Cheats and cowards?

Joey Garcia

My 15-year-old son told me that my wife is having an affair. I told him that I trust my wife and don’t believe it. I didn’t even let him finish. I have not spoken to my wife about this. My son gets along well with me but is sullen and disrespectful toward his mom. My wife keeps talking about the difficulty of having a teenager in the house. My son says my wife is sexting some guy she works with, and he read the messages (now erased). My son tells me daily that he hates his mom. The tension between them is unbearable. I am not sure what to do.

Listen to your son so he feels understood. His hostility toward your wife will continue until he is guided into releasing his feelings in a constructive way. Instead of denying the possibility of your wife’s affair, listen to your son’s fears that his mother is having an affair. Can you grasp the difference? Your son is scared that his mother is not who she says she is, that his family structure might be radically altered and that his father is asleep at the wheel. When he mustered the courage to talk about these fears, your response was to push him away. In terms of your relationship with your son, it doesn’t matter whether you are a cuckold. What is important is that his feelings are heard, that his worries are received without overreaction from you and that he is reassured that sharing his fears with a caring adult is a good choice.

It’s possible that your son is right. It’s also conceivable that he liked or dated someone who cheated on him, and he is projecting that pain. Projection is a defense mechanism. We unconsciously engage in projection when we deny feelings, thoughts or traits of our own and imagine other people are lugging that baggage.

Your rejection of your son’s fear reveals some denial in you. An unwillingness to listen may mean you carry a shred of suspicion, too. That feeling isn’t evidence that your wife is cheating, of course. But it is a nudge signifying that you have a little housecleaning to do (in your mind and heart, that is).

I think that I married the wrong man. My husband is an engineer who is not interested in anything but work. He cannot hold a conversation. I don’t know why I never noticed this when we were dating, except that we spent a lot of time hiking, biking, skiing and playing tennis. He was in a car accident that required several surgeries and doesn’t enjoy sports much now. He works, watches TV and goes to bed. I can’t live like this anymore. Please help me. I feel like I’m dying.

You bonded through a shared passion for athletics. The chemicals our bodies produce naturally during exercise probably added to that attraction. Now that you’re married and sporting activities are limited, you must find new inspiration. Stop grieving what you can no longer have. Imagine what could be possible. Athletes who compete in the Paralympics paved the path for new approaches to our favorite sports. Take a page from their playbook. Adapt your favorite sports to your husband’s current capability. Explore new sports together. You can also challenge yourself to practice new methods of approaching conversation with him. For example, have you talked about his grief at not being able to share his love of sports with you, the one he loves? Please do. That’s a conversation worth having.

Dear Readers:

Love is in the air! Yes, I’m back on the radio. Tune in to, and catch my new show Love and Reality on the Today’s Talk channel.

Meditation of the week

“Out of clutter, find simplicity; from discord, find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. Joey says: “Shake the clutter of self-deprecating or cruel thoughts from your head to make space for inspiration and discovery.”

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