"He Cheated on Me While I Was at Work"

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His Turn

"I knew the affair was wrong, but I didn't care," admitted an obviously chastened Ted, 34. "I feel horrible, but I have to say that Hallie hasn't been very loving to me in a long time. She's made it clear that I'm way, way down on her list. When she gets home on Thursday nights she rushes to see the girls, barely giving me a nod. Can't she manage a hello? A peck on the cheek? On weekends she plans things as if I'm not around. We never go anywhere without kids in tow. I can't remember the last time we did anything fun or romantic. Forget sex. She's either too tired or angry. At least Erin made me feel special and wanted. She asked questions about how I was feeling, what I was doing.

"I don't even remember how the affair started. Erin came on to me all the time at our kids' soccer games. It was a good six months before we actually had sex and after the first time, I swore I'd never do it again. But then . . . well, I just didn't let myself think about the consequences.

"The fact that Hallie is away so much puts a lot of pressure on me. I know I agreed to all the travel, but it's not working for either of us. Money was a big factor, too. When I lost my job I floundered for a long time. It felt terrible to be let go, even if it was because of the economy, not my job performance.

"I can't get work done when I have to leave at 2:30 to pick up the kids. I can't make late meetings or ever see friends after work, either, because I have to relieve the babysitter. I don't begrudge Hallie her success -- she's incredibly smart and has worked hard for it -- but I'm not accomplishing as much as I want to and I have no time for myself. Yes, I'm glad for the chance to know my daughters better. But once Hallie gets home, I'm back to being invisible.

"Our phone conversations are torture. Hallie interrogates me about every detail of the girls' lives: What did they eat for a snack? What did the teacher say at pickup? If I don't remember and report back exactly, I'm a negligent parent. Then she starts with the orders: Make sure they brush their teeth; don't forget to take them to swim class. Does she have to micromanage everything? Can I get a little credit here?

"I find it hard to talk about all this because I've always kept my feelings to myself. I'm an only child, not particularly close to either of my parents. Both were investment bankers who had little time for me -- or each other. They divorced when I was 13 and for several years I lost contact with my father. Knowing how hard divorce is on kids, I'm determined to spare my own kids that pain.

"I realize I was a selfish idiot and I've ended my relationship with Erin. I love Hallie and want us to stay together. I want to be the father I never had. But my marriage just isn't making me happy."

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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