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Should I Give Up on the Church Wedding?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Five years ago, my husband and I married in a courthouse. When my family found out, they were truly hurt we didn't go the traditional route.

So we decided after my husband went through boot camp, we'd get married through the church for our families to see.

Well, year after year, the wedding was put off. The past couple of months, my husband had been acting strange and distant. Whenever I'd mention the wedding, it would always cause a fight. I eventually gave up talking about it.

Now two weeks ago, I found out he's been cheating on me for nine months. The worst for me is I can't even hate him because I love him so much.

He screwed up and knows he did. He is genuinely sorry and doesn't know why he did it or why he didn't stop. He was with one girl once and another girl for eight months.

I feel so betrayed but want to work on it. He says he needs time to figure out what happened and why. I wanted to go to counseling. He agreed. Now he thinks it's best to wait on that.

He says he needs space to figure out why he did what he did. We haven't been seeing or talking to each other. What am I to do? How long should I wait? How can I start fixing what has happened? And what about the wedding?

Sincerely,
Patricia

Dear Patricia,

Let me get right to the point: The wedding is not the problem. The infidelity is the problem. I regret to say that infidelity is very common among the military couples I see in my practice.

I can honestly report that I see a lot of marriages survive infidelity. With work -- intense work -- many marriages emerge much better and stronger after infidelity.

This can happen for your marriage too, but let me tell you why I'm deeply concerned about you. First of all, I am concerned about the level of cheating from your husband. You know about two women over the past nine months.

Secondly, he is saying counseling is not necessary. That is another bad sign and a red flag.

Lastly, he has moved out and you aren't seeing or talking to each other.

Patricia, love should have bought him home to you, not into the homes of other women. Really, it's just that simple. When someone cheats, that person needs to admit they are wrong and then the two of you stay in the same house while you figure it out.

Living separately, even if it's just for space, can increase communication problems and provide more access to cheating. Living separately also causes more isolation between the couple that will increase the emotional gap. In my practice, I see the longer the separation, the wider the gap.

Right now, your husband is not acting like he wants to save this marriage. Right now, your husband can do whatever he wants to do while you sit and wait, hoping he will come to his "good senses." He probably won't do that.

You need legal advice. You need a legal separation. Your husband will quickly make up his mind and decide which side of the fence he wants to be on. If you don't make up your mind, you will be tossed around emotionally.

Let me leave you with something my grandmother told me: "Vicki, a man will do everything but quit -- if you let him."

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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