Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Welcome, I am a professional counselor, Behavioral-Consultant and relationship expert.
I'd like to ask a few questions to better understand your situation before providing an answer. I see that you are not online right now so I'll check back shortly for your reply.
That sounds fine.
Thank you. I'll leave some questions here and then check back after for your responses. If we don't meet up for live chat. We can correspond by leaving replies. I'll then provide you with an answer to your presenting question and some helpful links to learn more about what I say in it.
1. Is your question just about the correctness of your current feelings or would you also like some suggestions about what to do in the current situation?
2. Have you talked about the money issues and your feelings about trust with your husband? What is your marital communication like? How did you deal with the affair together in the past?
1. I told my husband that I this brings up all the trust issues again, and that is showed lack of respect for me as his wife. He always tries to justify things or minimize them, and or redirect the topic. He thinks one thing has nothing to do with another. I guess I am looking for validation of my feelings and some suggestions.
2. We don't talk in detail about any issues. I try and have told him I want to feel more like a partner in life's decisions, and plan for things etc. I feel we love sort of moment to moment. I think he always feels on the defensive. With the affair, we seperated for about 9 Months (I told him to leave). I went to counseling on my own during this time and we also did a few sessions of marital counseling, and somehow we stayed together but it has been rocky at times. I don't think I have ever felt completely trusting of him again. Little incidences over the years, such as this seem to bring up a lot of the old feelings, and the same reactions in him when I confront him.
I typed "love" moment to moment but I meant "live"
Thank you for providing such detailed answers to my question. You know, I'm very sorry to hear that you are going through this marital and personal distress right now.
To start off with I can certainly validate your feelings in this situation. They are totally normal given what you've described. I don't think anyone in your situation could avoid feeling very upset.
It sound's like your experiencing the chronic frustration of one of the most important core relationship needs, - the need to feel emotionally safe and secure in your marriage. This is an attachment need and the best available relationship science tells us that the basic needs for safety, security and the sense that we really come first before all other people in our partner's life, is as important to our emotional health as food and air are for our physical health.
When core relationship needs like this go unmet, we have a built in self-protective mechanism to get anxious and eventually angry. In most cases It's our partner's responsibility to soothe and re-assure us through their words and actions when we feel those primary feelings of fear and sadness, much like how a loving parent soothes and responds to an emotionally distressed child.
When these primary emotions of fear and sadness go unresolved for to long than reactive or self protective anger and resentment begin to define the relationship, and negatively shape it's communication patterns. For example, you may have heard of Dr. John Gottman's work in which divorce can be predicted with almost 100% accuracy based on the presence of the criticism-defense, stonewalling and contempt style's of communication.
Ideally you and your husband need to be able to communicate and meet each others' core relationship needs. These relationship maintenance skills need to be learned like driving a car, because sadly we aren't born with them. I recommend learning as much as you can together about what the best relationship researcher/therapists have to say about these skills and how to learn them.
I’d suggest that you read 2 relationship books with your husband one by Dr. John Gottman and the other, perhaps the best available, “Hold me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson, the best marital therapist and relationship researcher around. I’ll provide links for these books shortly. These will help guide you in developing an effective approach to addressing the money issue you described.
I suggest making a reading date night if you can, and take turns reading to each other 1 chapter per night. You can answer the questions at the end of each chapter together. Another suggestion if the reading date is not possible for some reason right now, would be to at least read these books at the same time separately, so you have a strong common framework and language for addressing your relationship issues.
If the reading doesn’t work out you may wish to attend “evidence-based” marital therapy. I would suggest EFT therapy or therapy with a trained Gottman Therapist, in contrast to the couple’s work you did earlier. In most cases an EFT therapist will get far better, lasting and positive results working with a couple than will a marital therapist, psychologist or counselor will, who does not have the science-based training an EFT therapist has. EFT results often take place in as few as 7-10 sessions.
In fairness to your husband I have to say again that relationship repair and maintenance skills are like driving driving skills. He can’t be blamed for not knowing how to communicate or problem solve effectively. Also, criticism although very natural in your case will only elicit defensiveness, particularly if your husband hasn’t yet learned the skills needed to effectively meet your needs right now. In most cases it’s not the husband but the behavior that’s the problem, and behavior can be changed when you know how to change it. You’ll learn lots more about this from the links I provide and from reading the books I recommend, which you can get at your local library in most places to save money.
It’s so important to learn how to express your needs through the use of I language, and by describing the underling need for safety and security, rather than being critical, but it’s also really hard at times and one of those skills that needs practice for both of you. You may find that your husband has some underling needs that once properly expressed and met, will make it easier for him to meet your needs, in positive and emotionally corrective cycle.
Here some links that I think will be helpful for learning how to express your needs and to explore and listen for your husband’s relationship needs. I’m including links for John Gottman’s 7 Conversations book and Sue Johnson’s Hold me Tight book along with some other video learning resources to get started and links to find a very good therapist should you decide to seek marital therapy:
Dr. John Gotmann (couples communication videos and link):
If you choose to go to couple’s therapy at some point, please make sure that you choose a therapist from this list with a “C” or an “S” beside their name and credentials if you can (S is usually better). If you can’t find a therapist in your area I advise e-mailing or phoning the EFT and then the Gottman Institute Sites as there are often therapists around the world who haven’t registered with the find a therapist lists:
I hope I've satisfactorily answered your presenting question. If so, please don’t forget to press the “Accept” button on your screen. If you feel I’ve missed something please let me know and I’ll do my best to improve my answer for you, before you pay.
I can also opt-out if you'd like to get a second perspective from yet another mental health expert from our team. It's important that you not pay for an answer that is not acceptable to you, but also that you let me know how best to improve my answer for you as well.
I wish you and your Husband the very best!