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Reason or excuse?
January 2, 2000
2:31 pm
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dkw
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I'm engaged to a 36 year old woman I've known since we were both teenagers. We were friends for more than 20 years before we became lovers. The relationship has been the best either of us were ever in. 15 years ago, she destroyed her first marriage by having an affair although she loved her husband. When he tried to forgive her, she wouldn't allow it. Since then, she's destroyed every relationship she's had in the same way. About six months ago, she began having an affair with her boss. She has been honest with me about the affair and has told me she wants to break it off. However, she hasn't been able to. I thought she was dragging her feet to avoid an awkward situation and have tried to be supportive. Just before Christmas, I decided that she'd hurt both of us enough. I contacted her boss and told him about us. On Christmas night, she told me that all her life, she's fallen into the same ruts and made the same mistakes. She's also told me that she feels she sold her soul when she "betrayed" her husband. Now, she claims, she has to make herself miserable as "penance for her sins". I love this girl and believe she loves me. Is this a legitimate mental health issue of guilt and obsessive behavior or is it just an excuse? If it is a mental problem, can it be helped?
Any information would be appreciated.

January 2, 2000
8:21 pm
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VRJ
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I think you should investigate it further because I've read in many places that people actually sabotage relationships and do things to punish themselves out of guilt, fear of commitment, etc. Try a few books like 'He's Scared , She's Scared" or books on codependency or Adult Children of Acoholics. Better yet, talk to a good counselor. They could probably give you good insight into the person and also yourself.

January 3, 2000
10:27 am
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Cici
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There are probably several underlying problems going on. Unfortunately, people can't work things out for themselves until they recognize they have a problem. I've known a few people in my life with similar impulses...most were women who were sexually abused, molested or assaulted and one of them never admitted she had been assaulted to me, even though I'd known her since I was 8! So although she's admitted to being relationship dysfunctional, the real evidence to accepting that she has a problem comes in finding help...

January 6, 2000
10:35 pm
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site coordinator
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dkw,

still out there?

Guilt and feelings of low self-worth can cause a good deal of self-destructiveness...

In addition, it's can be very difficult to resolve/work through these painful cans of feelings. Many people keep them tucked away, and wait for them to go away, or try to resolve them on their own...and if not layed to rest, these feelings can develop behaviors, including affairs.

- SC

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