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          Forgiving a Deceased Partner

          November 15, 2002

          What happens when you discover your mate has cheated on you? “Abby” didn’t discover her husband had cheated on her until she was going through his things after his funeral. Now, she is caught between conflicting emotions. How does she mourn the loss and get past her anger?

          • When your spouse has an affair, it’s his/her choice — not yours. You don’t control whether or not your partner cheats. Let his decision go to the grave with him. Don’t blame yourself for a choice he made.
          • Still, Abby blames herself for her husband’s affairs. While trying to be a good mother and have a career, she believes she neglected her marriage and forced him to wander. Abby’s husband may have had legitimate complaints about the marriage, says Dr. Phil, but his solution was totally illegitimate. When you have a problem in a relationship, you need to solve it by turning toward your partner, not away.
          • Dr. Phil tells Abby to make two separate trips to the cemetery. On the first trip, “You need to go chew his butt out! You need to say ‘That was your choice, your fault. I do not blame myself … I’m mad at you, as mad as I would be if you were alive today.” On the second trip, tell him: “You were my husband, and you’re gone and I miss you.” Let the conflicting emotions behind those two trips exist mutually exclusively.
          • If you’ve been cheated on, says Dr. Phil, the best revenge is living well.

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