I’m a Married Man Dating a Younger Girl. How do I Handle the Devastating Aftermath of this Affair?

Dear Deb:

I am typing this from my girlfriend’s email. I need some advice or some answers. I am a 47 year old man who is in love with a 22 year old woman and I love her to death. I am married. There have been problems in the marriage, but the affair brought all the problems out.

My wife hired private investigators to watch me. She cut my credit cards off two times. She had me in jail 2 times. She has taken my money. She watched my phone on the computer to see who I was talking to. She put recorders in my truck. She changed the locks on the house. She threw my clothes out of the house – every single piece of clothing that was in my closet. When she did that, I had to get an apartment.

Can you help me?

(Unsigned)

Dear Unsigned,

We here at AskDeb are not entirely equipped to handle this kind of question. You should talk to a professional who can help you with your problems. First, you need to talk to a lawyer to know what your rights are. Whether you were having an affair on your wife or not, you have rights. A good divorce lawyer will know what those rights are.

Second, talk to a professional counseling service. Regardless of how unique you believe your situation is, a trained veteran marriage counselor has seen your situation before – and probably many times. Here is a list of websites where you can start to get the help you need.

Marriage Counselors and Family Therapists – Discusses what to look for in a marriage therapist and offers a director of marriage counselors by state.

National Board For Certified Counselors – Put your city and state and click boxes to indicate what you desire counseling for and this site offers trained therapists in your local area.

Cornell Lawyer Director – A directory of legal advisers and lawyers put together by the Cornell Law School in New York City, New York.

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Divorce Magazine – Another directory of divorce attorneys for those needing a good lawyer.

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy – This is a trade organization for marriage and family therapists, where you can get information on divorce or your local marriage therapists.

Though I would take anything said from a divorce community with a grain of salt, if you feel the need to talk to others who are going through a divorce or have recently done so, these are a couple of divorce support online communities: Divorce Support Forum and Divorce & Separation Support. Once again, use these communities to blow off steam and get a little empathy, but don’t use these as a substitute for professional counseling assistance.