Dilemmas: I had an affair. But I can't forgive my wife for having a one-night stand

Ten years ago Greg had a love-affair, and his wife left. She then returned , but constantly made him feel guilty. Now she's admitted to a meaningless one-night stand when on her own. He's furious and wants to leave, but loves his daughter. What should he do?

VIRGINIA'S ADVICE

Talk about double standards! Greg has got to take a long, hard look at the situation. First, he didn't just have a one-night stand. He didn't just have an affair. No, he had a full-blown, long-lasting, emotionally committed, 100 per cent love-affair. During that time his wife left home, presumably because she found it unbearable.

How does Greg think she felt, for all those days or weeks that she was away? I bet she didn't wake up whistling: "Oh, what a beautiful morning!" Every single day she probably dragged herself about, positively marinated in bitterness, anguish, misery, jealousy and general emotional torment. Perhaps she cried herself to sleep every night. She probably felt she was no longer feminine or appealing to anyone. By his actions, Greg had made her feel like a lowly worm - and just as androgynous. I think it would have taken a woman of steel not to have succumbed to just one one- night stand during that period, if only to reassure herself that she was still attractive and sexual.

So, back she comes when Greg has decided his affair is over, and yet occasionally she's seized with rage about the unfairness of it all. That's when she blurts out her accusations about him, trying to make him feel guilty about what he did, trying to get him to grovel with apologies so she can have the satisfaction of seeing him as desperate as she was. But clearly nothing's been forthcoming; it sounds as if she's never really forgiven him for the affair - which could well be because he's never really made her feel as if he regrets it.

So why confess to this piddling little misdemeanour now? Perhaps she's frightened he's going to have another affair. Perhaps she feels taken for granted. Anyway, this frightful little time-bomb has been smoking away in her undies drawer for 10 years now, and for some reason she's decided to confess.

I really can't blame her, though it's a stupid thing to have done because some men are so dim about women and sex that they take even a one-night stand as a personal assault. A vengeful one-night stand for his wife, in this situation, could almost be seen as a compliment to Greg. It shows how very hurt she was. Certainly, she'd never have done it had it not been for Greg's appalling behaviour. If she said it was meaningless, then it was meaningless - nothing like the sex Greg had with his girlfriend, with whom he was passionately in love. That one-night stand for his wife was probably no more to her than using a vibrator that happened to have a bloke attached to the other end.

Greg has to see that it was his actions, almost certainly, that sparked off everything his wife has done. He had an affair - so she had a one- night stand. He wasn't sorry enough - so she's been trying to make him feel awful. He has been particularly unfeeling recently, and may even have had his eye on someone else, so she's finally delivered her coup.

Greg should grow up, and realise that he isn't the only person in the world to have feelings. His wife suffers pain and anguish, too. I hope that by understanding this, and realising that all that's happened is a sign of his power, not his powerlessness, he'll buy her a huge bunch of flowers, tell her that he loves her, and take her for a weekend in Paris.

For he will clearly ignore her pain at his peril.

READERS SAY

She needs reassurance

Greg has never communicated to his wife that he understands how she felt. Therefore she still feels it. Maybe it is impossible to understand such emotions until you have experienced the same thing yourself. Greg's wife was probably trying to give Greg some real knowledge. His own description of a "world fallen apart" shows he's now been enlightened!

Greg needs to tell his wife that he knows her hurt and should have made this clear when she returned. I assume he has already assured her that he has no intention of falling into any other affairs. (I am sure she will assure him likewise.) As he has discovered, you cannot live happily with someone who has formed a closeness with another.

Greg's wife did come back, so the marriage is worth saving.

RAE WOOD

Sad case of a selfish man

You are a very sad case. I am sorry to hear that your wife did not meet someone and fall in love while she was on her own - on the eve of your wedding. I can't believe that she "came back" when you fell in love after you were married. You're supposed to be in love with the woman you marry, remember? By the way, why did you get married? You sound far too selfish.

Both of you really have bigger things to worry about now, so be responsible adults and give your daughter a happy life. She is Numero Uno.

DA SEYMOUR

Cuxham, Watlington

You should admire her

Does your wife not also have the right to a life too? When you were burning in your love nest, she was out in the cold feeling rejected, second best and extremely insecure.

Your wife was then prepared to give your marriage a second chance even though the hurt, deeply felt, occasionally had to surface. She has given all, while losing so much.

Honesty of what time alone meant is probably her way of dealing with the trauma, before moving on.

How can you feel anything other than admiration for this person who wants to be your partner, to love and to cherish, for better AND for worse?

FRAN SMITH

Thorpe Bay

Essex

Next Week's Dilemma

Dear Virginia, I know you'll think this is silly, but so far no one's invited me to do anything for Millennium Eve. All my friends are asking what I'm doing, and they seem to be choosing between two or three parties. I don't normally do things on New Year's Eve, and I don't mind normally, but somehow the idea of spending the millennium night alone fills me with horror. You'll say: "Have a party of your own", but everyone I know is going out! What should I do?

Yours, Deborah

Anyone with advice quoted will be sent a bouquet from . Send letters and dilemmas to Virginia Ironside at `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, fax 0171-293 2182; or e-mail dilemmas@ independent. co.uk, giving a postal address

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum