Dear Loveawake, I've been reading your advice for a couple of years now and all that you say is 'right on'...Perhaps you can help me think through my dilemma. My husband had an affair and because I trusted him completely, felt utterly betrayed. I was able to forgive him and his co-worker and figured time will heal my wounds, with the Lord's help. My husband and I are still together and it's been 7 years since the affair. I'm able to talk about it without any anger and even joke around about certain aspects of it. I felt that I've been able to deal with this situation because it's rare that I would run into her. By the way, they still work for the same company in the same department. I just close my eyes to whatever could be there... For a short time, they worked in different sections of their building. Sounds petty, but that helped me a lot. Recently, their whole department moved to a new location and they're now 4 cubicles apart. Ok, so I was still able to deal with that. But I was surprised at myself when I bumped into her one day and felt a surge of anger that I thought was gone. I am requesting feedback on your thoughts about my situation. Is there a better way of handling this? Is it unreasonable to ask that he find another job, at this juncture in time? Have I not forgiven both of them? - Sally
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Dear Sally: You have forgiven your husband but you have not forgotten. To be quite honest, there would be something wrong with you if you didn't feel anger when you saw this woman. Her affair with your husband hurt you deeply and I doubt whether you have ever really told her off. Anger is hurt that is covered up. I'm sure what you would like to say is, "I want you to know that my marriage is stronger than ever, but even after all these years, the sight of you makes me sick!" Since you aren't going to do that, there is unfinished business with her. I'm sure you have said all there is to say to your husband but not to the woman he had the affair with. Finding out that they are 4 cubicles away from each other is like putting salt on a wound. Of course you react negatively when you see her. You just have to do a lot of talking to yourself to get through it. It's almost as if our cells have memory and when we see someone who represents old wounds, all the feelings come to the surface again. In 1991 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and then in 1995 I had a bone marrow transplant. Every time I go in for my 6 month check-up, my stomach is in knots. When I am in the car driving to the doctor's office, I play music, take deep breaths and try and think positive thoughts. No matter what I do, as soon as I pull into that parking lot, I feel like I'm going to pass out. My pulse races and my heart feels like it's coming out of my chest. It doesn't matter that it's been 13 years since my initial diagnosis and 9 years since the recurrence and I am cancer free. My mind remembers when I had to face this crisis. Your husband's affair was your crisis and you will never be the same trusting wife that you once were. When he violated your marriage vows, you were forever changed. It would have been very reasonable 7 years ago to have demanded that he find another job if he wanted to make your marriage work. You are a saint for not making that one of your demands. In order for him to have had an affair with a coworker, it meant that they had to have had an "emotional affair" before they ever had a physical one. I don't think anything good can come of them now being so close to one another. I vote for him either transferring to another department or putting a resume together. Is there any doubt in your mind that if the tables were turned, he'd ask the same of you? Of course, I'm giving you my opinion. Let's see what feedback you get from others who may have been in a similar situation. - Loveawake