I can’t trust my wife after I found out she cheated on me

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 30s. In autumn of last year, I discovered my wife, who is about the same age, cheated on me.

When I found exchanges of suspicious texts on LINE and questioned her, she said she went out with a man who was a client from her work.

I believed her when she said she only kissed him and that she was not thinking of divorce. However, a few days later, I found out the man she had been having an affair with was a single, senior colleague at work with whom she had been sexually involved for six months.

My entire family stayed home due to the state of emergency in spring last year. I sometimes yelled at my children when they were too noisy or fought with each other.

My wife said she couldn’t tell me directly about her burden at home, nor could she get her own mother to listen about her problems. So she consulted a senior colleague at her work, and that’s how the affair started.

I tried to remedy the situation by having my wife write a pledge not to have another affair and filing a claim for financial compensation against the man she was having the affair with.

Of course I still love my wife, and I want to avoid a divorce for the sake of our children. But I still don’t trust my wife, and I don’t feel safe unless I am monitoring her. I have been visiting a psychotherapist.

W, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Mr. W:

I’m sorry for your painful experience. I’m sure you must be very exhausted, and I admire your open-mindedness in forgiving your wife’s mistakes.

However, the fundamental problem has not been solved. If you monitor her, you may be able to control her behavior. You also might have been relieved of your sorrow by obtaining compensation. However, none of that means your relationship with your wife has changed.

She cheated on you because she didn’t have anyone close to talk to about her problems. Unless her situation improves, she will never feel better.

You need to rebuild an intimate relationship together with your wife to keep your family intact.

Do you tell your wife that you love her with your words and attitude? Have you asked her how she feels about you? It may seem scary after all this time, but you need to make sure you are both on the same page.

If it’s still too difficult for you to talk about your feelings directly to her, ask a close friend you both have in common to act as an intermediary.

Also, since you have been seeing a psychotherapist, you could get couples counseling or ask for an introduction to a place where you can get counseling. It may require some expense, but I think you will find that the results will be beneficial.

Masahiro Yamada,

university professor