Dear Dr. Romance:

I've heard you on the radio, and I've been married the same length of time as you. We've known each other since grade school.  I have cheated on my husband 3 times. He still wants to stay married and rebuild trust but he's got major depression and doesn't know if he can ever get the trust back.  The last time I cheated was 3 years ago. I feel terrible about having done so, it was never to hurt him. But now it seems we hang by a thread. I just wonder what the chances are of survival.  

Another problem is that even though I love him, I am no longer attracted to him. I care about him deeply but more as a friend. I love "hanging out" with him, as long as we are doing fun things together, but I'm not interested in sex.  Also, when I get off work at night I don't want to go home to him. I'm not cheating, but working late to avoid being at home. I think it's because his depression is more than I can deal with. Even if I'm the cause, it's been this way for the past 3 years.  Thanks in advance for your advice, 

Dear Reader:
You can rebuild your marriage, but you're both going to need to change some things.  First, you both need to value your marriage and be willing to work at it.

You understand that your behavior has been very immature, don't you?  It doesn't sound like your husband is very grown-up, either. You two need to stand up and face each other, and work through the problems.  I'm certain your rejection of him and cheating on him has added to his depression; and his withdrawal from you, and probably his self-pity, have turned you off.

There is nothing here that cannot be fixed.  You two need marriage counseling. The article,"Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely"  will help you find it.  Neither one of you is respecting your own self, each other, or your marriage.  You say you have regrets. If that's true, prove it by making some real changes in your attitude.  Follow the instructions in  "Guidelinesfor Being Better Understood by Your Partner"  and "Relating with Love" and things will begin to improve.  But, you have to grow up and accept responsibility for yourself, your sexual relationship, and your life before you'll find happiness. The affairs tell me you want to be romanced and coddled, but I'll bet you got hurt doing that.  Instead, work to build a partnership with your husband, and you'll start enjoying sex again. How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together will give you guidelines for talking to each other about sex and everything else.

Happy Partners

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.