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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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My husband has been cheating but wont admit the truth to me. What should I do? Is it

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My husband has been cheating but won't admit the truth to me. What should I do? Is it right to demand the truth from him before I try to find a counselor?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Sorry to hear about your painful situation.
Can you give me some additional information by answering the following questions?

How do you know he is cheating?

What do you hope to gain from seeing a counselor?

Do you think he would go to counseling with you?

Do you think he will admit his behavior to a counselor?

Thanks.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How do you know he is cheating?
I can see a number on phone bill that he constantly calls and texts all night long. He had a routine of being away from home every weekend until I said something to him, then it stopped. He pushed me away for sex...no sex in five years. He hides his computer and phone usage from me, has both locked. He accidentally called me while with another woman, that he then explained was work related after first saying he was just playing around. He frequently visited an apartment building while telling me he was at work. He tells me I'm crazy and I guess all of this can actually have an explanation, but I'm basically ignored at home. He won't talk to me about our relationship and when I bring it up he blames problems on me while taking absolutely no responsibility. I am accepting of the fact that I played a role in this, but for over 20 years I took care of home and kids without ever thinking this could happen, never demanding to know every step he took, never demanding an explanation cus I knew that we were okay. have not been happy for a long time but knew that we were okay and waited for him to pay attention to now. but now after 20 years, missing affection and thinking I would never feel it again coupled with the signs from him starting me thinking and. When i tell the signs I see to any of my friends, they say it is obvious what he is doing. I am obessed now with getting more proof, maybe I'm crazy, don't know anymore.

What do you hope to gain from seeing a counselor?

Insight on how I can have feelings for him again. At this point I don't think I can based on how I feel right now, but want to sure before I leave. Need to do everything I can, but then I also feel that I can't do it alone. We have two teenagers and dread them going through this. He won't talk to me, but maybe a counselor can open him up to realize what I'm feeling. I think he is totally oblivious to my feelings and what I'm going through cus he is at the house acting as if we have nothing to talk about and i get disgusted when he brings up any other topic, like food to pick for catering at his retirement, color carpet to put in basement...i think to my self, how dare you want to discuss those things that are so trivial compared to our marriage. I don't want to talk to him about anything unless he wants to talk about our marriage. And he acts as though the times I brought up our relationship never happened.

Do you think he would go to counseling with you?
Yes, but only if arrange it. You see, it has been months since in an argument he said "maybe a counselor can help us", but he has done nothing to find or make appt. I have no idea if he is going alone, but i don't think so.

Do you think he will admit his behavior to a counselor?
I don't think cus he has repeatedly denied to me, but would hope so. I had even thought about not even bringing up cheating in counseling cus we have so many problems asise from that. On the other hand, I don't think I can continue in the marriage knowing i'm being lied to. So hope for the truth. I don't know how to tell him that I am willing to work on us if and when I get the truth. How long do I wait? I have though about moving out, but don't want to leave my kids. Lawyer said I could be blamed for abandonment. I have asked to leave since I got that accident phone call, that's when i considered us "separated", he won't leave or get out of bedroom. I'm the one sleeping on the couch/guest room. And he seems perfectly comfortable letting me sleep wherever.

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information, it is very helpful.

I know you are in a world of pain over all of this and I am going to ask you to do some things that are difficult especially when you are hurting.

Step one.
Just go with your assumption that he is having an affair and stop trying to prove it. You have sufficient evidence so don't waste your energy trying to get proof. This step is difficult because human nature says,'I must get proof so I am justified in my position'.

Step two.

Realize that you and he are good people therefore he is not having an affair to make you miserable. He is having an affair to try to make himself feel better because he was miserable. This is difficult because when has hurt you so much it is unnatural to consider him as anything other than a jerk. It is also so difficult to consider his side of things and to consider that you have contributed to his pain with out becoming defensive. Even though step two is difficult I encourage you to do it for your own happiness.

Step three.

Sit down with him and ask him this question "What needs would you need to have met for you to say you were truly happy and fulfilled in your marriage relationship, like good sex, good times, more attractive wife, less responsibility, etc?" He will try to get out of answering this question. He will not want to say something that leads to a fight and he won't want to have to think and feel deeply enough to look with in himself for the answer(s). When he has difficulty answering you don't get frustrated or discouraged, just encourage him,by telling him the answer is important because his happiness is important. It may take several attempts over several months to make significant headway on getting him to answer the question. You have time because you are not ready to leave him yet and the kids are still growing up. If you don't make any progress over time then tell him you want to go to counseling together to help him answer the question you have been asking him. Some where in this process he will start to cooperate or he will start to get serious about leaving the home, either way this will be progress for you.

Note: You may need a pre step 3 like a step 2 1/2. This would be you going to counseling to get the strength and clarity to carry out step 3 above. If you need support to carry out step three that's OK,no shame in that.

Step four would be about seeing if the two of you could be the couple to fulfill his wish list formulated in step 3. You need not worry about step four for sometime and maybe never as step 3 must be completed first.

I know this approach is terribly unfair because it focuses on his needs while ignoring yours. If you get past step four there will come a time when your needs will be addressed as well. So why should you be the sacrificial one? Because you are obviously more mature and less selfish than he is. This approach is not fair but it has the best chance I know of in assisting you to be happily married with your children's father.

Oh! and as far as the other woman or women, they will not be an issue when he is in what he perceives to be a fulfilling relationship he will dump her or them.

Don't get me wrong. His behavior is reprehensible! Going out on your wife and the mother of your children is selfish, dysfunctional and wrong. I just don't think trying, convicting, and punishing him is going to solve the underlying problems.

Best of success to the four of you.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Mark, it has continued to be horrible at home and I just haven't had chance to get back to your answer. A question: when I ask him the step three question, do I forget about the truth from him? For how long? I don't feel I can begin to recover if he doesn't admit the truth to me. Does this sound right? When we have tried to talk before, we argue cus he takes absolutely no blame, but I guess if he doesn't admit anything, there is nothing to take blame for. Your thoughts?
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Getting the truth from him is a good thing. You need him to become honest with you. This would be step 5. Step 5 is, you getting your needs met. As I mentioned above, there will come a time when your needs get addressed but it is not now.

Of course he may leave before you get to step 5 but that remains to be seen.

Focus on step 3 and do step 2 1/2 if you need to.

This is really hard advice to implement.

It is natural to attempt to get what you need by fighting, begging, shaming, yelling, etc. You have to learn to resist those impulses to apply the advice above.

Sincerely,
Mark
P.S, you have to click on 'Accept' for me to get credit for my work.
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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