A Reader Writes…
Thank you for “HCIETYA” and “Resolve Your Differences”. Both books have helped us in this agonizing reconciliation journey. However, I am having problems with regaining respect for my wayward husband.
He has done everything since discovery to heal his betrayal. We have read both books together and put your techniques into practice. I know that his efforts should go a long way toward rebuilding my respect, but I find the details of the affair undermine it repeatedly.
Do you have any suggestions for us? I’m afraid that the marriage will be destroyed if I don’t resolve this dilemma.
Sometimes, especially if a couple is in Attempted Normality, the obsessing about the affair can be positive. It keeps both parties focused on fixed the underlying causes, finding a lasting solution to marital problems and stops issues being swept under the carpet.
Assuming that you’ve been working hard – which is sounds like – and especially if six months have gone past since the discovery, I normally recommend one or a combination 0f the following:
- The Discoverer think about why he or she wants to keep talking about the affair. Often it is because he or she is having a bad day and needs reassurance. In this case, he or she tells their partner: ‘I’ve had a hard time and I’ve been feeling…… Can I have a cuddle?’
- The Discovered gets more assertive (see Resolve your differences) and talks about his or her feelings: ‘I know you are upset about the affair, I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you because I really love you. However, I think it is unfair to go over those details.’ In general, the Discovered should be prepared to talk about his or her partner’s feelings but not answer more probes about what they ate at a candlelit supper.
- To stop all couple time from being consumed with talking about the affair, they make an agreement to discuss what happened for one hour a week (at an agreed time) and anything associated with the affair can be brought up – but at all other times, the subject is off limits.
- The Discoverer asks him or herself: ‘What in this behaviour for me?’ Normally, there is an unconscious reason for harping on. For example, I counselled one woman who could not let go because if she went back to feeling normal again and her husband cheated, she would be destroyed. If she held onto her hurt, it would be just a continuation of the first pain and she could cope.
I hope this gives you some food for thought. I would also look at ‘Help your partner say yes’ and when my new book on sex comes out try that programme too (as I’ve had a lot of success with couples stuck after an affair.)
My husband admitted to having met someone else. He is not keen to call this an affair, it was an intense relationship that developed into a physical one, sex is still denied. Since the confession, we started counseling and have had three sessions. for two months, my husband continued the affair at a much lighter level and lied about it throughout…I found evidence through searching his belongings/phone bill etc at as many opportunities as I could. He has now shut everything down, changed passwords etc. He says the spark has gone in our relationship for him and he has built up a guard against me which he hopes to explore with me and we both hope to break it down. unlike the above, he does not tell me he loves more, that I am beautiful nor is he able to say at this stage that he will do whatever it takes to see if we can gain that spark back. he is unable to reassure me. We have had some positive conversations, yet as above I cannot stop thinking about him and her. when I am not with him I am convinced he is on the phone to her, with her, or chatting on his work chat with her. I know he can delete all evidence so know it is not worth searching anymore, and to ask to see evidence or to ask him if he is still in touch with her is only greeted with a defensive angry message such as ‘ are we really back here again’, ‘are you really asking me that again’. I have never truly been told it is over and that he has no intention of picking up with her again, only that it is over and that he will get back in touch if we do not work out. I wish there were a way to help him to see that he can be truthful with me and for me to start to believe him. I am reluctant to end this for us, without a mutual agreement. It does not feel right to end this relationship on this basis.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I’m sorry but he does not sound ready for counselling yet. He is too caught up in the drama of his ‘intense relationship’ and if keeps lying, the ground keeps moving and there is nothing for a counsellor, you or him to get hold of. That doesn’t mean that you have to end the relationship – see ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ for a strategic withdraw. (It is better to wait until he is ready to talk rather than claiming ‘I tried counselling but it didn’t work.) A strategic withdraw will also help you get out of the drama triangle – see ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ for more about this. Finally, you can’t make him see anything but you can look after yourself and communicate clearly and calmly. I hope my books help in your journey.
I need advice my husband has been treating like way different here lately not given me his attion or talking to me,,,since I been finding wired shit in his phone calling private numbers and I ask him about it he don’t say nothing an don’t e xsplain it,,and he trips out and starts blame me an turns it around and start saying I am the one doing wrong I just a ? And I have a gut feeling something just ant right
Andrew G. Marshall says
That’s because there is…. if he’s going on the attack, it’s because he has something to defend.