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Counseling Couldn't Fix My Broken Marriage

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Marriages don't end neatly. Especially marriages with children.

couple in therapy with child

Wife #2: Patrick and I never really contemplated what would happen when we told our spouses we'd fallen in love with each other. That's not because we were flippant or uncaring. We just became consumed with the need to be honest, for their sake and ours. We weren't thinking about the fallout. We were thinking about trying to do the right thing in an impossible situation.

When our spouses asked us to walk away from each other, to give them another chance, we agreed. They deserved at least that. But asking us to give each other up was like asking us to give up breathing. After all, do you really need oxygen?

You can imagine what the months that followed were like. It was the dead of winter. My husband and I would come home after work to either screaming fights or stony silence. There was no in-between. I was sick over what our children were seeing. Our marriage wasn't great to begin with, and it quickly became intolerable.

I remember driving to marriage counseling every week during those long, cold months. I hated sitting on that couch, listening to my husband berate me for falling in love with another man, while the therapist nodded in that neutral "I won't take sides" way. Honestly, it would have been better if he'd just berated me too. It was all such a load of crap!

(Fire up the laptops because I can almost hear your keyboards clicking out there in cyberspace ... the gall of Wife #2 criticizing the sanctity of marriage counseling!)

It's true. I just don't believe in couples therapy. I'm not saying it's entirely useless. I'm sure some people who really have trouble communicating benefit from a third party leading the way. But in my opinion, most therapy is just an expensive b*tch session. No offense, but I'd choose a great girlfriend with a glass of wine over that any day.

In my case, it didn't matter what the therapist said. I wasn't having some kind of inner crisis, I wasn't struggling because my own parents divorced, I wasn't lashing out because my husband had been neglectful for years (though for the record, he had been). I was in love with another man and not in love with my husband. No amount of earnest psychobabble was going to change that.

At one point the therapist asked me to describe Patrick, to explain my feelings. I remember looking down and saying, "He's the love of my life."

Years later, I still feel dizzy thinking of that moment and the pain I caused. "Love of my life" should have been my husband's rightful position. He had eight years of marriage and three kids on his side.

That may have been a turning point. Eventually my husband's fury started to outweigh his wanting me back. He also seemed to realize what I already knew: Patrick or no Patrick, I was leaving. The marriage was permanently broken.

So thousands of dollars in therapy got us to exactly where we started. We didn't end any more amicably because we went through it. It didn't help me in the least. Maybe it helped my ex, I don't really know. But at least that's one reason not to regret it entirely.

next: Sarah Palin to Kids: "Obey!"
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