Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When your back's against the wall, what do you do?

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I was listening to a Dr. Laura podcast this morning (mentioned her in a previous blog) and a lady called because she found out that her husband had been involved in a 6-month affair. 
She became suspicious due to excessive text messaging and approached him about it. He denied it and said he and the lady were "just friends."  Upon further 'investigation' she presented him with cold, hard facts, at which point he admitted it and agreed to go to therapy. While in therapy, she also found out he had cheated on her while she was pregnant with their second child. 
Dr. Laura first had her take some responsibility for her part in possibly focusing too much on the children and not him. She also mentioned that the character of a man who would screw another woman while his wife is carrying his child is pretty much a low-life and that marital therapy can help to improve situational issues, but is pretty much useless in changing a person's character. 

Dr. Laura initially is leaning towards helping the lady gain the strength to leave the marriage, but clearly the wife is finding every excuse to excuse her husband's behavior.  The wife describes him as a good man who totally doesn't fit the profile of a 'bad man,' as he's nice to her and the children, is an otherwise good father and provides for the family. 

So, given this circumstance, what would you do?  If a friend had this issue, what advice would you give her?

Well, Dr. Laura gave this advice (
"You have 2 kids, don't have any others. You have 2 kids to raise and you want to keep it copacetic. Stop checking his emails and text messages and assume he's going to screw around...just ask him to at least not disrespect the home by bringing them to your house again. Just try to get along until the kids are grown and then you can make your decision.  For the sake of he's supporting the family and being good with the kids, you just smile and be the Stepford wife until the kids are grown."
As most people know, I have this new outlook on life and dealing with difficult relationships and situations.
1.    Maintain the status quo
2.    Ending the relationship
3.    Making the relationship better
How does this all fit into the advice given by Dr. Laura?  I believe she is suggesting that the lady choose option 1.  Why?
-Option 2 is clearly something the wife has a hard time coming to terms with.  While her husband is a lying cheat, he is a 'good' father and husband (although, in my opinion, the cheating makes him not so good).  He also is the main provider of the household.  If she leaves the relationship, not only will she possibly be struggling financially, she will have less time to spend mothering her children and the dad will end up either being an absentee father or she and her children will have to deal with visitations with dad and his new bimbo of the week (Dr. Laura's words, not mine).
-Option 3 is void if and when there is addiction, abuse or psychopathy involved.  In Dr. Laura's opinion, while some of the infidelity may be circumstantial, the fact that he cheated while she was pregnant and basically lived a double life until found out and lied about it until proof was given and tried to flip it on the wife to make it into her fault….but totally not fit the profile of this type of person…..is basically a psychopathy-like characteristic.  Although she wasn't able to meet him in order to provide a full diagnosis, she assumed for the purpose of the call that he fell into that category, so basically voided this option.
So, in some situations, is maintaining the status quo (even if it's not a good one) the best option?  I'm assuming that if the husband was outright cheating, bringing STDs and illegitimate children into the marriage or being abusive, then ending the relationship would be the only option.  However, since the affairs are discreet and the wife feels strongly about wanting her children to have a stable childhood……there are other options to make that happen.  Thoughts?  Questions?  Concerns?

* Dr. Laura Schlessinger is the incredibly popular and controversial psychotherapist who hosts a nationally syndicated, top-rated midday radio talk show. She is also an author who has written several books on relationships, moral and ethical issues.  Popular titles include:
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives
How Could You Do That?!: Abdication of Character, Courage & Conscience
Surviving a Shark Attack (On Land): Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing with Revenge