My Wife Had An Affair; I’m Unsure How I Should Move Forward

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a self-employed man in my 50s. My wife, who is in her 30s, had an affair with a married man five years younger than her.

After telling me that she was going for a walk in the evening, she met him in a car in the parking lot of a nearby shopping mall. She says they only met twice and kissed in the car, but I don’t know what really happened.

My wife says she has no complaints about me and appreciates me doing laundry, washing dishes and cleaning the bathroom. She says she wanted to have an affair with him after he praised her and came to rely on her.

We’ve been married for nine years, and I never forget to praise and thank her every day. Now I wonder if my words of appreciation ever reached her.

My wife says she is sorry and doesn’t want to leave me. I also want to avoid divorce for the sake of our children, who are only 3- and 6-years-old.

My ex-wife also cheated on me, and we got divorced. My current wife and I have generally been seen as a good couple. We’ve had such happy and smile-filled days, but I now feel like I’m suffering a terrible ordeal.

As I work in the service industry, I’m trying my best to smile and work hard. But how should I feel about this?

— N, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Mr. N:

This situation must be truly painful. But I also see hope in the fact that you’re trying to get through this “terrible ordeal” without getting divorced.

Please be prepared that the happy life you had in the past will never return. Then, think about building a new relationship with your wife.

First, I believe you need to meet the man your wife had an affair with. Please make a new start by clearing your mind of doubts and suspicions about her and firmly settle your feelings.

Without holding in your pain, you also need to tell your wife how you really feel and ask her what she has in mind. I think what is most important is to find out how she really feels, instead of asking her to reflect on her actions.

You also have to stop being hung up on memories of “being seen as a good couple” and “having happy and smile-filled days.” I believe it’s important to speak your mind to each other sometimes, rather than just smiling on the surface.

Even at a young age, children are sensitive enough to feel discord between their parents. My answer may sound harsh, but I hope that you’ll recover as soon as possible and regain a peaceful life.

— Tomomi Fujiwara, writer