Dear Dr. Norquist: I need help. I am over 30, married for five years and have three children. We are trying to make our marriage work, but the problem is that I am in love with a married man who lives in Nashville that I met over the internet, but have never met in person. It started as a friendship and now it’s a romance. The problem is, I want him so bad that I want to go to Tennessee and spend the weekend with him. He says he is in love with me and that he wants to be with me. No, promises, no commitments, just one weekend together. I just don’t know if I should do this. What do you think?
Dr. Norquist responds:
You may unconsciously be expecting this friend in Tennessee to be your savior. He can look mighty good compared to the day-to-day interactions and situations you may be dealing with in your current marriage. Remember, you only know him through words. There is a lot of opportunity here for you to see him the way you’d like to see him. You must be your own savior here. Fleeing from your current situation into another man’s arms is not the answer. Remember that we carry our problems with us until we resolve them. Your problems will not all disappear just by changing partners. Also, there are children involved here, and this requires that you be responsible in your actions for their benefit. They depend on you to provide them with a consistent, stable and loving environment and it is your duty as a parent to do your best to provide this for them.
In the best of circumstances maintaining a blended family (your kids, his kids, and kids born of the two of you) of five children is an extremely difficult task. I strongly recommend that you and your partner reach out for help from professionals who are trained in providing guidance in these matters – a psychologist or LCSW with training in family therapy, or a licensed marriage and family counselor. Try to let go of your urge to run. Take a deep breath, and focus on the situation in front of you. Your first task is to do your best to determine whether or not you and your husband, with guidance and support, are able to preserve the integrity of the family you have created, and re-establish a positive relationship with each other.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken. Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2011 Chaitanya Counseling Services