Targeted Therapy

Can This Marriage Be Saved? He Started an Affair on Facebook

January 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm , by

By this point in time, pretty much everyone on the planet – and their mother, neighbor and dog – has a Facebook account. That may be an overstatement, but with over 500 million active users, the tally isn’t too far off. And while it’s a great place to reconnect with old friends, share photos and updates and generally keep up-to-date with the people in your life, it’s also an easy place to get into trouble. And not just the computer-hacking, home-robbery-when-you’re-on-vacation type of trouble, either. In the Can This Marriage Be Saved? column from our February issue, one husband used the social network to get back in touch with an old flame and start up a new affair.

Sue, a 40-year-old working mom of twin teenage girls, is married to Carl, also 40, who travels frequently for business. As Sue found out, he ended up traveling for more than just work.

Sue’s side She’s totally blindsided by her husband’s affair.  The other woman, Jill, is Carl’s high school girlfriend who dumped him not long before Sue and Carl went on their first date. When they met, Sue was wary of getting involved because he seemed hung up on Jill, but by their second date he seemed to have forgotten about her and they fell in love quickly. Now they bicker constantly because Carl seems to think that despite her full-time job she doesn’t need help around the house, and they also don’t have anything more than surface conversations – and definitely don’t have sex. She loves Carl and wants to save the marriage, but at the moment she can’t even think straight.

Carl’s side He didn’t want the affair to happen and had no intention of sleeping with her when they reconnected through Facebook, but when he saw Jill in person after suggesting they meet up for coffee, he felt the past evaporate and his old feelings rushed back. He now talks to Jill constantly and has slept with her several times, and he can’t seem to stop himself. He’s totally unhappy in his marriage and thinks Sue talks down to him, is always anxious and acts like a micromanager and a dictator. In his eyes, the marriage has been in trouble for a while and it’s only come to a head because of his affair.

The counselor’s take Many people don’t consider the implications of reconnecting when they hit “send’ on a friend request, but adolescent relationships can leave strong marks that are tough to erase. Sue and Carl were terrible communicators, trading accusations and brushing their true feelings aside, and it’s tough to save marriages like theirs because the anger and blame runs deep. Since Carl’s affair had flourished via email, the counselor recommended he and Sue communicate that way, too, so they could speak honestly and really hear each other. He also had to vow not to talk to Jill for at least 6 months while he and Sue worked on the marriage. They had to slowly work their way back into sex after he violated her trust so badly. They started to go on dates, just the two of them, to restore their intimacy. After 6 months of counseling and steady progress, Carl told Jill that he and Sue were a team and planned to stay that way.

What do you think? Is it too easy for old flames to reconnect on Facebook? Have you ever gotten back in touch with a past love?

Don’t forget to pick up our February 2011 issue for the full story, on newsstands now!

Some Good News About Cancer!

April 20, 2010 at 8:48 am , by

Last week I appeared on Fox’s Headline Health to chat with Dr. Manny Alvarez about our feature on “Good News About Cancer.” You can read our story in the May issue of LHJ or click here. And see a brief video excerpt of our discussion, below.

Remember in the movie Love Story, when Jennifer (played by Ali MacGraw, complete with fabulous dirndl minis and “Cliffie” girl tights and turtlenecks) is diagnosed with leukemia? Before we can even process this horrible information, she and her preppie husband, Oliver (played by Ryan O’Neal) have to leave the snowy New York City skating rink and head to the hospital as the famous piano theme music swells. Her character died way too young, and way too fast. That’s how it was with leukemia in 1970. Things are different now.

Thanks to targeted new treatments, patients with some cancers are living longer, stronger, happier lives than ever before. One of the women in our story, Virginia Garner, was diagnosed with leukemia 12 years ago. She enrolled in a clinical trial and was one of the first patients to be treated with Gleevec, a drug that turns off certain proteins in cancer cells that cause the tumor to grow. She’s still on the drug and is training to run her 10th marathon. Now that’s an improvement over 1970!

While there’s still got a long way to go on the road to a cure, it’s good to take a moment to be thankful for the progress that’s been made.

And one last thought: Did anyone, ever, really believe that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry?” I didn’t think so.