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PHYSICIAN HUSBAND CHEATS ON PhD WIFE
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: I am a 35 year old professor, mother of 2 boys who are 5 and 2 years old. I am married to a 37 year old physician and workaholic. For the past 10 years, he has been a wonderful, loving, honest man. But after our second son was born, we started to drift apart because he worked 28 days out of the month and I was left to take care of 2 small children. I know our relationship suffered and I tried to reach out to him but he didn't reciprocate enough to make a difference. I was completely devastated to find that since April 2008, he started having an affair with a 40 year old clerk at a nursing home. I found out in August. We had been trying to work things out. But he kept telling me that he could not give up the other woman even though he knew it was a dead end relationship. He felt "rejuvenated" by her. We went to counseling, but he lied saying he wasn't seeing her, when he was seeing her.

Then, on my son's 2nd birthday on December 11, 2008, my husband promised that things have to change. That he only
wants his family and can't understand why this "compulsion" has caused him to become a "monster." Unfortunately, at 4 am the next morning, the mistress called our house wailing that her father died. That was it. My husband went straight to her. Within a week, my husband moved into his mistress' apartment and has been there for 6 weeks. This past weekend, he rented a home with her. His parents came running from 3 thousand miles away to help and talk sense into him. But the mistress did not let him out of his cage to even meet with his parents more than a few times and only during the day. In the evenings, he has to stay with her because she's very insecure. He has hardly come to see the children and when he does, she insists on coming along. He will never see them alone.

He seems to be in a "trance." He cannot go anywhere without her and he's constantly in touch with her by phone. He told his parents that the relationship with her may not work out but he "has to try it." He leased a new Lexus, got a new tacky wardrobe, and she made him wax his eyebrows. It's as if he's a completely different man. He had told me before that he worries about this woman's stability and that he "feels responsible for her." But she has a terrible temper and hurls obscenities at him when she's angry.

I just don't understand what is happening. This is not to cultural values that we were brought up with. We are Indian and this woman is Mexican. We have nothing in common culturally or religiously, etc. with her. I love my husband and want him back. We had a deep love for so many years. Please help me!  V

MLB ANSWER:  Hi V – first let me say that you have excellent grammar.  ;o)  Concerning the situation involving your husband, I have to commend you for keeping a cool head – trying to think things through, and take the logical steps of counseling plus having his parents talk to him, etc.  I have been through what you are going through (minus the children), and I know how hard and emotionally draining the whole thing can be.

In my mind, your husband is having a classic midlife crisis.   He sees this other woman, and thinks “the grass is greener” (see The Grass is Greener Syndrome in the section here called Your Midlife Crisis).  He has already risked everything (you, his children, the approval of his family, possibly his financial security, etc.) by acting on his fantasy.  The consequences of his actions just have not fully caught up with him yet.  And there are ALWAYS consequences … not to mention “bad karma” … from situations like this.  If she is as psycho as you describe (see What Makes a Woman Turn Psycho in Short Midlife Articles, and also Types of Women – Psycho), then sooner or later, your husband is going to lose his infatuation with her.   Believe me – I’ve dated plenty of psycho women … and after the burning hot sex wears off, it just hurts to listen to the sound of their voice.   You also describe some codependent behavior on his part … like he has to be always calling her, or be physically with her … and because of his wardrobe and grooming changes, he is obviously constantly seeking her approval.  I guarantee you all of that is going to get old!  So in my mind, it is simply a matter of time before your husband realizes what a huge mistake he has made.  And at that point … depending on the timing plus what has possibly transpired (like a divorce, etc.) then he may or may not come crawling back to you.

Everything in the last paragraph is about your husband.  Now let’s talk about YOU.  You cannot control the actions of any other person on this planet.  You can only control what you do, and what you think.  I’m not suggesting that you try to figure out what you did wrong … because that is not productive, and it won’t change your current outcome/situation.  I mean – you can always learn from any mistakes you may have made … but that’s not my point.   Really your best bet is to take a mental and emotional inventory of where you are at right now, and decide on a course of action moving forward.  Here are some things to think about:

  1. If he wants to come back, do you really want him back?
  2. How much time needs to pass before you answer a definite “no” to question 1)?
  3. Assuming he stays with this woman, how can you influence him or the situation so that he gets to spend good quality time with your children?
  4. What are you doing for yourself right now?  Have you thought at all about dating?  You are obviously a very intelligent woman with a nice income – so I’m guessing that you would find dating not that hard.  Plus it might be good for your ego.

There are a lot of resources and perspectives on cheating and how people have coped – all right here on midlifebachelor.com.   You might check out the ASK MIDLIFE BACHELOR Index Page … then hit the “Cheating” tab, and read through many of those situations.   There is also the Midlife Forum – where people bounce ideas off of one another about all sorts of things … including infidelity.

My main advice to you is that you should figure out in your own mind what the boundaries are of when/how you might take your husband back.   After you’ve done that, I’d say it is time for you to do some things for yourself – to make yourself happy … whether that means dating or going to the gym or ???   Do something nice for yourself … and also for your children.   Good luck – let me know how things go.

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