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Welcome to JA.com. Do you mind if I ask a few questions to better understand your situation?
i dont mind
Thank you very much.
Now first, I've gotten a pretty strong sense of what you're going through from your detailed statement. I am very sorry to hear that you are suffering related to your husbands lack of marital boundaries. How is your communication with your husband? Have you talked to him directly about this facebook behavior?
Have you confronted him about the list of woman's phone numbers in his phone?
I'd like to get a sense of what you say and how he responds.
with my husband we cant talk face to face especially about his acceptable behaviours,so i go to work and send him an email and yes i have sent him an email regarding the facebook issues and wanted to understand why he did that,but he decided to ignore it all and did nit respond,about his the woman in his phone i ave asked him several times how he would feel if i had a list of male friends in my phone and would sit at home and send them messags first looking for conversations with them,finding out how they are male friends he doesnt know nothing about,and he would not respond and ignore,then i asked him wat he has done about the situation of his lady boss the one he was flirting with and he did not respond he ignored again
What are you feeling in relation to your husbands lack of boundaries with other woman?
i feel very angry and bitter and taken back to the situation when he cheated on me and its become very difficult for me to trust him or believe anything and i feel like i always have to check up on his phone emails or anything just so i find out if there is nothing going on,i am just always unsettled
I really feel for you. The anger you are feeling is reactive or secondary, - it's emotional self-protection for the very natural and healthy underling need to be loved, to feel like you come first in your husband's life, and to feel safe and emotionally protected by him. This need for love is part of our human design, and we need that sense of safety and love from our partner for emotional health the same way we need food and air for our physical health.
Here is short video for educational purposes by the leading marriage expert in the world, just for educational purposes and to clarify what I meant above about the need for love...
wat do i do,i am just getting tired of everything,talking ,fighting,screaming jut anything wat should i do
Well, what I know from working with many distressed couples, or couples in crisis, is that the anger, like I said comes from the underling profound hurt, from chronically unmet core-relationship needs. What I would say to you both if you were in my consulting office is that your husband has a responsibility to set boundaries with other woman and be transparent with you, . That means he does not under any circumstances, flirt, keep old number or check on facebook for these woman. The relationship science and my clinical experience say that you need these boundaries...
I have time here this morning to chat for a while to try and work out a communication and boundary setting strategy. Do you have time right now to chat?
Yes i have time to chart we can chart
I'd also like you to take a moment to look at this video then so you'll have a sense of the communication patterns that predict divorce. The message I'd like to get across here today (this morning for me here in the north America), is that you have 2 issues: 1) the need for emotional repair; and, 2) the need for basic effective communication towards emotional repair.
As you can see in the video, divorce can actually be predicted based on how couples communicate. So a part of your best strategy here is to avoid these patterns when talking to your husband. It sounds to me like he is engaging in the "stonewalling" pattern. He's shutting down because he feels overwhelmed by the very need in you he's frustrated with his emotional affairs and historically with his sexual affair. Like most men, he probably doesn't even realize this. He just see's you upset. He thinks flirting is harmless. He may be pushed into flirting more because of this cycle of you being upset by his actions and his stonewalling, which in turn upsets you more.
How do you think your husband would react if you spoke to him calmly and told him about how deeply hurt you were with his flirting and lack of boundaries, if he could see your sadness and not your anger?
i have tried calm but all he says is i am controlling and i want to tell him wat to do or not to do who to speak to or not to speak to,i just want to be in control of everything the moment i just bring the issues up,he is already diffensive if he does respond
Another approach would be to write him a very clear letter, that explains what you are feeling in great detail. I'd suggest focusing on the underling hurt. You can explain to him how you're anger is a reaction to this hurt. You can outline your specific relationship needs, including the need for boundaries and transparency (that he stop calling, face-booking or flirting with any other woman) while married to you. It is so important that he see you're hurt and not your anger so that he feels more like protecting you from this pain and comforting you.
I've found working with so many couples in crisis where there have been emotional and physical affairs, that men just don't understand the need for boundaries in a healthy marriage. They also don't know how to communicate effectively. It's a basic set of skills they need to learn, like driving a car. Do you think your husband would be open to reading a book or 2 that you could get from your local library. Often when men see the serious need to change their behavior for their own good and what the relationship science says about boundaries and simple communication and needs-meeting they change very quickly....
I've seen situations like yours become the basis for a couple really learning and growing together and for affair-proofing their marriage. Your husband likely has core-relationship needs that he's not expressing and, which can't be met because of how he is frustrating you. We need to get this cycle turned around.
Let me know your thoughts here. I'm just brain storming with you, so far and sharing some information.
Again, saying a marriage needs love, boundaries to protect it and communication to keep it alive is like saying a person needs food and water to stay healthy. I'd like your husband to understand some basic facts about marriage from the relationship research.
like i indicated earlier i have done all the talking there is to do,i have set him down and told him what i am comefortable with and what i am not,i have explained how i eel about his flurting and communications with woman and he has said several times that he will stop but he never does,i have written a hundred long emails explaining how hurt i am not angry but hurt but he just doesnt care,hence my need to o on internet and seek for help
I hear you very clearly, you've tried calm communication and he's not responding to the boundaries you've tried to set for your marriage.
What do you think of my idea that he has some assumptions about relationships and flirting, that like most men in these situations he doesn't understand that divorce is predictable almost 100% of the time if certain behaviors don't stop and if other behaviors don't start. Do you think an educative component would help him to change more effectively?
i do agree with you when you say he things his behaviours towards woman and the flurting means nothing and has no harm,and if there could be anything that we can try,i can try i wouldnt ming trying the educative component if it could help
Does he read books or listen to audio books?
he does read books and yes he listens to audio books
Also, would you mind telling me about the counseling you went to? Was this couples' counseling? What was the method of counseling and what was the outcome in a bit more detail?
at first we went for a couples councelling where we had about two sissions the first when it was introductions just tellig the councelling wat we think is the root of our problems and that wen we spoke about the cheating and everything that came after that how it has affected evrything and we also spoke about his private visits to the baby mumy's place in the name of the child and he said he wont do it again but it never stoped,then the next setion was just a follow up of wat we discussed after the first sesion then suddenly he started having excuses everytime we ad to go for the councelling,then we went for a family councelling that is when i had told him i wa leaving then he asked my uncle if we could go and talk to him about our issues wewent he promised to change,but now we are still fighting about the same things,the he started seing a shrik for his temper management cause he hit me twice,and the shrink asked to see me and i saw her once and am still to continue with the sessions,but the fights are just not ending and his behaviours
Ok, my goodness you are going through so much right now. I hope you understand I am very sorry to hear this.
1. I think then a educative component is key to start. I would have him read the book Hold me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson and then read the book 7 Conversations for Transforming Your Marriage by Dr.John Gottman. These are the 2 leading marital researchers and marital therapists in the world. I'll provide links shortly for these books.
2. I would be very careful not to be critical when communicating but always try to use "I language" statements. Let him know how things are hurting you at that deeper level. You can't criticize when you start your sentences with " I feel" or " I really need you to." I'm not saying your over critical but just reinforcing the point about how criticism from either of you is one of the most problematic communication elements in marriage. I'm also concerned that he may get angry more easily here and I don't want you to get hurt.
3. I don't want to annoy you here, but there is a major difference between "evidence-based marital therapy" and the usual couples' counseling. Marital therapy is for very distressed couples, where as counseling is usually much softer, and less "scientific" in its approach. There is on EFT trained therapist is South Africa that I have found, you may want to consider attending marital therapy as a last resort:
This explains EFT Marital therapy:
I highly advise getting individual therapy with a marriage expert like the one above to plan next steps. For example, you may decide to 1) do the educative component, and 2) set real boundaries for your self that, you will want to take a break or separate for a period, unless he takes real steps to correct the marriage. My concern here is for your safety. I can't develop a plan like this with you unless I met you and your husband in person to assess safety and other important variables through clinical interviewing. Meeting a highly trained marital expert for 1 or 2 sessions for that kind of planning is critical. What are your thoughts?
yes i would love to get the therapy,and how do we meet you
Well, I'm in North America, and I can't work with clients on a referral basis from this website anyway, by contract. So what I've done is provide you with the contact information for an EFT trained therapist in South Africa. If that therapist is not in your area, you can get a referral from him for someone who is in your area who has the serious training to deal with these issues best. Face to face work is indicated here. Does that make sense?
yes it does make s sense,but meanwhile how do i deal with te situation at home we are not even talking as we speak
I think for safeties sake, you want to focus on getting to a properly trained therapist before making any major changes. What's different here was the hitting part. I'm just very concerned for your safety as per my training. It can't hurt to get the books I'll recommend. You can even read the book "Hold me Tight" together. It will very gently educate you both and provides an excellent guided conversation at then end of each chapter based on principals of EFT marital therapy. For the next steps planning if there is no change via the book and reading together, you want to make sure you work with and ask for an EFT marital therapist, a Fully trained Gottman marital therapist, or a Behavioral Marital therapist. These are the top 3 forms of "evidence-based" marital therapy. I'm just going to see if I can find some other properly trained therapists in South Africa. I am also going to get you the book references. If you have any other questions please feel free to post them in the mean time. One moment please....
Here is the "Hold me Tight" book link:
Here is Dr. Gottman's book I recommend you both read:
This would be a great home learning course on evidence-based marital communication and problem-solving, but it's pretty expensive. I would only get it if you have the money and know you would work on it regularly together as per the program outline:
I'm going to look for other strong therapist contacts in South Africa Now. I'm making sure you get the best resources available here so you are not gambling on popular relationship books that are really just junk - like men are from mars, or going to a poorly trained counselor etc. Back in a moment:
I'm just doing a more comprehensive search because one of the best evidence-based marital therapy approaches actually comes from South Africa:
Sorry I'm still looking to see if I can find an IBCT therapist in South Africa....
ok i ave placed an order for the book and cd
I'm still looking for the well trained marital behavior therapists in South Africa. Would you mind telling me which city and province or area you are in?
i stay in northgate area in johannesburg city in the Gauteng province
Well, I've done a very detailed search, and can't find a behaviorally trained marital therapist online in South Africa. I strongly suspect there are many in Johannesburg because one of the founders of behavioral therapy was based there. They just don't have a strong web-presence for some reason. The best thing to do is contact via e-mail or phone the EFT therapist/clinical psychologist whose contact info I provided above. If he is not in your geographic area, he will be best suited to help you find another EFT therapist in South Africa (I called the EFT main office in Ottawa Canada and they said that there are other EFT therapists that do not list contact info online all over the world). You should also ask him for contact info for an "Integrated Behavioral Couple's Therapist" in your area. If he dosen't know of one personally ask him where the best place is to find one ( a university contact or training program will be best).
Has this been helpful to you?
thank you very much to this point yesthis has been helpfull,i have already been intouch with that therapist whose contacts you gave me and i have asked for refferences in my area but he hasnt got back to me,and
in te meantime how do i deal with the situation at home
What specific issues at home do you need to effectively deal with? What are some brief but detailed examples, so we know exactly what we're talking about here together?
money matters who does wat and who does what
The woman charts on his phone,and the facebook issues because as we speak we are not talking we havnt talked the whole day since yesterday when i asked about why he was looking for his ex girlfriends on face book,last weekend we were fighting about his charts with his female friends
That would be a role clarification process. This means very clearly and simply letting him know what you would like to do, the educative process together, possibly seeking high quality "marital therapy" but in the mean time "clarifying your roles to live together safely and productively. Once he agrees to "role clarification process" you can then provide a list of what you need him to start doing and stop doing. You want to be very specific and matter of fact. You want to give him physical snap-shot examples of what you want him to do or not do, and when. I'd stay away from "the why" you want these changes at it can lead into conflict, which is not safe right now, potentially.
In the category of money etc, it's important to be specific on what you need, so you can ask that he pay for petrol/fuel every second fill up, for example. You can also ask him to pick up and pay for half the groceries. You should brain storm a list of money related changes and/or chore sharing changes; and then select the top 3 most important ones. Write these out with action steps for him to follow so there is no room for communication breakdown or confusion.
Regarding the flirting or emotional affairs, I would do the same as with the money issues. Don't focus on the why explanation just on the what and the "how to" like "please erase woman's phone numbers from your phone" Please don't call other woman etc.
I would ask him to put the relationships with other woman on hold until you both learn some basic communication and problem-solving together. But he may not follow through on that part until he learns the importance and value to him of these changes.
I don't want you to push emotionally on those affair issues because I don't want you both to escalate with negative emotions where there is a risk of harm. It won't make a difference to your marriage either. You have to discover and grow those currently small forces that are favorable to relationship change.
Next, you want to get a list of the the behaviors he needs you to stop and start doing. Ideally you both have 3 behavior change targets that you can work on for each other at the same time.
You want to really get an action plan like you prepared for him, that defines what changes you will make, so you can then do these changes and be able to ask him if you are meeting your commitment to do so. The more you start to meet his needs the more it will be easier for him to start to meet your needs. It's called "establishing positive behavioural momentum" in your relationship.
i will have a challenge in some areas,i know he will ask me to stop looking in his phone or checking his messages but for me thats the most efffective way to check up on him wat do I do i know he is going to say that
When you see him doing what you ask (like fueling up), make sure to really praise him and say supportive complementary things. The science shows that in healthy marriages couples say 5 positive or supportive statements for every one negative statement. These statements must be genuine to work as ways of supporting his behavior change. I want to provide another much shorter video because this point is really important for you both to learn and practice. I'll then address your last post...
Yes you're right. The best marital therapists and research in the world say that transparency is critical. That means there is nothing a husband or wife does that can't be shared if it means comforting the other partner especially during relationship repair and trust re-building. The challenge here though is he needs to understand this and buy-into it. You can't push him into it because he will most likely resist, stonewall and maybe intensify in his need to escape through flirting etc.
I don't know if there is any easy or fast solution to the flirting issue that can by pass his own understanding, - to see how it can benefit both of you so much for him to stop. It's going to take time and focusing on and reinforcing the positives at first in other areas. He'll need to learn about how incredible a healthy marriage is, where there's nothing to hide. Where you can ask for what you need from your partner and have the need met. Most couple's just don't realize this fact. 80% of couples (50% of men and 30% of woman) have affairs because they don't know how to ask for what they need from their partner. The frustration from not having needs met, as I said earlier, leads to negative communication and conflict which breaks down healthy marriage.
Core here will be learning to find out what he really needs and to meet those needs also. But he will ideally learn how to communicate his needs. The relationship communication ratio above may be very helpful. He may need to feel good about himself and to have praise and complements for his efforts, the science supports this. He may need help calming down when he's anxious about work. It may be helpful for him to talk about his fears and his dreams. He may need help to be a good father to his child from the other woman. You could actually help him here and support him, if you could negotiate that there was no flirting with the other woman. This is one of 100s of possible examples of relationship repair and areas for real affair-proofing that would come out in real couple's therapy.
as hard as it sounds i will do my best
It is hard, I wish I could just say here is an instant easy solution, but its real life hard work. But if you can get to that place together, where you are communicating and meeting each others needs it really goes by itself it's the learning together, like learning to drive a car, it becomes automatic once you practice. You're husband needs to see that driving is better than walking, there's so much more you can see or do. But driving in some areas can be dangerous without the right training, so you can't ask too much without the needed mutual basic communication skills and the vast mutual benefit and enjoyment this generates.
There is one other resource I wanted to add here. As you'll both learn from John Gottman's research it is important not to try communicating when you are "emotionally flooded." When we get to upset and angry we loose our intelligence or IQ. You could say the angrier we get the more "stupid" we get. - lol And communicating when we can't think can be harmful. Many of the seriously distressed couples I've worked with learn the relaxation response. Again, like driving it's a skill you can learn in a month. You can self-induce relaxation when every you are in a tense situation so you can think clearly and problem solve. Here is a great free online resource I share with my e-counseling clients to practice the relaxation response. You can practice relaxation any time you are very worried or upset during this process:
It's very simple and not to flashy but excellent relaxation training:
Well, have I answered your question today? Is there anything else I can help you with?
for today i can work with wat you have elped me with thank you very much for your time
To be honest I am passionate about saving marriages. I'm glad to have provided some assistance here and I wish you and your family the very best.
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i am very certisfied with the service i got today