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Ryan LCSW
Ryan LCSW, Mental Health
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Individual and Family Therapist
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My husband and I are having marital issues. He said I love

Customer Question

My husband and I are having issues. He said I love you but I'm not in love with you. He says he wants to TRY to work on marriage. We are seeing a counselor. He won't commit 100% to making it work, gives no promises. He has been talking about our marriage with his secretary. Now has emotional connection with her. Tells me I'm making more of this friendship he has with her than it is, but they talked a bunch after hours through calls/texts/emails. Gets defensive when I ask to talk about it, defends her, builds walls sometimes and other times talks to me nicely. Says he has been eating his feelings for 20 years? Says she is so easy to talk to and we never communicated well. We used to communicate fine, he doesn't remember this. I didn't know there was a problem. He doesn't know where his feelings went. He says I rejected him too much and made him feel like less of a man. I remember being affectionate. He says he hopes the counselor can help him get them back. I'm in limbo. Not sure if he's really  working on this or just saying it until I give up and leave.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'd like to help you out.

I'm sorry to hear about the problems that you and your husband have been having. On the one hand it's good to hear him say that he wants to try and work on the relationship, but at the same time it doesn't sound like his actions are always meeting up with his words. There does seem reason to be concerned about his relationship with this secretary and his defensiveness about it. However, if he is willing to sometimes talk about it, and is starting to open up about these things, it is also possible that this honesty is a step in the right direction, even though the truths that are coming out are hurtful.

Being in limbo has to be one of the most difficult situations to be in, and I can certainly understand your uncertainty about how to handle this, because it does come down to a judgment call. I would think that as long as he is willing to continue with counseling, that does show some level of dedication on his part to making this work, even though there may be some issues to sort through during this process. At the same time, it also sounds like he's unsure of whether "trying" to work on the marriage will have positive results, which puts you in a tough position.

At this point it seems like you have to do what is best for yourself and your feelings. If you are willing and capable of hanging in there a little longer to see if any more progress can be made in counseling, it is possible that it may be worth it. Sometimes in counseling, things do get worse before they get better as problems are addressed and brought into the spotlight. As time goes on and you continue with counseling, it is possible that you will both start to find resolutions to these problems. However, if you are at the point where you feel like you are putting a significant amount more of an effort into making this work, then sometimes it is best to pull back on your attempts to save this marriage in order to protect yourself from getting hurt any more than you have been already.

To some extent, even if you are willing to put 100% of yourself into making this work, it's going to be an uphill battle unless he is willing to fight just as hard as you are. Him being unsure is not necessarily a sign that it's over, but it does put you in a position where you may have to consider your own emotional safety first.

I'm sure this has been a difficult time and I hope that I've been able to answer your question. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

Ryan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He seems to run hot and cold. I've made this clear to him. He gives me a hug sometimes, but doesn't tell me he loves me. He stopped doing that the moment he "dropped the news" 3 weeks ago. Up until this point it was a normal relationship as far as I knew. We've been together for 22 years, have 3 boys and I figured were going through a low spot, but nothing out of the ordinary with 3 teenagers. He says no matter what happens, he will always love me because I am the mother of his children and says I have done a fantastic job with them. Why is he blind to all i've done for him? He started this new job this past fall. He has a lot more authority in it. Her never had a secretary before. I feel like it all went to his head. I think she must say all the right things to him. He made the comment that I am always so miserable and negative. I am not. I am his reality, she is a fantasy. He needs to deal with this like a man. Where is my husband?? Where is the man I married??
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 2 years ago.
It does sound like a very abrupt change, especially if you had thought that everything was fine up until a few weeks ago. It's possible that you're right, that there was something about this new job, secretary, and having more authority that has affected him and has made him blind to a lot of the realities of his life.

The hope is that it is a temporary blindness and that he comes back down to earth. If this is drastically different from the guy you've known your whole marriage, it is possible that he is going through something that he will work his way out of, especially if this is far outside of his character I know what you're saying about how he needs to deal with this and accept that this is a fantasy, although when someone is living in a fantasy it can be hard to convince them that is what is actually going on. That seems to be the point where he is now, which leaves you trying to reason with someone who may not be thinking reasonably.

As long as he's still willing to go to counseling there is reason to be optimistic that he'll work through this. Three weeks is a long time to have to be in limbo, but it also may be too early to tell whether this is possible to get past. As he is in this job longer and is working and processing this all through counseling it is possible that reality will start to set in. In the meantime it seems hard to say if/when that is going to happen so you may have to handle this in whatever way you feel is best for you personally knowing that the future is uncertain.

All the best,

Ryan
Ryan LCSW, Mental Health
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience: Individual and Family Therapist
Ryan LCSW and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She is still texting him. He doesn't seem to be replying, but they still work together. They do call each other sometimes, but not as often. He is her boss and says they have to be in contact sometimes as it is work related. The other day he made a call to her in front of me. I thanked him afterwards. I want nothing else than to trust him and had no issues in the past, but I'm also no fool. I've brought it up to him that I think she fishes for attention and is trying to drive a wedge in our marriage because she knows there are issues. He claims she has always tried to help. I say you don't text your boss "he (her husband) left for a while if you want to talk" if you are truly trying to help the couple in need. I say she is trying to help herself to my husband. I don't understand why he won't fully put his foot down and fight for our marriage. He says he wants to try to work this out. We have other issues which I understand need a lot of work, but I told him this has to stop completely before we can move forward because if there is no trust, there is no point. Soon she will be transferring to another department. Is it wrong for me to expect no interaction between them once she makes that move? How will he understand this point. How will he come to terms with what I feel?
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 2 years ago.
It's hard to know exactly what it going through his mind, but knowing that there are still issues to work through in your relationship, that could be what is making him hesitant to fight for the marriage if he's unsure of whether or not it can be worked out. Still, it's good to hear that he's saying that he is committed and it does sound like he is making an effort, although I can definitely understand your skepticism as well. He may be in a difficult position himself if he is trying to make an honest effort since his work does require him to continue to be in contact with this woman.

Her transfer to another department may be the best thing for everyone. Considering the problems that have resulted from his relationship with her it seems very reasonable to expect him to stop interacting with her once it is no longer necessary. If you are concerned about his reaction, then this would probably be a good thing to bring up in counseling. Unfortunately you can't control whether or not he will understand or come to terms with that, but you're entitled to feel the way you feel, and it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request in order to start putting this whole situation behind you and moving forward with your relationship.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He seems to be more concerned about other issues we've had rather than this one. He claims lack of attention, rejection from me brought him to talking to her. I say if we had problems that he was so upset about we needed to work them out and not bring another person into our marriage, no excuses. This is where we differ. I am very hurt and angry. I am having issues with mistrust. Should I expect him to show me an text messages or is that a crazy request? He deletes them. Would he be doing that to hide them or protect me? I just don"t know. I wish he would put his foot down with her and stop all this. He is her boss, he can do this. He just chooses not to. I put a card in his vehicle that I am sure he found and read by now. He hasn't said anything about it. I apologized for causing him pain over the years. I apologized for making him feel like less of a man and that by rejecting him I was really just rejecting myself. I apologized for my part in all this. I told him I would not pressure him for answers he may or may not have. I told him I am here if he would like to talk. I told him I still care for him very deeply but understand if he does not feel the same way. I'm not sure if he is just processing what I said or if he's not planning to bring it up.
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 2 years ago.
Usually it's a bad sign when you feel like you have to read his texts, and it does show a lack of trust, however he has given you reasons not to trust him, so that puts you in a tough position. The real problem seems to be what you see as his lack of commitment to making this relationship work, and perhaps if he was working harder and inspiring more trust in you, there wouldn't be as much of a reason for you to feel threatened. Leaving the note in his car seems like it could have been a good way to open up some dialog. It's possible that he is still processing it, but it seems fair for you to bring that up at some point as well since it would seem like some response is warranted.

I also agree with you that it would certainly seem more appropriate to face the problems in your marriage rather than bring another person into this. It also sounds like you have done everything you can as far as apologizing for the role you've played in this, and you've left the door open in order for him to put the effort into working on this. At this point you may have done everything in your power to make this work, and if you're feeling like he is still doing things behind your back with these texts, or is staying in contact with this women instead of working on your marriage, you may have to draw the line yourself if he's not as committed to this as you are.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think I m going to try to work on me and let him decide what he wants. I can't control him anyway and Im not trying to. I can wish all I want, but he has to want to fix this. He says he does, but I'm still concerned and reserved about his full commitment because of the things he has said, "I love you but I"m not sure if I'm in love with you", "I feel like I am living with my friend not my lover", etc. Is it possible he is suppressing his feelings because of his resentment and anger?
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 2 years ago.
I agree and totally respect the effort that you've been putting into this, but at this point you probably do have to work on you while he is trying to sort himself out. If he's been holding onto resentment and anger for a long time that could certainly be suppressing his feelings or his ability to work on the relationship right now, but that doesn't change the way that you have to handle it since it still seems like it's hard to know how this will end. Hang in there and good luck with everything.

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