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Dear DSO,

I know you talk about having to move on and get over your wife after she cheats on you, but it’s not so easy for some guys. My wife and I have been married for 17 years. We have two kids. We work together. Her dad owns the business where I work. It’s a business that has been in a her family for a really long time. My wife does not want to divorce. If I decided to divorce her, I’d probably lose my high-paying job with her dad’s business. I really don’t have much in the way of a resume that will help me get another good job. The job market sucks right now.  Where would I live? My parents live a thousand miles away. I can’t move there because then I wouldn’t see my kids. If we divorced, she’d probably get the kids almost full-time because I’m a dad with no money.

 

I’m basically stuck. She had one affair two years ago, and now I just discovered another. I love her still, but I’m starting to lose attraction to her. I can’t stand to lay down next to her at night. We stopped having sex almost completely after the first affair was discovered. Now I usually spend the nights sleeping on the couch.

 

I just want my life back.

 

So I just wanted to let you know that’s it not so easy for some of us out there.

Gary

Dear Gary,

First, I’m sorry to hear about your situation, brother. I can’t imagine the stress.  But, you’re right. It’s not so easy for everyone. It’s not as easy as sayin, “See ya, bitch!” for a lot of guys. Kids complicate things a great deal. Add to that your unique job situation, and your world just got a hell of a lot tougher than most.

Your situation illustrates two hugely important things:

  1. Don’t make yourself dependent upon your spouse for your livelihood. Ideally, you want to be the guy that doesn’t NEED his wife. The more you NEED her to function day-to-day, the higher the chances are that you will fail the relationship game.
  2. You really need to better vet your relationship candidate. Red flags? Run. I’m wiling to bet there were a plethora of red flags early on in the relationship that you ignored. Then you kept digging the hole deeper and deeper and find yourself in this predicament.

She currently holds all of the cards. This is not an even contest, by any stretch. You WILL completely fail at this game eventually. I realize you probably think you’re failing pretty hard at life already, but things will inevitably get much worse for you. It’s just a matter of time. She will at some point land an affair partner that will be dumb enough to declare her the love of his life, and you will quickly see divorce papers on your desk. She’ll make the big awful decision for you.  She has already replaced you in her mind, now she just needs to iron out the all the logistical stuff about ending your relationship. Step 1 of that plan is to get a new man and to make sure he sticks around (the other two affair partners probably used her for sex and weren’t interested in committing). Step 2 is to then cut ties with you completely. This is where she may try to get the kids away from you, lie about you, take money, make your life hell, etc.

The ideal relationship is one where two people that are completely independent and fine on their own get together because they love and adore each other and want to help each other go through the adventure of life. The more all of the facets of their respective lives intertwine, the more trouble pops up. If her hobbies becomes yours, if mom-in-law is living with you full-time, if you only hang out with her friends, if you work side-by-side, if the in-laws sign your paychecks, etc… that all leads to further intertwining of the two worlds and a whole lot of trouble.

Lawyer up. Now. You don’t have to file. But you need to be prepared. The lawyer can tell what to do and what not to do to prepare yourself for the inevitable.

Good luck, my friend.

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