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[Two Pronged] She had sex with ex, I want out, but we have kids

Is having a new girlfriend while married justified by your wife's cheating?

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes. Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years, as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives. Together, they have written two books: “Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality” and “Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.”


Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:

This is Efren of Zamboanga, currently working as an OFW in Dubai. I watch you in #AskMargie and I am interested in your advice for my present personal or psychological problem.

I will start by sharing with you my life experiences, especially on married life. Last April 2008 I came here to Dubai for a job. I signed a contract for two years, meaning I needed to stay in Dubai for two years without vacation. My wife and I kept in contact through SMS and chat, and sometimes doing cybersex… and of course, I think it’s normal for couples that there are things they dont agree on, especially when it comes to financial matters. 

After two years, I went home for two months on vacation. I was so excited, I spent a lot of money to have a date with my wife and daughter in a hotel, going to shopping malls, and visiting beaches for about 4 days… until we got home to our province.

One day I saw that her mobile received a message and I saw it. To cut the story short, I found out that she had an affair with a guy who was her suitor since their elementary days (she told me the whole story of what happened to them). She said, that year her father (my father-in-law) was sick because of cancer, she was depressed and they would meet sometimes because they were neighbors from way back. The guy kept communicating with her and time came that the guy promised to lend her money for their father’s medicine. She developed feelings for the guy until the guy suggested they meet at a hotel so he can lend her some money for her fathers treatment. What was not supposed to happen, happened.

The next time, my wife said she agreed to meet once more because she said she wanted to talk to the guy and make clear she wanted to have nothing to do with him, but instead, things happened between them once more.

She told me it happened several times until the guy threatened her. He said that if she no longer submitted to him, he will tell me that something happened between them. It reached the point that she said she could no longer stand it and decided not to communicate with the guy no matter what the result was. 

But the guy did nothing, and seemed to stop at threatening her. At least, this is the story of my wife. She never liked what they did, but they did so many things when they stayed overnight in hotels. Is what she is telling me the truth? I feel that, if she really didnt want to do anything, how could she stand staying overnight in a hotel with him? My wife and I went to our pastor for counseling and sometimes I can accept what happened but sometimes I feel so hurt. I feel like committing suicide.

I went back to Dubai and decided to separate from her, but before I left, I got her pregnant so my plan was diverted. I got her pregnant again a third time during my last vacation so now we have three children. 

Since that time, I dont know what to do. Its as if my life has no meaning. I am so depressed. It hurts me so much when I remember that they had sex together. I really want to leave her, but if I do, what will happen to my children? I pity them so much.  

I too did not plan to have a girlfriend and something also happened between us. I told myself that, if my wife didnt fool around, neither would I, but I dont know if I am just making excuses. 

Please help me, Doc and Mr. Baer. What is the right thing to do?  

I am now in love with my girlfriend and my girl is also in love with me. But we both know that, with my being married, our situation is not possible. Until now, I still cannot accept what my wife did to me.



Dear Efren,

Thank you for your letter. I have to say that your story leaves me very confused. One minute you are repelled by your wife’s infidelity, questioning every word she utters and contemplating suicide, the next you are busy impregnating her with not one but two more children. And now you are in love with someone else, a relationship that you describe as “not possible” even as you continue to get more involved in it.  

Finally, you bemoan the terrible fate that awaits your children, implying it is all your wife’s fault and denying your own contribution. Of course, none of the above in any way reduces your wife’s share of the blame for the pickle that you both find yourselves in today. Whether you believe her version – she was seduced into exchanging sex for medicine for her father and hated every moment of it, each and every time she submitted, all night long – or a different version – she hooked up with her ex for some joyous romps and “excuses” it with claims of blackmail – most people would agree that her behavior was reprehensible.

However, it seems that you have done your best to make a bad situation considerably worse. Wavering between separation, suicide and increasing your family exponentially seems cavalier at the very least, and adding a new girlfriend to the mix is more of the same. I suppose there is one bright saving grace. At least your new girlfriend isn’t pregnant…yet!

On top of all this you have heaped a liberal dose of hypocrisy, suggesting that 1) you did not plan to have a girlfriend and 2) your children’s future is your greatest concern. Nothing you have told us supports either of these notions. Not planning to have a girlfriend is scarcely a defense against a charge of adultery and it certainly does not exculpate you from the consequences of the relationship. 

As for your two additional children, it seems that the main interest you have had in them, so far, has been their conception.

You now want to know what to do. Well, when you first learned of your wife’s infidelity, you had one child and no other baggage. Now, still burdened by the knowledge of your wife’s behavior, you have added two more children and a mistress to your family. 

EVEN? Is having a new girlfriend while married justified by your wife's cheating?

Let’s consider the options you mentioned. You say that at times you feel suicidal. The throwaway manner in which you include this in your narrative suggests it is only an attention-seeking ploy to encourage us to view your wife’s adultery in as dramatic a light as you can manufacture, and so we will exclude it from further consideration. 

Then there is reconciliation. Apparently the solace of forgiveness has not come your way. Whether this is because your pastor was unconvincing in his ministrations, or your wife failed to merit forgiveness in your eyes, or you are not the forgiving type, we cannot know but despite the makeup sex – and of course the result: two more children – your letter does not encourage us to expect a grand reconciliation.

Thirdly, you tell us you were thinking of separation but the unexpected (?) increase in your family led you to abandon this solution. Quite what logic led you to this decision eludes me. What is it that validates separation from your wife and one child but prevents separation when you have more than one child? 

To my mind, you are already separated. You are separated physically because you live in different countries (but many people do so and are still married). 

The more critical separation is that of not being emotionally connected to each other: you are in a relationship with another woman and who knows what sort of relationship your wife is also in, depending on which relative next gets sick with what ailment and what blandishments her current knight in shining armor offers, and what sort of payment he insists on.

You are in no way unique. Thousands are living just like you are, and many of them have not even bothered to leave their home towns, much less go abroad. 

How much more separated can you get? 

So I would suggest that until such time as Filipinos choose to join the rest of the world and make divorce available, you carry on as you are. It may not be a solution that leaves everyone happy, but not all problems have solutions that do. 

If I have misunderstood your situation and you want to share more details, please write to us again.  All the best.


Dear Efren:

Thank you very much for your letter. I feel it struck a deep chord in Jeremy since he took up most of our allotted space. Your letter also struck a deep chord in me, but in a totally different way, so I shall respond next  week, ok? All the bestMG Holmes


Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Two Pronged asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments which appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

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