The Pivotal Question

"Do you want a divorce?" Dr. Phil asks Carole, who admitted to having an emotional affair.

She pauses before answering. "I don't know," she says.

Dr. Phil makes it clear he thinks highly of their family and the children they've raised. "But life is managed, it's not cured. It's like you can be going along and then boom, there's a big right turn in the road, and we have to navigate that. You say you don't know whether you want a divorce or not?" he asks Carole.

"I mean, that's where I'm leaning toward," she says.

"Well, here's the pivotal question: Are you willing to stop your relationship with this other man and any others that you may know or have an affiliation with, until such a time that this situation gets resolved with clarity? And I ask you that because if you are not," he says, turning to her husband, "then Bill, we're in serious trouble here." He tells Carole, "You will never, ever resolve this situation when you've got a third party involved here. Are you willing to stop that relationship until you resolve this?"

"Yes, but I don't believe I'm being fair to Bill by doing that because I'm not giving Bill 100 percent of myself," she says.

[AD]"That may be, but it's a beginning," he says. "Look, this is my belief: I think people in America get divorced too soon. They get divorced too quickly. If you want out of this marriage, you earn your way out of it. You've got a 19-year, six-child investment in this marriage, and if you want out, you turn over every stone, you investigate every avenue of potential rehabilitation, you examine the collective issues between the two of you, you put up some boundaries, you wall these kids off because they don't have any business ""

Dr. Phil turns to Kristin and Jenny. "You don't know what goes on between them behind closed doors," he says. Dr. Phil says children can want the best for their parents and give their input, but there should still be boundaries.

Dr. Phil gives the odds of Carole having a successful relationship with this other man.


"All I'm saying is you have been less than forthcoming with these girls. What I wish you had said was, ‘Frankly, girls, it's none of your business. Back off and give me some space,' instead of saying, ‘I'm going with three girls from work, and we're going to do this, that and the other,' because then they feel you're making a monkey out of them, you're playing them for fools and insulting their intelligence. I wish you had done that, and I hope you do in the future. You have the right to put up a boundary, and you put it up if that's what you want to do," Dr. Phil says. He indicates her husband, Bill and says, "You owe this man a clear, undistracted view of this marital situation. You owe him the right to try to resolve this issue."

[AD]He turns to Bill. "And I feel like I'm arguing your case instead of you. I mean, how am I doing?"

"You're doing a darn good job," Bill says.