Dr. Phil asks Carole again if she's willing to sever her relationship with the other man until she can figure out her marriage. "I think that means that you've got to be willing to stop that relationship, you've got to be willing to communicate with your husband, you've got to be willing to go to some counseling, you've got to be willing to see if you can figure out is this about you, is it about him, is it about the two of you, what is it you want and if you want out, then there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. And right now, in my view, you're going about it in the wrong way, and there's a lot of collateral damage from that. There's collateral damage to your husband, there's collateral damage to your kids, there's collateral damage to the family unit itself. It doesn't mean you don't have the right to pursue happiness in your life, but you've got to do while taking care of your responsibilities. So the question is to you: What are you willing to do?"
Carole thinks. "Go about it the right way," she says.
"I'm curious what you think about the fact that he's willing to put you in this position. He knows you're married with children. He knows them, he's met them, obviously," Dr. Phil says.
[AD]"Yeah, but he knows that I'm not happy in my marriage. He didn't come into a happy marriage and steal me away. I told him that I wasn't happy. I gave him that information," Carole says.
"I wonder if it ever occurred to him to say, â€˜You know what? I wish you the best with that, and I want you to get that resolved, and if you do, and you're out of that marriage, and I'm still here and around, then I would love to talk to you at that point, but I don't want to be a third wheel in somebody else's marriage'? I wonder if that would signal integrity on his part?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Well, he has said that. He has said, â€˜Well, get the divorce and then we'll move forward,'" Carole says.
Dr. Phil asks if Carole thinks the other man will wait for her if she tells him she first needs to work on her marriage to see if it can be saved. "Would he quit on you?"
Carole nods. "Yes," she says.
"That's why you're hesitating, because you think you will lose him if you commit to working on this marriage," he says.
"Well, of course. Yeah. I can't have both," she says. She says she wouldn't expect him to wait for her to make a decision.
[AD]"I think you owe it to yourself, I think you owe it to your husband, I know you owe it to your younger children. I think it would be appreciated by these two," Dr. Phil says, referring to Kristin and Jenny. "They're up and grown, and you don't work for them, and it's your choice, but I do think this relationship is getting in the way of your responsibilities with your younger children, if nothing more than just a division of time."
"If I make resources available to y'all to sit down as a couple, and talk about the issues and see if there's a way to recharge this relationship, are you willing to do that?" Dr. Phil asks Carole, and she nods.
"And understand this, I'm not asking you to compromise your dreams. I'm just asking you to go at them a different way," Dr. Phil tells Carole. "It may be that this marriage is over. It may be that it's freedom that you want, and it's freedom that you'll get. I want you to be able to look back over your shoulder to your husband, to your children and be able to say you did this the right way."
Kristin reiterates that they just want to see their mom happy, and Jenny tells her mother she's very hurt by their estrangement and has no idea why she cut her out of her life.
Dr. Phil stresses the importance of healing the mother/daughter relationships in this family, no matter what happens to the marriage. He recommends they start by putting up boundaries and not discussing Carole's marriage, but instead connecting as mother and daughter.
Finally, Dr. Phil expresses his concern for the youngest daughters. "I think there is emotional turmoil here, and I think these girls are at risk. And I think they are at risk of making some bad decisions." He explains that kids who live in a turbulent household tend to escape. "I would hate for these girls to flee into the arms of somebody who would tell them what they want to hear. I think you need to pay some real close attention to Jessica, whom I think is a delightful young woman. I think there are dynamics going on with her that if you pay even almost attention, they will become very apparent. And I think precious little Alyssa, I don't think she is as oblivious to this as y'all may think she is. Kids have ears, and kids have eyes."
[AD]Dr. Phil offers resources to help this family heal and move forward.