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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My husband has females friends

Customer Question

My husband has females friends which he calls his "sisters". I knew he was friends with these women when we were dating but I really thought it was different than it really is. I have male friends but we don't hang out together. I don't go to their homes alone and they don't come to mine. I have strict boundaries for myself and I never put myself in a situation that might not be appropriate. My husband goes to their house for dinner while I'm at work. They flirt and definately do not act like brother and sister. I told my husband that I did not like his relationship with these women and if he was going to see other women I was going to see other men. He is furious. So am I. He does not want me to go out with my male friends because it's "not like" his re





I don't know what to do. I hate his relationships with these women but asking him not to see them will cause him to resent me. I will pay dearly for it


 




Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 5 years ago.

First thing - two wrongs don't make a right. What is the point in you just doing to him what you so resent him doing to you. It IS very tempting to "hit back", but it never really solves a problem.

I suggest you take a very objective look at this situation and decide on three things (a) Do you think his behavior suggests that he is cheating on you. If not, why are you worried?

(b) If you think it is a form of cheating, how strongly do you feel about it? Can you put up with it?

(c) If you cannot, how hard are you prepared to push this?

We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Like a child, your husband is going to have to learn to accept boundaries, and you have to give him reason to change.

He needs to know that if he does not change his ways, you will have to consider all your options, and that might mean you ending the relationship.

There is an old saying that "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got", so if he will not change, your future with him is going to be just like your past.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

Never, never be blaming or accusatory. Tell him how you feel about his behaviour, and make sure he understands that while you love him, his bad behaviour is hurtful and will not be accepted.

Remember, you do not exist to please him, or meet his needs. It cannot be all one-way traffic

For that reason, I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

You need to be able to see your situation more objectively and rationally, so that you can make good, balanced decisions about your future.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also causes the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted, the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm

Best wishes,

NormanM