By DR. PHYLLIS GOLDBERG and DR. ROSEMARY LICHTMAN
We are all human and make mistakes. But realize that your attitude and behavior have hurt your partner and yourself -- as well as put your marriage in jeopardy. Be sure that what was going on with your boss is over. Changing jobs would be a concrete step and symbolize a new beginning. Be absolutely certain that what you want is a fresh start for your relationship. Think it through, rehearse what you want to say and then make an honest and sincere apology to your partner.
Rebuilding trust is a fundamental goal to set if you want your marriage to survive. Begin by coming clean and telling the whole truth. That's not to say you have to go into specific details, even if your husband wants to know. That degree of confession about the intimacies can make it difficult for him to forget, let alone forgive. But be willing to answer questions he may have that will help encourage him to re-engage. By seeing a couples' therapist, who will facilitate and support the working through of emotional issues, you'll both be making a commitment to repair what's not right between you.
Know that in circumstances of loss -- and feelings about an affair are similar to those when a death occurs -- there are stages of mourning. You are already feeling guilt as well as fear about your husband leaving. His present emotional temperature is likely fluctuating between disbelief and shock, resentment and anger, frustration and sadness. It's a tall order -- but you both need to recover from your own personal pain and the marriage itself has to heal.
This complicated process requires a lot of effort and determination -- and will definitely take some time. Be steadfast and patient. By staying involved, you will learn a lot about how to solve problems, deal with your complex feelings and communicate better. If your marriage was solid before and your husband is willing to forgive, your relationship can end up stronger. There's no way to predict what he'll do. But, regardless of the outcome, the new skills you develop will serve you well in the inevitable challenges that lie ahead. Dr. Rosemary Lichtman and Dr. Phyllis Goldberg have guided their clients through reassessing their lives, before, during and after divorce. They created http://www.HerMentorCenter.com, which provides coaching services and a free e-zine, and are are co-authors of the book Family Relationships.