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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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I repeatedly have dreams and thoughts that my wife cheated

Customer Question

I repeatedly have dreams and thoughts that my wife cheated on me or is cheating now. But I don't really have anything to go on other than my thoughts. Her family was split by divorce and her mom cheating on her father for 25 years. She says that really tore her up and that she would never do this. That she would leave me before cheating. I don't believe her, how do I get over this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
Thanks for using Justanswer.

You are doing a great thing for yourself by asking for assistance with this issue because you are probably suffering needlessly and all alone. Sometimes just talking about a problem brings the problem into better perspective which helps towards a solution.

Before I answer your question it would be helpful for me to have some more information about you and your marriage. If you wouldn't mind please give me information about the following,

How long have you been married?

Besides this issue do you generally trust your wife, if yes why, if no why?

Have you ever cheated in marriage?

Does your wife seem to get a lot of attention from other men, if so do you think she encourages it?

Is your wife in contact with her mother, is she a part of your lives?

Do you have children?

Besides this issue how is your relationship with your wife.

Are your parents married to each other, if so what is their relationship like? If not what happened in their relationship?

Do you have any religious beliefs or customs related to marriage, does your wife?

Is there any other history or information you think may be helpful for me to know?

Thanks for taking the time to help me help you.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley

Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
Mark Manley and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How long have you been married? 13 years

Besides this issue do you generally trust your wife, if yes why, if no why? Yes I do trust my wife, if I can't trust her then I wouldn't be married.

Have you ever cheated in marriage? Yes, and she knows about it.

Does your wife seem to get a lot of attention from other men, if so do you think she encourages it? No

Is your wife in contact with her mother, is she a part of your lives? Yes, she talks to her daily, we visit often. The first 6 years of marriage she did not talk to her mom, because her mom cheated on her father and then divorced him and married his brother.

Do you have children? 2 boys, ages 9 and 5

Besides this issue how is your relationship with your wife? I think very good, we are open and supportive, we love each other, we work through disagreements.

Are your parents married to each other, if so what is their relationship like? If not what happened in their relationship? They are married, they fought a lot when I was living with them. They love each other a lot but can argue a lot.

Do you have any religious beliefs or customs related to marriage, does your wife? We don't believe in divorce, we believe we should work through problems. Before getting married we stated that the only time we would divorce would be over cheating.

Is there any other history or information you think may be helpful for me to know? I am in the Army, and have been deployed a lot. So we do spend a lot of time apart.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.

It's no wonder you are troubled by fears of her cheating. You have many rational foundations for this fear. Just because there are many risk factors here does not mean she is, has or will cheat on you.

First let's look at the risk factors:

1. family history of infidelity.

2. long periods of forced separation.

3. History of infidelity in the marriage relationship.

While all of these are significant risk factors they do not individually or collectively predict further marital infidelity.

Let me go through the list and demonstrate:

1. Family history: Many people seriously vow not to behave as their parent(s) did in any number of areas and are successful in keeping their vow. I know one person very well who has been married for 29 years, 5 months and 13 days who never cheated on his wife though his family history was riddled with infidelity and divorce. If there is one that goes against the tide then there can be a second, and more, maybe your wife is one of them!

2. Long periods of forced separation: When living in a military culture marital infidelity is a prevalent issue. Just because it is prevalent does not mean it is inevitable. As you know from your own experience you can choose your behavior and you can re-choose your behavior regardless of your circumstances.

3. History of marital infidelity in your relationship: You may be projecting your own guilt on to her. Have you forgiven yourself? Has she forgiven you? If you are a believer, has God forgiven you ? Are you past it? Do you still struggle with temptation? There may be a part of you that actually wishes she would be unfaithful because you feel you deserve to be punished or you want the score to be evened to assuage your unresolved guilt. To what ever degree you have not come to complete peace on these issues you may tend to unconsciously project them onto your marriage, (heavy but true).

If you believe there are spiritual forces at work in our lives the following may apply. If not then skip over this paragraph. Good is in favor of stable secure marriages built on trust and fidelity where parents and children can grow in an environment of security. Evil is opposed to such situations and will do all possible to destroy them, including instilling and encouraging doubt between marriage partners. And so the battle is raging and it is more than physical, mental, emotional, situational it is also spiritual.
If this applies you may need some spiritual reinforcement as well.

Lastly: If you are suffering with clinical anxiety and/or depression the mind will often look for a tangible cause for the symptoms the body is experiencing. It is as if the mind says, I know there is a reason I am feeling fearful I will find it and attack it. The mind chooses the threat of marital infidelity and begins to obsess on it and thus feels a sense of control even though it is misdirected. If you think you may be struggling with a chemically or physically caused anxiety or depression, get a good physical exam and consider consulting a medical specialist i.e. a good psychiatrist. There is no shame in this and it may help.

Thank you for your military service to our country.

Best of success and happiness to you and yours.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley





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