Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cheatin' Hearts Are Tormented

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cheatin' Hearts Are Tormented

Article excerpt

I JUST took an emergency call from my exchange. When I called the person back, she could hardly talk because she was crying so hard. I told the woman to breathe deeply and tell me what was going on. She whimpered, "You've probably heard this story before, but my husband is having an affair. I just found out two days ago. I can't stop crying. I can't eat. I can't sleep."

I asked if she had told anyone. She said she'd told a sister.

Was the sister helpful?

"Yes and no," she cried. "She tells me to throw the bum out. But I'm so mixed up. We have three children."

I asked her children's ages. They were all under 10.

She asked if I could see her that day. She didn't know what to do. I said I couldn't see her but I would get her a therapist.

In the meantime, I told her that I would tell her what to do.

My advice: Don't tell your children why you're upset. They're too young. They know you're upset. The oldest might even guess why. But you don't need to tell them about the affair. Tell them instead, `I'm sad, but I will be OK. You can give me some kisses and hugs.'

Second, since she doesn't know what the future will bring, I told her not to call their family and friends and tell them. Although calling might give her some relief, in the end this decision might not serve her well. Later, if she leaves the marriage, she may choose to share this information.

Next, I asked if she was religious. She said no and sounded a little nervous. I said OK. I explained that I ask questions to help me figure out what to tell her. If she were religious, I would have asked her to tell me her favorite prayer. I might have assigned her to say the prayer over and over in the next few weeks. …

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