I’ve been married for eighteen years. I thought everything was going well, until my thirty-six-year-old wife met a twenty-four-year-old guy on the Internet, who worked in another country. They began to talk on the phone and my wife says that they fell in love. She says that she has never loved me and will never love me. Desperate to find out if this guy is the love of her life, she went to visit him for a week, and they decided that this is what they want, so they are planning a future together.

The bad thing about this is that we have a twelve-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. My wife wants to take them with her, but I want them to stay with me. So far I haven’t been able to convince her that what she wants is wrong. She has everything here with me, and I have always loved and respected her. There she will start all over again.

I already decided to forgive her. I love her very much, so much that I told her if she goes and then it doesn’t work out with the other guy, I would take her back. What should I do? I don’t want to hurt her by parading her publicly with an imminent divorce. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I’m only concerned about doing right by her.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry to hear about all that is happening to your family. In addition to the sadness that you feel, we are sure that all of this is very confusing for your daughter and son.

We believe that you should not allow your wife to take your children. (If your country requires your permission to allow the children to leave, do not give it, even if she says it’s only for a visit.) Your little daughter and son are settled in their home and school. They have friends and activities. There is no good reason to uproot them so that your wife can try out a different life. Please consult an attorney regarding your rights. You may need to get a court order, but if that is what is needed, then do it! We understand that you love your wife and want to give her everything she wants—even permission to take off with another man—but you must think of your children’s welfare first. We believe that you should be ready to fight for your children in court, if that is what it takes.

It sounds like you are certainly a very understanding and loving husband. It is commendable that you are willing to forgive your wife in order to preserve your family. However, it is also important for you to distinguish between right and wrong, and to teach your children the difference. Your wife is breaking one of the Ten Commandments, which is to not commit adultery. And your children need to know that what their mother is doing is wrong, and that you do not support her decision even though you love her very much.

You cannot change your wife’s mind nor can you protect her from the natural consequences that are going to be the result of her foolish decision. Instead, what you can do is to make a decision that your first priority will be to provide a loving and supportive home for your children until they are grown up.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles