The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female company employee in an administrative position in my 50s. I’m deeply troubled because my husband has been cheating on me with another woman.
The woman works at the same office as my husband. She’s also married and has a child. My husband returned home last year after working far away, where he lived separately from us. He still continues to secretly meet her. I happened to see messages on his social media account, which I could hardly bear to read.
When I gathered the courage to tell him what I saw, he replied, “You make me sick” and stormed off. I was so intimidated by his fury that I can no longer press him for an explanation.
Afterward, he changed the settings for his smartphone so I could no longer see his social media. He also saved the woman’s name in his phone under an alias. I’m unwilling to file for divorce, though, because of how it would be perceived by our neighbors.
I’ve become so preoccupied by my husband’s cheating that I started making mistakes at work. Now that our child lives independently, I previously imagined leading a peaceful future life. My resentment has become so strong that I can no longer smile in front of my husband or even eat.
What should I do?
Dear Ms. K:
I really understand your pain, as your husband has betrayed you.
You should not think about the future. Rather, you must talk to him and seek to understand his thoughts and feelings.
Don’t be intimidated by his anger and shouting. Instead, maintain your composure and calmly tell him, “I also feel terrible, so please speak in a quiet tone.”
You’re the victim in this situation. You should repeatedly tell him to answer your questions about his relationship with the woman. Please do not give up, even if he says, “Shut up.” It’s important to continue calmly questioning him, and to keep up the discussion. You shouldn’t go on leaving this matter unanswered.
If he seeks to deny you an explanation, I recommend you consult a third party, such as a lawyer, and start with the facts and how your husband feels.
If you are not cowed by his overbearing attitude and can remain firm in demanding an explanation, you will have confidence, which will open up a future path for you.
As you have sought to preserve your life at home while advancing to an administrative position at work, I recommend you not lose confidence and talk with your husband.
Junko Umihara, psychiatrist