Dear Amy: My wife and I have been together for 15 years. We have three children.
I would describe our marriage as normal; we've gotten into arguments, but things always tend to bounce back to normal. There has not been any abuse of any kind. Our house is a healthy one.
About a year ago, she started a new job. After an argument, she said that we aren't soul mates, that I don't "get" her and that she thinks we should get a divorce.
In 15 years, she had never mentioned these things to me, so it came off as a red flag.
After some snooping, I found out she was Snapchatting with a male co-worker. I was devastated. I immediately went into save-my-marriage mode. We went to counseling, I worked on the aspects of my personality that she didn't like, and changed some behaviors. She promised to only maintain a professional relationship with the guy at work.
She has since canceled our counseling because she says it's not working. She has moved out, and I've found out she's been lying to me because she never stopped talking to him.
After looking through our cellphone bill, she would call him anywhere from two to six times a day, almost every day. When I confronted her, she claims he is only a friend, their conversations just flow and that he's a good sounding board, since he doesn't know our entire history. Am I a fool to believe this?
She says we should break up because of our past and brings up all of our past arguments. But I am willing to work on those things and try to become a better person, husband and father. Is she just using our past as an excuse to be with this guy? I've lost weight, have trouble sleeping and eating and have gone on antidepressants.
Amy says: Brother, I have walked in your shoes. I'm very sorry this is happening to you and your family. But it will get better for you.
Your wife says she has given up on counseling because it "isn't working." It's not working because she doesn't want it to.
At this point, I hope you will focus on your own health and healing — and on the emotional health of your children. In short, you cannot control you wife's feelings, or her actions. You do you.
A book which may put some of this behavior into focus is "Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity," by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli (2004, Atria Books). This classic "how to" on how to rebuild a relationship will put your wife's behavior into context. It also offers a road map to recovery, which might work for you (and your wife, if she is willing to try).
Reach out carefully
Dear Amy: I'm a 60-year-old single woman who recently lost a friend of 40 years to cancer.
My friend's husband, "Jack," 64, is a wonderful man and misses her terribly.
Jack and I spoke at some length at the memorial service and I sensed he could use some companionship.
He invited me to return to the memorial service venue after I took my mother home for what he said would be "the inner circle after-party." I didn't return, but now regret it, and want to contact him.
What is your guidance regarding a woman reaching out to a recent widower to offer her company?
All our mutual friends and family are watching; a misstep would cost me dearly.
Amy says: The only misstep I could imagine would be you throwing yourself at this new widower.
But you are not going to do that. You need only contact him to say, "I'm so sorry I wasn't able to attend the gathering after 'Jill's' service. How are you doing?"
Reach out in friendship, and follow his cues.
Send Ask Amy questions to Amy Dickinson at P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068 or to email@example.com. Twitter: @askingamy Facebook: @ADickinsonDaily.