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ASK AMY: Emotional cheating will not rebound

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Dear Amy: Six months ago my fiancee and I broke up after 13 years together due to my emotional cheating.

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I know what I did was wrong and I take full responsibility for my actions.

She lost all trust in me for obvious reasons, which I completely understand. I love her, we have two children together and I wish for nothing more than for us to work it out and move forward in our life together.

This is the second time we’ve split up.

I noticed that I was bringing chaos to our relationship. I tend to walk away from a relationship when things get tough.

I admit that I was in a dark place emotionally when I broke her trust.

I was depressed and unhappy. I didn’t like the way our relationship was going. We lacked communication (on both sides) – but more so from me.

It wasn’t easy for me to admit what I felt.

We barely had time to spend together and when we did it was either with the kids or with a group of friends.

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Almost never made time for us.

What can I do? Can we bounce back from this?

He says things won’t be the same. I understand why they believe that, but I know we can find a way through it. She said she was still in love with me. He wants to be with me but he needs time and space and he doesn’t know how to trust me again.

What should I do?

– Broken trust

Dear Broken: You demonstrate impressive insight into what you believe to be the root cause of your behavior.

Despite your understanding, your behavior reflects an immature response to the stress in your life. Children rebel and then blame their behavior on their feelings. Adults should take their learnings and actually do something differently to have a different outcome next time.

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You constantly “throw chaos” into your relationship and disappear when the going gets tough. You help create the problem and then run away from the problem. This is classic fight or flight behavior and you can change it.

You have to imagine what it’s like for your family. Your children learn that they cannot count on you.

“Bouncing back” is not in your cards. But you can rebuild your relationship and help fix your family’s life if you’re willing to go for it.

Counseling would be helpful for you and the mother of your children. I also suggest you start dating her. If she is willing to see you, you should get responsible custody of the children and begin the process of trying to reconnect.

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You and your partner can benefit from sharing, 9 Steps to Heal Your Resentment and Restart Your Marriageby Tanja Pajevic (2014, Abbondanza Press).

Dear Amy: I am an introvert and am uncomfortable participating in group discussions.

It bothers me when someone in the group (usually the loudest one) turns to me and loudly exclaims, “Smile, John!” or “How come you’re so quiet?”

It usually derails the conversation with an awkward silence as the other members of the group stop talking to look at me.

I feel that such remarks are not only rude, but commenting on the facial expression or behavior of another person in the group is hurtful.

I often feel anger and wish to reciprocate verbally, but for the sake of peace I remain silent.

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What would you advise me to do in such situations?

– Silence

Dear Silence: You’re right about how disrespectful it is to ress someone in public and comment on their behavior or facial expression – unless it’s out of concern for that person’s well-being.

Even if it’s hard for you to talk at these times, I wonder if you could say, “I’m quiet because—I’m listening.” To someone who tells you to “smile,” you might respond (in private, if that’s better): “Please don’t tell me to smile. It makes me extremely uncomfortable.”

Dear Amy: In response to “I’m surprised,” she shouldn’t be sending money to two young college graduates she barely knows. All you need is a card. Why do so many columnists think people need monetary recognition for nothing?

They can do without your money.

– To be real

Dear Being: I suggested that “Wondering” just do what she wanted, but if she chose to send money, that the amount be very modest.

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