Dear Dr. Romance

Your website impressed me and prompted this note, and I'd appreciate your thoughts.

I am a reasonably well-educated individual which includes a couple of degrees in psychology and have been quite successful in my career. My wife who is also well-educated and our marriage has spanned three decades plus and we have not experienced serious problems in the past.

About three years ago my wife read in a newspaper letter to the editor that a college friend with whom she had an affair had a major illness, but it was not an immediate death sentence.   She mentioned she would like to contact him to see how he was doing and I said OK.

Recently, I happened to look at her computer monitor which was open and saw that her friend had sent her an email.  I was concerned and confronted her because I was very surprised to see his name on the screen. The conversation turned into an acrimonious discussion because she said that they had agreed to write to each other twice a year on their birthdays.

My first reaction is that this was irregular and highly inappropriate given she had not talked with me about this at all.  I realize that jealousy may be the main culprit on my part but when I think about their twice a year "arrangement" I am still very much irritated.

What should I do?

Dear Reader:

Thanks for writing. You are risking ruining your very good marriage over nothing, so it's a good thing you're looking for answers. I'm guessing that either you don't feel fully connected with your wife, so you're worried on some subconscious level, and this twice a year correspondence became the scapegoat. I recommend that you do some soul-searching to find out what you're really concerned about -- it's not this guy who has email correspondence with your wife.

If you feel that you and your wife have slid into complacency, and are taking each other for granted, I suggest you get back into courting mode. In a long-term relationship, it's easy to get focused on other things and to let the energy between you fade. Instead of being jealous, acting like an idiot, and having "acrimonious discussions" why not have a real discussion with your wife about what she's wishing for, and what you're missing, too. You can re-charge the energy in your marriage and get back on track with her, and the other guy won't matter to either of you any more.

"Handling The Green-Eyed Monster"  will give you pointers to handle your jealousy. "How to be Irresistible to Your Mate"  will help you and your wife get better connected. "Happy Habits for Relationships" will show you how to keep the positive love energy going between you.   "Creating Unconditional Love" has the tools you need to gain trust and confidence in each other and your relationship.

Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences  provides exercises and skills to help dig deeper into your relationship and find out what may be missing.

 

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For low-cost phone counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

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.