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Ask Ellie: Cheating can end a marriage or be a positive turning point

A loved one’s cheating is about more than deceit. It’s about you realizing that your partner didn’t know how to talk to you.

Dear Ellie: I’m stuck and broken. I found out my husband cheated on me a year ago, as well as 18 months prior. I only found out because he got me sick. He lied, deceived me, destroyed our family and the life we’d planned together.

I stuck by him through his depression and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). We have two beautiful sons. We built a life and worked hard on trust and respect in all aspects of the relationship.

For him to just throw me away is so hurtful. I didn’t kick him out and I’m over the illness. But I’m stuck because I love him. I don’t know how to move on or let him go.

I’m not in love with him anymore because he’s not the same guy. I’m scared and confused.

Should I give him another chance? He has since apologized. He comes to therapy every week. He’s tried harder with the kids and around the house this year.

I’m so scared of giving him my heart again and trusting him. Please help.

A Broken Woman

Anyone reading your letter would feel your heartfelt anguish. A loved one’s cheating is about more than deceit. It’s about you realizing that your partner didn’t know how to talk to you.

My point? That he is a “broken” person in this sad picture, while your trust and love that have been steady through the marriage, have made you stronger than you realize.

You’re strong enough to not be in love at this time, while you both attend the therapy that’s so needed. It’s there, with professional guidance, that you’ll discover whether you can love and trust him again.

If so, you’ll have helped him rise above his apparent inner demons — depression and PTSD — and renew a commitment to your family life along with your sons.

Dear Ellie: An old friend recently died. My daughter and I were weekly Sunday dinner guests from the time she was six until well into her teens.

I visited him every Friday over the years, for a few games of cribbage. He had health issues and was always talking about them while we played cards.

If his wife entered the room, he would raise his voice and berate her for any reason. He didn’t help out around the house, didn’t cook a single meal, and wouldn’t get his steep driveway fixed of its serious potholes.

He suggested I park at the tennis courts 500 meters from his house and walk there to play our weekly card games.

Finally, I said no. Almost a year later I got an email from his wife saying he’d died in hospital from all sorts of health problems, all of which I knew about. Now, I’m expected at his “celebration of life.” I’m also expected to take my daughter (now 34) whom he continually berated for her choices in life, much like he treated his wife.

Should I go for half an hour to express my respect for his (disrespected) wife, or stay away?

Uncertain Respects

You’re clear about having less respect for the man himself, and more for the activity of playing cards together.

You were “old friends” of a sort, whereby you each had a purpose in the time together… you and your daughter were given Sunday dinner, the man could bemoan his health troubles, and his wife could get away from him for some hours, though required to cook dinner for all.

Attend for the wife’s sake, so she’s not alone.

FEEDBACK Regarding the next-door neighbour’s new girlfriend who has a screeching voice (April 11):

Reader – “The upset condo resident should record the woman’s noisy voice various times for a week, then play this recording so that his neighbour can understand how loud his partner actually is. He may have grown accustomed to her.

“My friend had to do this when her downstairs neighbour complained about the noise made when she was on her treadmill. She actually went to the man’s unit while someone else was using her treadmill.

“She now understood why he complained, as it sounded like there was an elephant stomping its feet. The two tried to find a compromise time for her to use the treadmill but eventually made the decision to get rid of it.

“How noise actually carries within condos and apartments is something to consider when anyone’s making a purchase.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Cheating can destroy a marriage and split a family, or be a turning point for positive change.

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