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Carolyn Hax / Life Advice

Loves Husband and Another

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have a happy marriage to a great guy with two fantastic kids. I am also having an affair with a man whom I have fallen in love with. I really don't know what to do.

I am stressed out by the crushing guilt that I feel for cheating on and betraying my husband, and fear that my actions could lead to the breakup of our happy family. But, I just feel like I cannot end the affair. I really love this other person, and I feel caught in a terrible situation that is 100 percent my fault.

I don't want to leave my husband for the other man, but I know the current situation likely can't last forever. I am lost and confused as to how I ended up in this situation. Should I seek counseling? Would it do any good given my rock-and-a-hard-place situation? Please help, I can't talk to anyone about this, and I feel like I'm going to explode!

-- Do I Need Therapy??

Yes, counseling, ASAP. You seem to think it won't change anything, but I wager it will -- in part because yours is a situation that's very hard to sustain when spoken out loud. The stories you're telling yourself are credible only in your own mind, and trying to articulate them to someone else is often a quick way to expose that.

Another argument for counseling: You need to get your emotions under control.

You also need to swap out your fatalism for willpower; there's no rock-and-hard-place here, there are only your choices. You just want to believe the narrative you've constructed that tells you otherwise.

Tackling all three of these is a realistic goal from therapy with a skilled provider. Get moving, for your poor kids if no one else.

...continued

Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group



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