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Q: LONG TERM SEPARATION ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: diamod-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 29 Nov 2002 14:52 PST
Expires: 29 Dec 2002 14:52 PST
Question ID: 116527
I have been separated from my husband for the past three years. 
During that time, I have been in therapy and have determined that I
still love my husband and that I want to be the wife to him that I was
not during our marriage.  I was not attentive, caring, and as involved
with him as I should have been.  About one year after we separated, he
became involved with another woman.  She is still in the picture even
though we have not filed for divore.  I should mention that we are
both attorneys so the legal process is not foreign to either of us.  I
have begun dating and I am also seeing him.  Beyond that, I am not
sure what else to do.  I should also mention that we have a normal 13
year old daughter and a 20 year old daughter who have been diagonosed
with borderline personality disorder, a mood disorder, and eating
disorder, and bipolarity.  Both girls live with me and of late, he has
been very helpful to me with her because my own mental health was
deteriorating due to the stress of dealing with her.  She has been in
the psych ward three times this year so far.  What I really want is
for my husband to terminate this relationship with the other woman and
be with me.  I just not sure how to get from here to there.  Thank you
for your help

Request for Question Clarification by revbrenda1st-ga on 29 Nov 2002 21:06 PST
Hi diamod,

I've read and re-read your question, and it seems obvious to me that
we researchers could search 'til the cows come home and not find a
citeable (is that a word?) website that will solve your personal,
individual dilemna. Are you looking for, and willing to accept, an
answer which expresses our observations and opinions, even if you
don't hear what you want to hear?


Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 30 Nov 2002 05:59 PST
Do both of you (or either of you) have any religious background,
training, or affiliation?

Answered By: darrel-ga on 30 Nov 2002 07:09 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

I have carefully researched your question and have your answer.

I have found several citations that can help us with this. I wanted to
find some recommendations from psychologists on how to handle this
situation. While I
could note locate any official "study" on the subject of convincing
your husband to break up with his girlfriend, I did find some good
information that can help you.

Several relationship gurus first recommend that you talk with your
husband about your wanting to get back together permanently with him
and having a mutually exclusive relationship.

Peggy Elam, a psychotherapist and psychological consultant in
Tennessee, said she would first recommend finding out why your husband
is dating this
woman. What is it about her that he gets from her but doesn't get from
you? The best way to find out this information is to have a
conversation with him about
this. Elam recommended someone in this situation should talk with her
husband about how she feels about him and his relationship with this
other woman. It's
important to be polite and understanding when having this conversation
with your husband. Don't raise your voice. Don't get angry. Be
understanding to his needs and wants.

Perhaps in this conversation about what his wants and needs are, Elam
would suggest, you may decide you are willing to start providing the
needs that he has that you aren't necessarily providing. Elam wrote,
"Devoting too much emotional energy to a relationship outside the
marriage can detract from the husband-wife bond. Sometimes, of course,
that may be exactly what the errant spouse is trying to do, for
various reasons." You may wish to tell him you're willing to start
working on these issues. If you decide to do this, you should set
goals for yourself. It will take time. Be patient. Feelings aren't
changed overnight. You may not achieve your husband to where you want
him to be instantly.

Elam would also recommend talking with your husband about the vows you
and he exchanged at the time of your marriage and reminding him that
the two of you
aren't officially divorced. Again, make sure you remain calm and
collected and do what you can to keep your husband calm and not upset.
If he starts to get
upset, be understanding. 

Also, you may ask your husband what he thinks about your children's
conditions. Find out what he thinks should be done to solve their
problems and what he
thinks is causing their disorders. It sounds as if it would be
difficult to argue that your marriage issues are not the cause of
their disorders.

You may find yourself breaking this issues up into different
conversations over time.

Elam also wrote, "If you are not able to discuss this with your
husband and arrive at an acceptable resolution on your own, a marriage
counselor might be
of help. If your husband won't go with you and you continue to be
disturbed by his contact with his... girlfriend, consider seeing a
counselor on your own to
explore your options."

You may read all of what Elam has to say on iVillage. The link is,11816,166974_124242,00.html

A book called "Surviving an Affair" discusses what can be done during
the next step. While what you're experiencing is not an affair in the
truest definition
of the term, many of the same issues are discussed. The book is
written by Dr. Willard Harley, Jr., and Dr. Jennifer Harley Chalmers.
It's published by

Harley and Chalmers suggest, "The wayward spouse should make a
commitment to the betrayed spouse to never see or talk to the lover
again.... The wayward
spouse should write a letter to the lover ending the relationship and
send it with the approval of the betrayed spouse.... Extraordinary
precautions should
be taken to guarantee total separation of the wayward spouse and the
lover.... If the lovers are co-workers, a job change or relocation may
be needed.... All
communication between the wayward spouse and lover should cease. This
includes changing your e-mail address, telephone number, cell phone
number, and
pager numbers.... The betrayed spouse should monitor voice mail and
regular mail.... The betrayed spouse and wayward spouse should give
each other a
twenty-four-hour daily schedule with locations and telephone numbers
to account for their time.... Make all future financial decisions
jointly, and give each
other a complete account of money spent.... Spend your leisure time

You may read a brief checklist taken from this book online. The link

Another expert explained that you'll need to take this issue one step
at a time. She wrote, "The first thing I would say is that you
shouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about the past. I agree that
this isn't what you signed up for when you got married, but I don't
think either of you signed up for stasis. People change, and we can't
ignore that."

She said if a person's husband is willing to discuss his feelings
regarding this issue, you should express all your feelings regardless
of how negative they are. Each of you need to be respectable of each
other's feelings and try to understand.

She further wrote to one woman, "I think painting the situation as an
ultimatum is probably unhelpful. You said that he wouldn't go through
with it if you objected, so making yourself feel backed into a corner
is not a positive way to
view things. I think you have real and valid concerns, both for
yourself and for your son. All the things you list are issues that
will need to be dealt with at some point. However, they don't all have
to be dealt with right now."

This expert also recommends that you look at finding some potential
"end goals" for yourself. Ask yourself what is it you're ultimately
looking for? Ask yourself what your plans are if he doesn't respond as
you hope? These are decisions you need to make, she said, separate of
your husband. For the sake of your own health and the health of your

Again this expert is not addressing your situation specifically, but
she does make some comments that you might find helpful. The link is

Some other sites that you might find helpful include:

One site is a forum. One of the question askers asked
the very question you are. The link is

One online diary I found ponders the question. The
link is

Not to promote fiction. But I found a site that
discusses an attempt to break up a couple on the soap
"The Bold & The Beautiful." The link is

To conduct this research, I searched the following

"how to break them up"

psychology relationship expert "break up"

husband girlfriend psychology marriage divorce

I hope this helps. If you need any clarification, please don't
hesitate to ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by diamod-ga on 30 Nov 2002 10:44 PST
Would your answer be any different if I shared with you that we are
sleeping together and have a wonderful time just the two of us.  I
have also made it clear to him that I want to be there for him without
saying that I will fulfill the needs that this other woman seems to
have taken up with him.  I would be interested in knowing if you would
advise that I continue with contact with him of a positive and loving
nature at least for the present.  Thank you again for your help.

Clarification of Answer by darrel-ga on 30 Nov 2002 11:29 PST

Thanks for your comments and for your clarification request.

Keep in mind that I'm not a psychologist, but I have researched your
question quite thoroughly and believe I understand fairly well your

You asked whether my answer would change if I knew you were sleeping
with your husband. Yes and no. If he is sleeping with his girlfriend
also, you likely would want to make sure you're using safe sex
methods. Also make sure you're both tested for STDs. Anytime you're
sleeping with someone who is sleeping with someone else, as well, you
need to be careful.

Outside of that my answer would remain the same. I would suggest that
you have a serious conversation with him about your feelings. Or maybe
a series of serious conversations with him. This is the only way he's
going to know exactly how you feel, and it's the only way you're going
to understand what he's feeling.

You've further asked whether I would recommend that you continue
contact with him in a positive and loving nature for the present.
Judging by what I've read while researching your question, I would say
that yes, you should continue with a loving nature. Don't treat him
any differently from how you'd want to be treated. You likely won't
win him over if you act meanly toward him. You need to be
understanding to his needs and make decisions for yourself based on
what you learn from him and from what you're feeling.

Please let me know if you need further clarification. I'm happy to

diamod-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Your answer is very helpful and full of information that I will
consider.  I can tell that much thought was consumed in evaluating my
question.  This is the first time I have used your service and I have
found it to be very helpful.  Thank you again

From: rcd-ga on 29 Nov 2002 21:22 PST
Relationship issues are always rather awkward to deal with. Everyone
is so different. A possible useful source of information that seems
quite popular in dealing with these issues may be found at There are lots of helpful relationship advice
that many people would think is really practical.

regards rcd-ga (researcher)
From: steph1000-ga on 30 Jan 2003 01:31 PST
My recommendation is a book called:
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty 
by Manuel J. Smith

Don't mind the title, this book is my relationship bible and it should
serve you well.

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