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


  1. Ahhh a subject I love to discuss. 1)Dr. Laura can clearly see the wife doesn't want to leave, so she gave her the best advice she could give a person who chooses to stay in an abusive relationship. I say abusive because when someone is disrespecting you, lying to you, and putting you down (even without putting their hands on you) it is abuse. 2) No one will leave a situation of abuse until they are convinced they can no longer take anymore and are ready to leave. They can seek all the advice in the world, they can have all the proof they need staring them directly in the face and until they are ready, they won't leave. 3)Had it been me and she asked for advice, I would have told her, you have all the proof you need, likely he won't change. If you stay he will continue to cheat and abuse because he knows that you are allowing it for the sake of stability. So either maintain the status quo or leave. There is no option 3!!!.

    Now here's the hard part, most things are easier said than done. Although I wasn't married, I was in this same situation. You realize what society shows as a stable environment for children to be reared in, you dont' want to lose that. You don't want to seem like a failure in your marriage to your family and friends. You don't want to lose the financial stability of having either two incomes or a very stable adult taking care of the household. But what is at stake is your life, the lives of your children, your mentality and the mentality of the children. One if your spouse is cheating you are risking your life by possibly contracting some sort of disease. A child may be born out of wedlock somewhere else who may not have a father to care for them or your children will realize that the lives they are living is a lie and their parents are liars as well. Your mentality will be screwed you will live the next 18 or so years of your life not loving or being loved by a person you trusted, you are cheating yourself out of really living life. You are showing your children that it is okay to accept this type of behavior and they will model their lives after your footsteps. And thus the cycle will repeat. I've realize, not to be so religious, but GOD will provide. Do what's right and God will protect you. Leave, move on with your life, do whatever you can on your part to keep the other parent involved with the children both financially and socially, but realize you can't control another person's decision. Be honest with your children so they can see you made a choice to be healthy and whole for yourself and for them. For a mother living a lie daily can't be a good parent at all.
    Leaving is not easy, so make a plan, plan 6 months to a full year ahead, start putting money away, go back to school or get a job that you can progress in and make more money. Start finding out what's due to you and your children once your divorce is final. Talk to close friends or family maybe someone can help with childcare or expense or whatever. Pray!!!! And believe in yourself that what you are doing is the best thing. It won't be easy by far, but it will be rewarding for your mind and heart. Like Nike says "Just Do It"!!! He has already shown you who he is!!! KNOW YOUR WORTH!!!

    1. I agree, completely, with everything you are saying, but also feel that there is also a strong agrument to do as Dr. Laura has suggested....especially if they are married.....and particularly if there are no STDs or illegitimate children in the equation and it is very discreet.

      I think that if you handle it correctly and do it for the right reasons, staying in the situation can be a pretty good option.

      My husband has an aunt who, eventhough her husband didn't cheat, he wasn't fully present in their family life during their marriage. He would attend every football game his children had, but he was emotionally tied to his mother. While his wife and children sat at the dinner table each night and ate dinner, he would be visiting his mom and come home with a full belly of (unhealthy) food. There was no affair to speak of, but there was definitely a level of absence on his part. She made a conscious choice to stay in the marriage because of the children. While they were more like co-parenting roomates, she was content with the choice she made. Her children grew up with both parents in a nice home and they never had to want for anything (materially). As soon as her youngest son left for college, she asked for a divorce. While the divorce has not been fully finalized yet, the mother dates liberally. My question is, would the children have been better off if the mom stayed? Would the youngest son have gotten a full football scholarship to college (he did first learn to play football from his dad). Would he even be in college? How about the many men their mom dates? Even if those men are never brought in the house and incorporated into the family, doesn't that still affect a child's outlook on relationships?

      Life is about decisions and some decisions cause consequences that do not have pretty escapes. When you choose to be in a relationship with someone that is not a good person (I believe there are always warning signs) and especially if we choose to marry and/or have children with that person, we are left with all choices that are, in essence, sub-optimal. You have to choose the one that's best for you and you have to remain firm in whatever decision you make. Instead of focussing on what is wrong with the end result of your decision, teach your children the importance of making the right decisions in their own lives, so they are not stuck with the life-long consequences of the initial bad decision. It can also teach your children the characteristic of accepting responsibility for their actions. Also, and I've seen this happen, it may just make them more aware of what they want in their own lives......a life lesson without having to go through the "life" can actually save time in your child's life.

      In my life, I had the opportunity to see what Iya went through and what you went through and I took those as my own life lessons and chose not to make those same mistakes. However, I have made a whole slew of other mistakes. Hopefully, my children will be able to take all of our mistakes, learn from them and be even better and more successful than we are. If we never made the mistakes we made, maybe that would leave more room for our children to not know what they want/need/do and make those mistakes themselves and lose years of valuable time in their lives.

  2. While I definitely believe people must live with the consequences of their choices, there are two very different situations to not being emotionally available and being a cheater. If a wife/husband chooses to stay with a spouse who cheats, they will continue to deal with a person who is and will always be decietful and dishonest period. And yes you may feel it can benefit the children, but theirs no discreet way to cheat, you are lying everytime you say you are somewhere you are not, you are sneaking around, and if you got caught once, then you weren't discreet enough. It only means the wife will choose to turn a blind eye to the character of who her husband really is. As the children get older they will know the truth at some point. Coming from a single parent household or a two parent household is not what makes a child a success or not. Because there are stories that can either support or negate this. It is therefore the purpose and drive of the child.

    If a person can live in a household where their spouse is dishonest on almost a daily basis then yes that is a choice. We all make choices and therefore have to live with them good, bad or indifferent. I've always said you can have whatever you want but you have to be willing to sacrifice something else for it. As would this wife being doing. She'll be sacrifice her self respect and love for security. Her husband won't respect her, he's already shown that. Again I can never say it enough, KNOW YOUR WORTH!!!!