Will I be able to get over his affair?

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I have been married for more than 30 years and have three grown children. Late last year, I discovered a phone/text/short-walks relationship my husband was having with an old schoolmate. It lasted about six weeks and ended because I discovered it. We decided to try to work on our marriage. Communication was never a strong point of mine, and my children were my priority. He, on the other hand, went along with this and never articulated his needs or wants because he felt I would not listen.

I feel I have been very open to his needs since this happened. I've been communicating more and doing things he prefers – like dinners out and hanging out without worrying about the day-to-day responsibilities, which is very unlike me. We've both tried to seek therapy separately, but no therapists respond back.

Recently I went through his phone again and discovered another text chain, which included some suggestive language. I confronted him about this and told him I wanted the truth or I would seek a court order to obtain the texts or actually contact the woman.

He disclosed that the affair started several years ago and that the last contact was last year. It started off as a physical affair until COVID hit, and then it seemed to be texts and phone calls off and on, every few months. I was only able to obtain the phone calls from my provider. After discovering this, I would confront him with my feelings. He was very distant and did not seem to want to be around me or our one child who still lives at home.

Needless to say, I had no idea the affair was happening. I feel so hurt and betrayed. I have no idea who he is now. I asked why he sought companionship with someone else, as opposed to coming to me. He said he assumed I would think his feelings were foolish. I think he's trying to blame me for his indiscretion.

I agree I may have been overwhelmed with work and family obligations, but I can't believe that is a good reason for him to be unfaithful. My question to you is: Do you think I will be able to get past this and forgive? Will it always be a lingering question?

– Hurt and Betrayed

You have go back to the drawing board with the therapist search. You need to find someone the two of you can talk to together. Maybe that person can give you referrals for professionals to work with on your own.

If you had an awful pain in your foot and needed assistance from a foot doctor (podiatrist), and a bunch of foot doctors didn't call you back, you'd call some other foot doctors. You'd call your insurance company or primary care physician and say, "Give me a longer list of foot doctors! My foot hurts!"

Your marriage is the foot. It needs attention now.

You can ask your medical doctor to assist. You can also call your insurance company for tips (this works ... sometimes). I know it’s complicated, but please don't give up. There are also online services and apps for finding mental health care now. Some work with insurance.

A question a therapist might ask of the two of you: "Do you want to stay married?" Have you posed that question to your husband – and yourself? Do you want to work on what you have at this point? That's one of the most important things to consider. If the answer is yes, what do you want the marriage to be like? Less tense? More helpful? Going to fun dinners is one thing, but … what about your friendship? What do you miss about each other that brought the two of you together?

You might decide that you can't get over the betrayal, which would be OK. He might tell you he wants something new. The therapy might help you both get to a place where the relationship makes sense even if you're not together.

It's difficult to forgive him if you're not even sure he's sorry about what happened. He might not be.

Focus on the smaller tasks – like finding help. Then you can get the bigger answers you need.

– Meredith

Readers? Questions that need to be asked here? What about the phone stuff?