Ask Amy: Betrayed husband wants to trust again

December 2, 2013 

Dear Amy: I am struggling with the pain and loss of trust in my marriage. We have been married almost 40 years and have two grown children. My wife has struggled with alcohol and painkiller addictions but recently successfully completed rehab. I have supported her faithfully through all the ups and downs.

I just discovered that she is having an affair with her AA sponsor, which has devastated me. While she professes to be sorry, is there any hope for recovering trust in a marriage shattered so entirely? I love her but cannot imagine ever trusting her again.

— Sad after all these years

Dear Sad: You can potentially trust your wife again. Your wife made a choice — and you have choices, too. For you, the process of trusting her will begin with your choice to commit to the effort.

Your wife must commit to her sobriety and fidelity, and she needs to do so with a different sponsor. She should not have any more contact with her affair partner. She needs to be completely transparent with you for as long as it takes.

This is a tough road, but even after going to the brink, your relationship can deepen and strengthen, especially given the challenges you two have already successfully faced. Every day, I hear from people who manage to reconcile and rebuild their relationships after seemingly insurmountable challenges. You can do this but not without your wife's complete commitment to behaving in a trustworthy way, as well as your determination to work toward trusting her.

Dear Amy: I have been a stepmom to my stepdaughter for almost 20 years. Initially we were very close but since she turned 20, she barely tolerates me. She is now 30.

She is very close to my husband, and I support their relationship. Now she has my grandson (age 3), whom I would like to know. They live in another state. The Skype calls are made when I am out of the house. I do not get the text messages with the cute pictures (he does).

I don't want to affect my husband's ability to have a close relationship with his daughter, but if I am not part of the package deal, what should I do?

— Confused

Dear Confused: You don't say if anything specific brought on this chill, but you should try to get to the bottom of it. If you need to take responsibility for something that happened 10 years ago, then definitely do so.

One way to demonstrate your intentions is to be in touch with her. Another way is to welcome this family into your home.

 

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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