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If you ask most people what they think is the main sign of betrayal in a relationship, they will usually say that they have been cheated on. This is something many of us fear. And if and when that happens, most people see it as a deal breaker – but not everyone.
That’s the case for this week’s reader, Louise. “My husband is cheating with a much younger girl, the age difference is 25 years. I’m trying so hard to win him back, but he just seems to choose her. We have children and have been together for 20 plus years. How to make him stop choosing her,” writes Louise.
What would you say to this reader?
A member of the consulting directory Atlanta Rayner asks why Louise thinks it’s her job to get him back. “I was wondering if the two of you could work together on a new relationship,” she says.
“Most people end their primary relationships when their needs are not being met.
“In this case it was your husband, but it could have been you. You may want to consider when you feel things have changed for you, whether your needs are being met and whether there are any communication and/or intimacy issues.’
Advisory Directory Member Dr. Joe Lindemann agree that it’s easy to assign blame, but if we want clarity, we need to understand both sides.
“Has this happened before? What does your husband lack in your relationship? Is he unhappy and why? Did he fall out of love with you?” Lindemann says.
Is it bad that she wants to go back to her husband?
Reiner says there is a choice to leave, merge or change. “All these options require a lot of work. Unfortunately, there is no easy way, but finding answers is a start. You want to find the best way forward for each person. The choices you both make now will affect your children’s future relationships,” she adds.
“The best way forward is to understand what happened and both move forward from it to a better relationship together or to a new relationship, but not repeating the same patterns.”
Lindeman wants Louise to remember that she has a choice, she is not a victim.
“You can try to repair and mend your relationship, or you can stop fighting,” she says. “In my experience, relationships only work in the long run if they are equal relationships. Is he equal? And what about YOU? Are you happy in your relationship?”
Lindeman continues, “Why would you settle for someone who cheats on you or treats you badly. I often see people who put up with being mistreated or cheated on because they believe they don’t deserve better. Perhaps there are deeper issues here that you should explore.’
What are some practical tips in this situation?
“Find the best way forward for yourself. Put yourself in charge, become more self-aware, seek knowledge to help you understand triggers, stress and the healing cycle,” says Rayner.
She suggests that Louise try walking counseling par with her husband, and she also recommends CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as talking therapies that can help.
Louise should reach out to her support network and expand it when she needs it, says Reiner, who also recommends reading about why people have affairs and listening to podcasts and Ted Talks. “Write about all your feelings,” she adds. “Listen to your body and the feedback it gives you.
Love Stuck is for anyone who’s hit a romantic wall, whether you’re single or have been married for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here.