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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Hi I have been married for almost 5 years now. My husband

Resolved Question:

Hi I have been married for almost 5 years now. My husband treats me better than any one I have ever been in contact with. i went through a funk and ignored him for two months :( he went into a depression from his thryoid and i was getting out of my funk. for 8 months during his depression he went on facebook and talked to an ex girlfriend. i found out about it and we went to counseling but he did it again and now has stopped. we are repairing our marriage but i cant seem to get rid of why he did what he did. they claimed they were friends and the ex recently got engaged. please help :(
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I think you have some sense about how his depression from hypothyroidism and the fact you distanced yourself from him, may have prompted him to find some 'attention' from another woman. You say that he has done a pretty exceptional job of treating you well. Of course, I assume you have reciprocated in this during the past 4 years, so you know how hard he tries and how hard you have tried. If this is the case, then I suspect that if he could talk about what happened with his ex-girlfriend with complete frankness, he'd say that he rationalized doing this i.e., he thought it might be fun, exciting, to receive some positive attention from her but that he didn't have a true goal of infidelity in mind i.e., cheating on you in a serious way. Yes, there is some emotional infidelity here that you rightly are feeling, but I think if you are smart, you will not try to 'figure out' why he did it; but instead, you'll focus all of your energy on finding how YOU can try to improve the relationship. Again, I think you can assume he felt neglected, depressed, and was looking for something to boost his mood and self-esteem. So if this true, the issue for you to figure out is how can I step in long term and do a bit more to boost his self esteem, help him with his thyroid-related depression (because this will probably be a chronic, recurrent issue now and then). How can we improve our communication a bit more? Your husband does need to hear that you would view it as quite serious, "emotional cheating" or "emotional infidelity" if he contacts his ex again i.e., you don't have infinite patience for this sort of thing. On the other hand, you are primarily interested in working on improving the relationship and realize that you can make some personal changes if it will help.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So you are saying the marriage can be put back on track and he wouldnt have strayed if i was there for him? He said he needed someone to vent to and I wasnt there. But why did he talk again after he knew I was upset? His answer was he wanted to end it on his terms. But this was all done during his work hours which I wonder now when he is at work? Can our marriage be saved? Thanks so very much for your time.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
What I'm sharing with you about your husband's behavior is sort of a 'guy's perspective' on it. He apparently really enjoyed the attention he got from his ex girlfriend and though he agreed to not contact her again after you found out about it, there probably WAS a very reinforcing or rewarding emotional connection occurring. She was probably quite encouraging or flattering and he you can 'take this to the bank'-----assuredly, he wanted to break away from it slowly and kindly, so as to not hurt her feelings. Now you may fee angry and indignant about this last point---not wanting to hurt HER feelings, when he put you through an emotional meat-grinder. Yes, he hurt your feelings and knew you were upset and he said he would not talk to her again. However, the 'guy thing' for him to do would be to try to end it on his terms (as he told you). So here he has an ex-girlfriend who probably is flattered that he contacted her and they are having some sort of emotionally rewarding connection, you tell him to break it off and in that moment, you get very angry upset with him. I would have coached you to do something 'more' at that point'. Yes,----- go ahead and show your upsetness and distress, but IMMEDIATELY communicate to him that you realize that this even must mean there are problems in the relationship---and that you love him and want to work with him to fix the problems In other words, if you primarily played out the role of being the injured-victim-wife, and did little else, except expect restitution, you missed an important opportunity. I'd like you to set aside the goal you have of trying to figure out why he contacted her again for just a moment and read the first reply I wrote several times, and then this second one. I'm hoping to get you to shift your thinking about this so you understand what a guy thinks.

Then, get back to me with your thoughts and comments.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I understand....I truly do.....for a while it was all him in our marriage and I used to think why does this man stay with me. He assured me he only contacted her because he was sick and needeed someone and i wasnt there....we are working on our marriage but i just needed advice if i was a fool to stay. he keeps saying if he wanted her he wouldnt be staying with me. is that true? can our marriage work? Thank you so very much
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
He did commit repeated acts of emotional infidelity with this other woman. The smart thing to do is to agree to work on the marriage but at the same time, be quite vigilant about his behavior. As I suggested in a prior post, he needs to know that you can't put your heart and soul into the relationship again only to have him step out on you and disappoint you once again. I would be quite firm that if this sort of thing were to happen again, you'd almost certainly leave the relationship. I don't think you are a fool to stay but i do think you can assume an attitude of 'trust but verify'. You will probably have to be quite vigilant for the next couple of years, in order to feel emotionally safe again. It IS true that if if he wanted her, he would be with her and that he is choosing you. Men (and women) do stupid things like your husband did and it can take this kind of upheaval in a marriage for them to see what the consequences are. They experience a bit, first hand, the prospect of losing the marriage and their spouse and decide to re-commit. Your marriage can work but again, you do need to commit to working at it though couples therapy or whatever avenues you two choose; but at the same time, it really is essential for you to be cautious and a bit self-protective. He should have no email or membership accounts on line that you don't know about or have the password XXXXX I'd ask him for this information. Ditto with money/bank accounts cell phone accounts, etc. Do you believe you have full access to these things and that he is being completely transparent with you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

he keeps saying he would have left me for her but he didnt so that means they were only friends is that correct?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I created a fake facebook account and now have the women as my friend. they have not been in contact since the second time around. I feel horrible that I did this (this is what my husband did create a fake name etc). I check her facebook and make sure they arnt talking. she even messaged me thinking it was him and was a bit upset with him asking if it was him and that she was hurt he told her "goodbye for good."

 

We have joint email and joint cell phone bill and I am always checking his phone in which he doesnt mind or care at all. He told me I am not going to find anything again and that he wants our marriage. I am just scared that he may have another phone or email at work that is hidden :( I thank you so very much for your time.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I created a fake facebook account and now have the women as my friend. they have not been in contact since the second time around. I feel horrible that I did this (this is what my husband did create a fake name etc). I check her facebook and make sure they arnt talking. she even messaged me thinking it was him and was a bit upset with him asking if it was him and that she was hurt he told her "goodbye for good."

 

We have joint email and joint cell phone bill and I am always checking his phone in which he doesnt mind or care at all. He told me I am not going to find anything again and that he wants our marriage. I am just scared that he may have another phone or email at work that is hidden :( I thank you so very much for your time.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
Very good. You are trying to 'trust but verify'. This is the proper, rational thing to do. I hope this can work out for you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael
Mental Health Professional
2177 Satisfied Customers
Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.