March 27, 2019
If a couple doesn’t find the courage to talk about what’s troubling them, even when they both know it well, it is time to seek for the help of a therapist to save the relationship they expect to have.
I got married when I was 18, and more than two decades have passed from that day. During this time, we experienced different things within the relationship with my husband.
He went bankrupt several times and I was always there to support him no matter what. At one time, I was addicted to alcohol and he helped me overcame this.
Something it is clear now, I do not love him the way I did 20 years ago. And the same thing is true for him towards me. But we respect each other dearly.
I respect him for bringing food to our table, and he respects me for the kind of sons I raised for the two of us. It is a stretch to call us husband and wife, but we like to think of it, more like two parents running a company called family.
Anyway, that was what I thought until now.
It was maybe about 2 years ago when an unpleasant situation happened. I was driving our child to the kindergarten, and about a few miles down the road, the kid realized he had left his special teddy bear back at home.
The boy started yelling so loudly, that I had no choice other than to come back home looking for the toy. By the way, thank God the kid stayed in the car because what I saw when I entered the house would have destroyed him.
I quietly went up the stairs and went into my son's room, I saw our housekeeper kneeling before my husband. That's when it hit me. Suddenly everything was so clear.
I'm glad they didn't have the chance to start anything this time. He got all nervous and explained the situation claiming he was punishing her for not cleaning the floor properly.
There wasn't even a rag near them, I decided to let it slide. I was running late, and the baby was in the vehicle, so I just grabbed the teddy bear and went out.
It was, of course, an unpleasant thing to see, but I understood that I wasn’t all he wanted in his life, so I pretended I didn't know anything and started to take advantage of this for the sake of the family.
I decided to run some blood tests on the housekeeper to make sure she was healthy and disease-free because I knew it was best to let my husband cheat on me with a housekeeper than with some other casual woman.
He wasn't an idiot, though. My husband knew that I knew what was going on. We've been married for a long time, and we know each other perfectly.
I even allowed him to sleep with our housekeeper. I figured I couldn't compete with her young and beautiful Dominican body. I told nobody about this except for my mom. No wonder she hated him and said that we needed a divorce.
Unfortunately, after a year of that "undercover" relationship, my husband started to behave like a reliable partner and stopped hiding it.
At first, he started to flirt with her in front of me, and I acted like I didn't care because I didn't. But one day, he was out of himself and grabbed the housekeeper's butt in front of me and our eldest son. My husband felt like he was a master and had power over the situation.
Even though I don't care who he sleeps with, I certainly can't let it slide the fact that he disrespected me in front of the children. But again, as I said before, we have always supported each other through thick and thin, and maybe this is one of those times, right?
I don't know what to do. How can I explain this to my kids? What should I do with the housekeeper? Can anybody help me to face this situation in the best possible way? Should I just get divorced or try to go to a therapist? I'm confused.”
Dr. Erika Myers, a licensed psychotherapist and divorce consultant who writes for "Good Therapy," had to guide a woman who asked her for advice about a similar situation to the one in the letter above, and it sounds really helpful.
She has an interesting approach to the dilemma of a wife who knows her husband is seeing somebody else but chooses not to do anything about it. According to Myers, a person has to draw the line when it stops working for her or him, and not simply follow convention or learned expectations.
“It’s very easy to get caught up in ‘shoulds’ and external expectations and lose sight of the fact you and your partner may choose to create a satisfying life together that might seem unconventional to others,” Myers wrote.
One of the most important things that must happen in order for a couple to make this unconventional “agreement” to work out, as Myers said, is that the two should be able to openly talk about it and establish some limits.
If the two assume that the other knows and doesn’t care, most chances are both are actually afraid or not comfortable enough to face the subject, and this has implications.
Not only the woman who wrote this letter sounded bitter even in the parts when she insists on how little she cares about what her husband does, but she didn’t talk it through either.
In the end, he went farther than what she was willing to tolerate. By then, when things had gone that far between the housekeeper and her husband, it was all way much harder to address.
“Keeping big secrets tends to undermine relationships rather than foster healthy, stable ones. It may work in the short term, but think about how much energy is going into each of you pretending the affair is not happening,” added Myers.
January 21, 2019