Ask Amy: Long-ago cheating leaves wife ruminating
Dear Amy: Almost 20 years ago when my husband and I were just 19 years old, he cheated on me.
Twenty years on, I’m still having a hard time trusting him.
Will I ever be able to trust him — or will I always feel this way?
What can I do to start trusting him?
I feel like I have some form of PTSD from it. He says he was young and made a mistake, but is that even a legitimate excuse? He has apologized so many times.
I just don’t know what to do. I want to live free. It is so time consuming worrying about him and trying to track him.
I am constantly accusing him of things that turn out to be nothing.
We have five children together, and he is a wonderful dad and husband.
I know I’ll regret it later if I don’t get it together now.
How should I handle this? — Suspicious
Dear Suspicious: Twenty years is an extremely long time for you to live in a state of “high alert,” and for your husband to tolerate your ongoing and very disruptive and baseless accusations.
It is a testament to your mutual commitment to each other — and a marvel — that your marriage has survived.
Constant rumination paralyzes your problem-solving skills, distracts you from the positive tending of your relationships, can affect your physical health, and is overall very time consuming. Your husband has been forced to react to your compulsions and accusations. And I assume you are exhausted from this.
A psychologist might diagnose you with obsessive rumination disorder, which can be triggered by PTSD. You might be introduced to mindfulness training, which is basically a technique where you purposefully and consciously yank your mind back to the present whenever you find yourself obsessing. You will be retraining your brain to refocus, and eventually your brain will refocus without your prompting.
Additionally, I am certain that you would benefit from “talk” therapy.
Why were you so traumatized by an event that many others process and recover from? Insight into this will be life-changing for you. Insight and self-knowledge will bring you into a new relationship with yourself, your husband, and your children.
Dear Amy: I’ve been divorced for four years, and I share custody of my 10-year-old daughter with my ex-wife.
There is zero likelihood of me getting back together with my former wife.
My ex and I co-parent, and of course it is not entirely smooth, but it works out.
I have been dating my girlfriend for one year now, and she is saying that I should unfriend my ex-wife on Facebook. I rarely use Facebook, and I have nothing to hide from my girlfriend, or anyone else.
I feel like “unfollowing” my ex-wife on Facebook is fine, as it removes her from my Facebook feed.
If I “unfriend” my ex-wife, then will my girlfriend insist that I also unfriend her family members?
I feel like if I were to post a picture of our child on Facebook, there is no reason for her mother or mother’s family NOT to be able to see it.
Can you help me to navigate this post-divorce social media issue? — Socially Challenged
Dear Challenged: You don’t need my help navigating on social media, because you’re doing it. I wonder, however, why your girlfriend is so threatened by this social media contact. You should ask her.
There are many completely valid reasons to unfollow, unfriend, or block someone across social media platforms.
Aside from the generally commonsense reasons to maintain a separation on social media, many people also choose to use platforms as a cudgel when they are angry, breaking up, or simply want to punish someone with a “block” or “unfriending.”
You and your ex seem to have a fairly amiable relationship. You successfully co-parent your child. You are transparent and have adopted a rational approach to social media.
In short, your girlfriend does not get to control how you conduct your (successful) relationship with your ex-wife and her family.
Dear Amy: “Hopeful” did not want her fiance’s friend to come to their wedding because he had disrespected her in the past.
She does not have to invite, nor should she be expected to invite, someone who has shown such contempt. And a man who would invite someone who referred to his fiance as “sloppy seconds” has no respect for his partner or himself. — Dalal
Dear Dalal: One wonders why the fiance was so eager to invite him.