Charles and Tracy's polyfidelity story caused quite a stir on the DrPhil.com message boards.
"The posts on the message boards have been telling me I need to leave, I need to burn his clothes, get an attorney," says Tracy.
"I'm the poster child for the men haters club in America," says Charles.
Three women who wrote in to Dr. Phil about this topic have some strong opinions about Tracy and Charles.
Nikkie, married six years and mother of two, says, "If Charles says he's changed, he's lying. When he gets mad and feels his needs aren't being met, Charles will always know the other woman is just a text message away. I'm so sick of women staying with cheating men. Charles is crazy. Tracy, you need a backbone!"
Pauline, married 20 years with a divorce in progress, says, "Once a cheater is not always a cheater. Men are human and mistakes are made. The affair is not just all Charles' fault. Tracy, have you asked yourself what you did wrong, and what you didn't provide Charles?"
Tiffany, engaged, says, "Cheating is a definite deal-breaker. I am engaged, and I have never been cheated on. If I were Tracy, there's no way I could ever get past Charles' cheating."
Dr. Phil invited Nikkie, Pauline and Tiffany to the show. "My dad used to say, 'Opinions are like butts, everybody's got one,'" says Dr. Phil, giving the women an opportunity to voice their opinions. "Nikkie, what do you think about all of this?"
"I think you're full of bull," Nikkie tells Charles. "This is your wife. Twenty years is a long time, and you treat her like pfffft." She spits elaborately. "You throw, constantly, up in her face, 'The other woman is beautiful. Men drop at her feet.'" She points to Tracy. "She's beautiful. She must've been — you married her."
"You ever been cheated on?" Dr. Phil asks Nikkie.
"Never. I'd gut him like a fish," says Nikkie. "She's given her time. And she loves him and you can see that in her and her heart is honest and she's true."
"Have you ever made a mistake in your life?" Tracy asks her.
"Yes. A mistake is, 'Honey, I forgot to pay the light bill, the light got cut off.' A mistake is not, 'I want you and somebody else.' That means something you're doing is not good enough," she says.
Pauline speaks up. "That's not necessarily true." She tells Charles and Tracy, "Yes, I think he was selfish. I think it was unnecessary that you flaunted this right in front of her face. That was horrible and it was torturous and I really feel for you, but I think after a while if you pull together and you really work at this and you really love one another, you can make it work, but it has to be both of you. If he stays on this path and he continues what he's doing, you should absolutely walk away and walk out the door away from him because he's not good for you."
Tiffany interjects. "I just don't believe that he's going to stay on the path. The last show, you had no compassion for your wife. You sit there today with your arm around her and you kind of sugar coat it for us, but I don't believe you," she says.
Dr. Phil addresses Tracy about an unusual response that she had to one of his questions when he last spoke with her. "You were kind of waiting to see, 'What is he going to decide? Is he going to pick me, or is he going to pick her?' And I said, 'Are you kidding me? Why are you waiting for him to decide what's going to happen with your life? You're a grown, intelligent woman. You decide what you want to do.' And your response to that was, 'Well, doesn't that put the burden on me to decide what happens in the aftermath of this affair? I don't want that responsibility.' I was floored by that response. It takes a lot to floor me."
Tracy explains, "In my kids' eyes, I felt like if I threw him out or if I left, then, in their eyes, I was going to be the one responsible for making Dad go away. I don't feel that way anymore. I can't determine what he's going to do. I have to work on me and get healthy with me, and I can't influence what he's going to do."
In another message board post, a viewer suggested that Charlie write a "no contact for life" letter. Tracy liked that idea because she's not convinced Charles has said goodbye to his mistress for good.
"I don't think I need to write the letter. I think it's beating a dead horse," Charles says, adding, "If it's symbolic for Tracy, I'll write the letter."
"Did you write the letter?" Dr. Phil asks Charles.
"I mentioned to her that I would write it in a symbolic way, but I haven't heard from the other woman," he says. "And I know her and I know she's actually with another man right now. It's not like she's calling me. She text messaged me once in the last few weeks and I text messaged right back, 'Please, no contact. Stirs up bad feelings. Go away.'"
"But you met with her four times?" asks Dr. Phil.
"You seem really articulate to me, so I can't imagine that it would take four meetings to say [goodbye.] I know there are emotions involved, but it doesn't take four times to say, 'I made a really bad decision. Goodbye.'"
"The first time was kind of a ceremonious goodbye," says Charles, who is interrupted by the audience's laughter. "And Tracy knew about it. Remember, she was a friend before we got involved."
"It turns out we only had a few minutes. She had to go pick up her daughter at school. So it was cut short and both of us decided we would get back together and unwind this thing," explains Charles.
Dr. Phil understands that Charles may feel a sense of responsibility for having led the other woman on, and may want to explain things to her. "But four times? Were you still wrestling with whether or not you could and would make a clean break?" he asks.
"It was three times in person and that one letter. It was very terse. I said, 'That's it, just don't even contact me.' It was really three times in person, and the third time was exchanging items. So we'd already said goodbye. So it was really twice," says Charles, again noticing the audience's laughter.
"Look, I'm not good at math, but you either said goodbye or you didn't. Did you get it done?" asks Dr. Phil.
"Yes," says Charles.
Dr. Phil asks Tracy, "You said you're having some identity issues right now,
"I'm not the dumb, young girl anymore," says Tracy, smiling.
"That's what I want to hear," says Dr. Phil.
Tracy has a message for the other woman:
"Just go away and leave us alone. Leave Charlie alone. Let us rebuild out lives together. Let us move forward, and you find whatever you need to find in your life, but please, just leave us alone and go away," she says, via video.