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Client Profile Series: A Husband’s Affair

I came into my marriage with the best of intentions. I loved my wife and promised to be faithful to her. I meant what I said, but I had no idea at that time what would happen in our marriage. My parents raised me to be a good provider for my family. Nearly every day of our marriage, I’ve gotten up and gone to work so that my family could have the best of everything, and I have delivered on that promise. We have a nice home, and we drive nice cars. Our kids go to good schools and participate in all the best sports and activities. Every year, we take at least one good vacation. But, I never anticipated the pressure from providing that life. I feel like all I do every day is run to keep pace with our demanding lives. I am constantly worried about how to provide for the next shiny object my wife and children will want.

Even though I provide nearly all the income for the family, I am isolated from the decision-making. My wife does it all without me. She decides what our house will look like, where we’ll go for fun, what we’ll eat for dinner. She coordinates the children’s schedules and then just tells me when and where to be. It’s infuriating. When my kids need something, they only ask her. I’m just a bank account for them. Whenever I’ve tried to participate, to help, to be a functioning part of this family, I get overruled, silenced … emasculated.

So, I pulled back, withdrew, and stopped trying to interject myself where I clearly was not welcome, wanted, or needed. It happened slowly … and innocently. I started talking with someone, and she asked about my day. She admired me and thought of me as successful. She didn’t need anything from me. It was so good to just have a friend. And then our feelings grew, and I felt a change building inside me. Years and years of anger and resentment, of being taken for granted, and I started to feel like I deserved better.

And I decided to make a change in my life.

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