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Family Matters I’m Listening Dear Karen and Debbie,

I am an almost 40 year-old woman who has been married for around twenty years. My husband and I have had our ups and downs; however I believed that for the most part our marriage was good. Last year I got wind of the fact that he has been having affairs since almost the time we were married. I have been devastated by this, and since then our “wonderful marriage” has all but disintegrated. We do not have children so you may be asking yourself why am I writing to you or why am I staying. I ask myself that question on a daily basis and I am ashamed to admit that I am scared to leave. He has been my everything. I do not work and have spent almost the last two decades following him around the country being his trophy wife as he has moved up the corporate ladder. He has become a big shot and I am feeling like a booby prize. I wasted my life and don’t know if I can start over without him, and don’t know if I can stay with him. I do know I need some help figuring out what to do, because I can’t stay like this for long. Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

The Booby Prize Dear BP,

Your letter strongly reflects a theme of being lost and confused, as if you are going through dense fog. Our first comment is to consider moving at a pace that will tell you that you are making sense of your life and decisions by noticing when the fog begins to lift! Your feel- ings are not uncommon. You clearly have a sense of humor, even during a difficult time in your life, which can be a very strong resource in difficult situations. Considering what other untapped resources you have, and those that have lied dormant for awhile, might be useful in clarifying what you want to do next. Aside from just deciding on whether your marriage makes sense, you may want to consider what you might pursue that will help you to grow as an individual, independent of your marriage. In our practice, we work with many women who are trying to “find themselves” again, some in situations similar to yours, and others following divorce, loss of a spouse, or when children are grown and out of the house. Re- gardless of the reason, it is a time for personal growth. In terms of your marriage, infidelity in and of itself doesn’t herald divorce, however you both may want to consider some couples counseling to get direction on the future. The bad news is there is no step by step GPS to finding your solution, and the good news is because there is no GPS, you have the choice to decide what uniquely makes sense for you as an individual and as part of a couple

Our Best, Debbie & Karen

During March Family Therapy Associates will be hosting a Pro-Active Parenting and Divorce Class© as follows: Tues. 3/1 at 5:30PM; Fri. 3/4 at 9:30AM; Tues. 3/8 at 9:30AM; Wed. 3/9 at 5:30PM; Tues. 3/15 at 5:30PM; Fri. 3/18 at 9:30AM; Tues. 3/22 at 9:30AM; Wed. 3/23 at 5:30PM; Tues. 3/29 at 5:30pm.

Karen Kaplan, MS.Ed, LMFT

Family Therapy Associates, “a center for positive change”, is co-directed by Karen Kaplan, MS. Ed., and Dr. Debbie Swayman, both licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)’s. The practice focuses on relationship issues involving couples, families as well as life transition issues. Email your questions to: The information provided in this article is not meant to be a substitute for therapy. If you are struggling with a problem, we advise you to seek professional help. Family Therapy Associates is located at 5551 N. University Drive, Suite 202. 33067. Please call Family Therapy Associates, at 954-341-2555 or visit their website at

Dr. Debbie Swayman, LMFT 24 March 2011 To Advertise in Coral Springs and Parkland City News, Please call 954-255-5226

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