April and Charnay are wives who recently discovered that their husbands were cheating. What caused their spouses to stray, and can their marriages be repaired?
A Secret Cell Phone
April says her world came crashing down when she discovered her husband, Jeff, had a secret cell phone filled with racy photographs and text messages from another woman. After 15 years of providing fancy cars, expensive vacations and a beautiful home for their family, she says the betrayal cut deeply. Jeff admits to the affair, but says his infidelity is not what ruined their marriage. He claims April is verbally and physically abusive and emasculates him for not making enough money. Can — and should — this marriage be saved?
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“I’ve always been the leader and provider, financially, in this home, and he had the nerve to go and cheat on me.”
Dr. Phil asks April if she’s in love with her husband.
“I love Jeff with all my heart,” she says, wiping away her tears.
“Do you really?” Dr. Phil asks. “Were you in love with him before you knew somebody else was in love with him?”
“No,” she admits. “Not in the last year or two.” She admits that she’s said horrible things to him and has gotten physical with him in anger.
Dr. Phil points out that he thinks April is very condescending to her husband about her being the financial provider for their family. He asks Jeff, “What affect do these things have on you?”
“It changed the way I felt about her, and it hurt me inside. It’s probably why I did what I did,” he says.
“No, you did what you did because you made a choice to turn away from your partner, outside your marriage, and take up with somebody else, instead of manning up and dealing with the issues inside your marriage,” Dr. Phil says. “You’ve got to own that decision.”
“That’s correct,” Jeff says, adding, “In my defense, I wouldn’t have done what I did if we had that perfect marriage.”
Dr. Phil makes it clear there is no justification for infidelity and says that Jeff had plenty of options instead of cheating.
April says she thinks they can save their marriage if they make some major changes — like Jeff stepping up to be the breadwinner in the family. She says they are in debt, and she’s tired of being the provider.
Dr. Phil says they’ve defined their relationship from the beginning as a parent/child relationship, which never works. He tells April that she’s very controlling and proud, and although she wants to talk about money and the burden she has of being the provider, he says their marriage problems are not about money.
Since Jeff has accused April of being verbally abusive after she drinks, Dr. Phil asks her if she has a drinking problem.
She admits, “I absolutely could have a drinking problem,” but says she’s reduced her drinking in the previous months, and she hasn’t turned to alcohol at all since she discovered Jeff’s affair a month ago.
“Pouring alcohol on raw emotions is like pouring gas on a fire. You don’t need to be anesthetizing your inhibition centers right now,” Dr. Phil tells her.
Dr. Phil reviews April’s criticisms of Jeff. And, how can she get over the betrayal?
April says if they are going to fix their marriage, there are five things she refuses to negotiate on. Find out what she requires. And, does Dr. Phil think their marriage can be saved?
Dr. Phil offers the couple professional counseling to help them find out if they can rebuild their marriage. He recommends they work hard as partners for at least 60 days before making a decision, and urges them to stop the abuse and require more from themselves.
Another Woman — and a Baby
Charnay says after one month of marriage, she learned her husband J-uan cheated and fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend while he was engaged to Charnay. She says she never would’ve married him had she known the truth, and that their relationship has now deteriorated to the point that J-uan has been physically abusive. Should she “run like hell?”
“All my dreams were shattered.”
Dr. Phil puts J-uan on the spot: Why did he marry Charnay?
Dr. Phil answers Charnay’s question: “Should I run like hell?” And, can J-uan change?
Dr. Phil tells J-uan he needs professional help, and if he doesn’t learn to control his anger, he’s going to wind up in jail. He tells Charnay that J-uan is a high-risk candidate, until he gets proper help.