determine if knowing will help you heal or hurt you.
Your ability to successfully save your marriage and restore trust in your wife will be determined by the efforts that you both put into the recovery process. Understanding facts and dealing with them is totally different. In my experience, I have found that individuals experience success in situations similar to yours when they are able to deal with problems in an effective and practical ways. This means that they allow logic and their behavior to guide them, not blind love and emotional emptiness.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to [email protected]
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.