Riding the Marriage Waves

Blane gives marriage advice on what to do when your hubby — or your good friend’s — might be cheating.

Q: I have been married to “Mr. Baseball” for just over 10 years and I feel like it is time for me to make an important decision. He was a standout baseball player (and also a few years in the pros) and big man on campus (president of student body, popular, etc.). I met him several years later, we dated, fell in love, and married. Things were great. I was working and he was coaching. He traveled frequently, which was understandable. But then he started staying out more and more “with the guys” and then he would not come home until the next day. We had children and he eventually settled down and has been a good father. We have never discussed anything about the past — that is not his thing. Our life together is not bad, even though I am no longer in love with him and he probably feels the same about me. But sometimes (and it seems to be more often lately) I feel so angry about how he treated me and I feel a bitterness toward him. I try to convince myself that he has changed and is a good parent, but I am so confused about what to do. Our friends have no idea about any of this, and I’ve kept it a secret for many years. – Angry


A: I’m still in a fog from too much turkey and college football, so pardon the weird analogy I’m about to make. When you’re at the helm of a motor boat and you’re facing a nasty wave, you’re supposed to hit it at kind of an angle. That way, it’s not quite as jarring to the boat and its passengers, but you’re still taking on the wave and moving forward.


I think that’s how you need to approach this situation. There are years of pent-up hurt and anger here – one big swell of emotion that could drown everything in its path, including your husband, who probably has no idea how you feel. So take it at an angle instead of directly head-on. By that I mean continue the process you’ve started here and keep unloading — but not yet to your husband. Grab a journal or a legal pad and get your thoughts on paper, the same way you wrote to me. Find a trustworthy friend and a bottle of vino (or three), and just ask her to listen. Of course, therapy is a good option, too, though one you might want to pursue on your own, at least initially.


Hopefully, as you go through these channels, you’ll start to unravel the whys in all of this: why you put up with his behavior, why you didn’t say anything to him or anyone else, and why you’re so angry about it now. I think trying to answer those first will help you arrive at your next step: what you want to happen.


Finally, at some point you will need to tell your husband how you feel, and hopefully, angling into the swell will have you much better prepared to weather whatever comes next. Talking about the past may not be “his thing,” but if staying with you is, there’s no other way to get through this.


Q: I think my friend’s husband might be cheating on her and I’m not sure what I can do to help her. She’s been struggling over this for the past few months and it’s eating away at her. My friend is adamant that the “other woman” is someone who works in his department. She’s even scrolled through his texts and e-mails and found some incriminating evidence, but he found a way to deny it.


I’m sure I’m the only one she’s talking to about this, and she’s asking my advice all the time. On the one hand, I think her husband is pond scum for putting her through this. On the other hand, she DOES have a tendency to overreact and be controlling and possessive. Not that that is any reason or excuse for someone to cheat. Sometimes I want to tell her that she should give him another chance and they should try to work it out. (They have two small children and they are otherwise terrific parents.) Other times it seems like they haven’t a chance because of his behavior and the broken trust. Please, what can I do to help her? – Torn Friend


A: Just keep being the superstar friend that you have with your presence and concern – and try to keep mum about what you think she should do and excessive badmouthing of his pond scum ways. Should she decide to stay with him – which she probably will – you’ll end up looking like the bad guy. At least she’s talking to someone, lest she be writing a letter like the one above to an advice columnist 10 years from now.

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