She had an affair with someone from the gym

Thank you to everyone who came to the Love Letters event last night. Liz Prince was funny and smart, and we had drinks and cheese and it was a lovely night. We'll announce some more Love Letters events very soon.

Dear Meredith,

I've been married to my wife for 11 years and we have been together for 20. I helped raise her daughter when she and I met. Additionally, we have had beautiful kids together. After our last child, my wife went through a lot of changes. Most of them positive. She became addicted to working out and really worked her way into great shape. Unfortunately, I recently found out that she had developed a strong relationship with someone at the gym. She just disclosed to me about five weeks ago that she had been carrying on an affair for a year. She was able to continue our marriage but compartmentalize me for a while. Once the dirt came out, she essentially went into a shell and has not come out. Knowing that I have a family and am willing to work through this, we did seek counseling and I can forgive her. I do wish it was a one-time thing, but she developed deep feelings for a married man who had no intention of leaving his wife.

They broke things off in June but I think she had a relapse in September. Unfortunately, she just has not been able to work through her feelings and has developed a distrust of me?!? I can't understand it because she was the unfaithful one. I don't know whether I should continue to stand by her until she can come out of her shell and become honest with me, or whether I should leave her. She has stopped communication and basically all of her friends have abandoned her. They don't want to deal with the drama.

– What Now

It sounds like your wife's "shell" is what she uses for protection as she processes her feelings for this man and accepts the fact that he won't leave his wife. Now that she's told you the truth about the last two years of her life, she's decided that she doesn't have to compartmentalize. She can just be bummed and confused in front of you. She's no longer faking it.

You went to a counselor to figure out whether you could forgive her, but you're not done. The professional help must continue as you decide whether forgiveness means staying together. She'd have to accept the loss of her other relationship, address her misplaced trust issues, and then fall for you all over again. You'd have to stick it out during that process, which could be painful.

Keep getting help (separately and together) and understand that if she's just months out of this other relationship, this decision will take time.

Readers? Is it too soon for him to know whether he can forgive this? What about the shell? Is the gym addiction part of the issue? What about what's happening with her friends?

– Meredith