Warning Signs
Slideshow: Can a marriage survive infidelity?

Four years ago, Nick's "seven-year itch" affair resulted in a pregnancy. Lauri " who has had three miscarriages " is still trying to accept the constant reminder of her husband's affair.


"It destroys me to know that I can't have kids, but my husband had a child with someone else while we were married," says Lauri. "I know I will never forget, but I do need to forgive. Dr. Phil, I'm trying to accept this child in my life, and I really don't know how."


Nick is no longer making excuses for his behavior, but he does want Lauri to share his love for his son. Dr. Phil says the number one priority is the well-being of the child. When Lauri withholds affection from Nick's little boy, she punishes an innocent child.


"I know it's not the child's fault," says Lauri. Still, Dr. Phil cautions that she needs to not label her stepson as a symbol of her husband's infidelity or her inability to bear children.


"You might have had legitimate complaints about this relationship," says Dr. Phil to Nick, "but you picked an illegitimate way to deal with them...When you turn away from your partner to meet your needs, that's a bad dynamic," Dr. Phil explains.

 

He also advises: "If the only time you talk about this is in emotionally charged situations, you'll never get anything resolved."


Dr. Phil tells Lauri she has no reason to feel guilty. "You need to give yourself permission to own your feelings," he says. "You have the right to be pissed off. You have the right to worry about where he's going and what he's doing."


At the same time, he says, she needs to either "find a way to forgive, or get out." Living in limbo is not a good option, and depriving her stepson of love is not acceptable either.


Six months into their marriage, Darla discovered that her husband Jason was having an e-mail affair.

 

"I just need someone else to talk to," justifies Jason, who says he was just "chatting" with the other woman in the beginning, but that it ultimately did constitute infidelity.


"If you want to know if something is cheating or not," says Dr. Phil, "just ask yourself, would you have done it if your spouse was watching?"

 

Darla, he says, has a decision to make: Can she afford to invest in this relationship? "You should never invest more than you can afford to lose in a relationship," Dr. Phil explains. "The best predictor of future behavior, so if you can't afford to stay in, get out."


There wasn't much celebrating when Todd and Gina recently marked their third wedding anniversary. Todd had an affair, and Gina can't get over it. Even worse, the couple hasn't discussed the affair since Todd came back home.


"I promised I wouldn't hold the affair over his head, but I haven't been able to let go of it. How can I get the respect back in our marriage?" asks Gina.


"When someone has been betrayed, a necessary condition for getting past it is being heard," says Dr. Phil. "He needs to know what he's done to you emotionally."