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30-second therapist: How do I get over an emotional affair?

Need a quick answer to a relationship dilemma? Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her relationship advice in TODAY.com’s “30-second therapist” series.Q: My husband of 12 years broke my heart by talking to my ex-best friend of 18 years. Nothing physical happened. They just flirted with what future they might have together. We have 3 children, so I've decided to fo
Man working as wife sleeps
Man working as wife sleepsToday
/ Source: TODAY.com
Today

Need a quick answer to a relationship dilemma? Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her relationship advice in TODAY.com’s “30-second therapist” series.

Q: My husband of 12 years broke my heart by talking to my ex-best friend of 18 years. Nothing physical happened. They just flirted with what future they might have together. We have 3 children, so I've decided to forgive him and move on in our marriage. I just don't know how to let go of the pain and really move on and be happy. We've been together for 16 years and my family is my world. Please help. —Broken-hearted Wife

Dear Broken-hearted,

In my book, “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats,” I underscore that cheating will push lifeless lovers either to mend what they have or end what they had. Your husband’s emotional indiscretion is pushing you to consider that you made your man and family your “world,” but you obscured your own needs from the mix. To attract any man, your weepy victim signature must expand to that of confident victor!

Hubby crossed the line and acted on his fantasies because he apparently felt a void. Not a healthy fix!  But your own emotional exit from the marriage must also be assessed. You can certainly love your husband and family, but loving yourself first is necessary to show them how. The right therapist can help you return to the exciting woman your man once craved.

Q: After being married for 23 years, I asked my husband for a separation six months ago. I listed things so we both knew what the other one would be trying to fix. We kept in touch, but he had not made the effort to seek counseling. When he would ask about us, I would say I didn't know yet. It was hard for me not to let him return home because I love him dearly. Recently, I discovered that he’s seeing someone else. He said he's dating because all he ever heard from me is, “I don't know yet.” I told him to divorce me now because he has disrespected our vows and me. I feel betrayed! I thought we could get past our issues. How can he turn off 23 years of feelings and move on so quickly? Please help! —Separate But Unequal

Dear Separate,

Lady, what kind of mind games are you playing? You demanded a separation, forced hubby out of the house, outlined his problems, and dictated what he must do to re-enter. When he obediently asked “When?,” you said you “didn’t know yet.”

I don’t recommend dating during separation because that’s when introspection should trump licking wounds with another body. But you’re playing the injured and betrayed wife after manipulating this showdown.  Girlfriend, you can’t control a mate!  Every couple has issues, but those who thrive solve them TOGETHER. To answer your question, the reason hubby could quickly turn off 23 years with you was that he finally located a pair of scissors to clip his puppet strings.  —Dr. Gilda

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Dr. Gilda Carle  is the relationship expert to the stars. She is a professor at New York’s Mercy College and has written 15 books; her latest is “Don’t Bet on the Prince!”