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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have been married two months and have been with my husband

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I have been married two months and have been with my husband three and 1/2 years. I am 39, he is 46 and this is the first marriage for both of us. My husband had several long-term relationships and keeps in casual contact with a few of his ex's. I have never understood the concept of maintaining friendship relationships with former partners that one was sexually and emotionally intimate with. I think it is unfair to one's current partner. Personally, I wish my ex's well, but have no desire to communicate with them. I continue, after three and a 1/2 years, to be jealous and angry about my husband's contact with his ex's (when the topic arises). He insists that he will not sever or change any relationships in his life for me and I am just being completely insecure and irrational. Isn't it reasonable for a wife to want her spouse to gradually end communication with ex partners? I'd appreciate feedback. Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how distressing and confusing this situation must be for you. You are clearly an intelligent person and a very loyal wife. In your eyes, your husband, however, does not seem to be loyal and faithful as you are.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about.

Your husband does not SEE himself as being disloyal to you. He sees himself as fulfilling all the requirements of marital loyalty and you as being unreasonable and irrational. So which way is it?

You are right in sensing this is a dilemma. It is a dilemma because it seems you two do not share the same values. You believe that marriage is a level of commitment that is absolute. You may have had a sexual and love relationships past; but they are firmly in the past. That is your signal within your values that your commitment is unwavering. That is your value. When one commits to a marriage, one foregos any past relationships. This is the traditional value of our society and the societies of the past.

He does not share this value. He does believe in monogamy and affirms it. But he reserves the right to maintain relationships that have emotional content and intimacy with other women, including or especially women from his past. To him this is not a contradiction of his belief in monogamy. He takes a "modern" view of monogamy as being sexual fidelity, not emotional exclusivity.

So, this is the issue separating you. It's that you sense he doesn't believe in these values you do. I think it's time the two of you had this discussion not in terms of whether he is "betraying" the marriage or being "unfaithful" or "disloyal" but what your values are as individuals and if they match closely enough to have a marriage. His name calling and belittling is worrisome. But it may be because he is frustrated at being accused of things that within HIS values are completely unjustified. I give him the benefit of the doubt at this point. So print out my answer and take it and him to a Starbucks or some other quiet place and have the discussion.

If you get through the discussion with greater hope for the marriage, there are two types of therapies I recommend strongly for you two to consider. One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. This one is the one I would use in your situation first. Why? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Because this difference in values is causing a very large emotional barrier between the two of you and it will not go away without the core value issues being addressed.


Here is the web address for their therapist finder:

http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg.

The other therapy is Gottman therapy. Here's their web address for finding a therapist:


http://www.gottman.com/49824/Find-A-Therapist.html

Why? Because his couples therapy model is the most straightforward model available. So if you don't connect with EFT, use this therapy. I hope that therapists working in these types of couples therapies are listed for your area.

Okay, I wish you the very best in this and in the future!

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. You can continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5158
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Mental Health Professional
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Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice