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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Oct 17, 2013

Affairs, separation and starting over.

In the beginning, when we’re falling in love, it can be easy to ignore some of those thoughts that creep up, like: Will he leave me for someone else?

Q: I’ve been seeing an amazing man, Anand, for the past month. Everything about him is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Just one problem: he told me finally that he’s actually married, but they’ve been separated for three months. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this, but we have an amazing connection and I want to move forward. What do you think? Should I keep seeing him?
—Priyanka

Hi Priyanka,

First, I want to ask you this. How did Anand and his wife decide to get a separation? Have they been basically separated for a long time, but living together up until three months ago? Or was it something more immediate, like he or his wife cheated, or they had an argument and it ended badly?

This is really important for you to know because at some point, Anand needs to have been in the mourning process, and he has to have let go of the life he had before. If Anand and his wife have been essentially split up for a long time, then he’s probably farther along in the mourning process. In that case, he may be ready for a new relationship.

If the split was due to something more immediate — like one person cheated, or they had a bad fight — then there’s a lot more that he needs to handle and move through. If so, he may not be in a position to open his heart fully to you. He needs to be in a place where he’s actually open to loving you, so that you’re not a rebound.

The other thing for you to watch in this situation is the deep-down thoughts going on in your head. In the beginning, when we’re falling in love, it can be easy to ignore some of those thoughts that creep up, like Will he leave me for someone else? Are they really through? Or, is he still in love with her?

Make sure if you’re going to move forward that you aren’t thinking these thoughts — because then you’re setting yourself up in a relationship where there’s no trust from the get-go. You need to be resolved around this so these questions aren’t lurking in the wings of your relationship.

Essentially, before moving forward with this man, you need to have a conversation with him where he’s honest about where he is with his past relationship. And you need to have a conversation where you are honest with him, and you reveal your deep-down thoughts and fears concerning his past relationship.

Above all, your relationship with him needs to be built on trust and openness before you commit with one another.


Q: Recently, it came out that my wife had an affair. As you can imagine, this was completely devastating and has really done a number on us. We’ve been married for five years, and she has no history of doing this in the past. She wants me to forgive her, but I just don’t know. How can I forgive her and let this go?
—Sunil

Dear Sunil,

I have a question to ask you that might feel a bit uncomfortable at first. Why do you feel it was at this point in your marriage that your wife felt like she needed to cheat? I know this can be a tough question to answer, but it’s important and can actually lead to you getting some breathing room around this issue.

It always takes two, and each person has a responsibility for what occurs in the marriage. Yes, she is to blame for cheating. However, it would be a great service to yourself and your marriage to assess from your point of view why she cheated — because there is some sort of truth here that needs to come out.

So you need to think. What was your role in the marriage getting to this place where she cheated? In what way were you not all in? What were the signs that she might not be totally happy or fulfilled that you may have overlooked? She needs to reflect as well. What was she missing from the marriage? How could she have communicated it to you?

When you start to take accountability for your part, you start to see that this wasn’t all her problem. This realization gives you some space to actually forgiving her. It’s important to have an open conversation where you each reveal your innermost thoughts that you haven’t been expressing to one another. If you need help with this, you can reach out to a therapist. And sometimes it’s good to both individually seek out help instead of doing couples therapy.

Then together, as a team, the two of you need to come up with ways to help resolve these issues to improve your marriage.

Kavita J. Patel is a relationship expert and love coach and is the founder of Outrageously Happy Relationships. She specializes in helping women to single-handedly transform their love lives through the powers of releasing trapped beliefs, breaking through love blocks and opening their hearts to love in a brand new way. www.kavitajpatel.com

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Kavita Patel

Kavita Patel

Author

Kavita J Patel is a Relationship Expert and Love Specialist on a mission to help women worldwide make quantum leaps in their happiness and love lives. As a second-generation Indian American, Kavita's Indian heritage and spirituality deeply inform her coaching, and bring a blend of Eastern and W...

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