Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Ask Amy: Couple can’t cope with feelings of guilt

Ask Amy: Couple can’t cope with feelings of guilt

  • 0

Dear Amy: My life with my (not yet divorced) live-in boyfriend of four years has deteriorated. We are both in our 60s.

He is experiencing ongoing stress and guilt from having an affair with me while he was with his wife. Work stress, physical problems and the ongoing pandemic have all contributed to his heavy drinking.

When he is drunk, he then blames me for “stealing him from his wife.”

When he rallies, he apologizes, but it happens again.

How do we both get rid of the guilt?

He knows he should be in therapy, but can’t seem to fit it in.

We want to stay together, but at times it feels really hard. Thoughts? K

Dear K: Feeling guilty when you’ve behaved badly is appropriate. You and your guy conducted an extramarital affair and are now living together, despite the fact that he is still married. The guilt attached to these choices means that you two are thinking and feeling people who have behaved regrettably, but don’t want to feel the discomfort attached to the consequences. Poor you.

The way to get rid of the guilt is to take responsibility for the behavior, apologize to anyone you’ve hurt, and hope that others will find a way to forgive you.

Your guy has transformed his own guilt into feeling sorry for himself and then blaming you for his behavior. That’s what toddlers do.

He needs treatment, counseling, and to make some big decisions about perhaps conducting his life differently. Anyone who has time to wallow and cry in his cups but can’t seem to “fit in” therapy obviously needs to re-adjust his priorities.

The next time he gets drunk and blames you for “stealing him from his wife,” I suggest that you offer to return him to her.

Email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.



Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Raising a puppy is a challenge for both new and experienced dog owners. Here are six tips for puppy rearing from the American Kennel Club.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News