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Seven Year Itch?

Tracy wrote:

My husband and I dated/lived together for 5 years before we got married. We have been married for a little over 2 years now. During that whole time, we were inseparable & had absolutely no problems.

Around our 2nd anniversary, he met up with an ex-girlfriend from high school and said that he thought he'd be happier with her and thought that he wanted a divorce. I was devastated. He was confused. He didn't know which woman to chose.

He wanted me to stick around while he dated this ex-girlfriend to see if he was making the right decision. I know it sounds stupid and weak, but I did. Luckily, the ex-girlfriend would not sleep with him until he got a divorce. After a few months of being separated, he decided that he wanted to try to work things out with me. He stopped dating the ex-girlfriend, but began going to the bars every night, drinking and getting girls phone numbers.

He has had low self esteem most of his life and I know that he gets excited by girls being interested in him. I'm 99.99% sure that he has not slept with anyone though. The whole thing seemed like a phase, a mid-life crisis of sorts (he's 31). His 'phase' seems to be ending now, and he keeps pressuring me to move back in with him.

The problem is that I know he's still getting phone calls from other girls and he's still occasionally calling other girls. I have the occasional access to his cell phone. I question him about them, but he lies about it. I'm worried that once he has crossed this line of lying and trying to hide things from me, that it's not going to change.

That he's going to continue to think he can get away with this behavior, that this may be something I'd have to worry about and deal with if we are to remain married. I am hoping this is just the end of his phase and that he'll come back to being the trustworthy and loyal man that I once knew and loved. Should I have hope or am I just being naive?

Dear Tracy

He will never be the man he was.

Too much has happened to be able to turn back the clock. But that does not mean the marriage is over. You'll both need to come to terms with that.

You are 100% right that if you take him back with his bad habits, then you've accepoted those habits as part of him.

Be strong. Accept that you may have lost him; don't let fear of losing him weaken you. If you surrender your self respect, that's gone for ever (or very nearly).

He may have low self esteem; but he doesn't have to work it out by torturing you. Talk to him, agree terms for his return, if he really wants that (does he? or he just scared to be alone? You need to know).

The terms must include no sharing him with other women, and no lies. Warn him that it won't be easy; advise him not to even think about it unless he really wants you.

Or cut your losses and walk away. the choice is yours alone.

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