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Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about your situation. This is truly overwhelming for anybody in your shoes.
From this painful episode you are coming to terms with the fact that your husband has held in so much for all these years, and that could have led him to self-sabotage and betray your marriage and life together 20 years ago, has still been there and created present nightmare.
Yes, it has been very tough. And it has only been 2 days since my husband told me. I was numb at first but I now I find myself crying at times and getting angry at others. I guess I just want to know why? But he says he has no idea what compelled him.. We have a very active and I thought fulfilling sex life. That said, there are lots of temptations where we live in Asia; I just dis not think for a moment my husband would succumb...
Alcohol seems to have just triggered these episodes allowing him to act out his feelings. This is very sad and frustrating for both of you.
The way things evolved and tool place years ago and recently seem to follow the same pattern, where his lack of openness and avoiding working on core personal and marital issues led to this scenario triggered by alcohol.
Then the Temptations you commented on just make it harder for a person feeling the way he has felt all these years to take good care of self and marriage. It is very sad and frustrating, but sooner or later something like this would have happened. Now it is all about how you cope and heal, learn and grow from it.
He has not had anything to drink in a week and a half since the incident. He recently has had job stress as well as a heart disturbance (originally thought to have been an attack but later ruled out). At any rate, he was in ICU for 3 days while doctors tried to figure his situation out. Since then, he has overhauled his diet and, until our holiday a few weeks ago, severely restricted his alcohol intake. He has lost 25 pounds and looks terrific.
I just can't help thinking and I have told him this...that subconsciously, he must be angry at me in some way.
To top it off, we are in the process of buying a house in the US which probably added to his stress.
Alcohol and any other drug uses to be used as a way to num painful feelings, from stress to depression, frustration, fears and any other one the person finds unable to cope with. All these stressors had led to present situation, and if you know how to truly work on it, at the personal, marital and family level, getting necessary counseling for him ad for you as a couple, things could truly heal and improve. It is tough for sure, but necessary and worthy.
Absolutely regarding the stress or anger towards me? He just turned 50 this year - a male midlife crisis? He has not exhibited any mid-life crisis behavior other than this 1 night stand.
It would make total sense. I do seriously believe that past issues remained and this has just been an episode triggered by age, multiple stressors and alcohol. Now he truly needs to stick to improving his life style, regular and sound counseling support and focus on developing further intimacy and fulfillment in your marital relationship.
During the past few years, I have noticed that he is more controlling than he was in the past. What initially attracted me when we met was his ability to give me space. He has questioned whether I have been faithful (ridiculous as I have not even been tempted) and if one was to look at the power balance in our relationship, it has definitely shifted to his side. It is sad to look at marriage in those terms but I guess with the challenges of raising teenage children, I allowed him to have the final say on many issues and that tendency, has crept into other aspects of our life (when to go out, which restaurant etc...) It seems silly/trivial but I feel as though he has become more inflexible as our marriage recently.
I see that makes sense. When a spouse allows any form of dysfunctional controlling – manipulation, a codependence dynamics evolves undermining marital life, you end enabling the very distorted ways of sharing, from the beliefs we fuels in his mind, to emotions and attitudes. Such is never a healthy approach. Please do read and work on eradicating codependency, and it should be a core area to work on with counseling support.
Take this overwhelming and painful experience as a tool life is using to push you to work on yourselves as individuals and as a couple on all those areas that could have been neglected or distorted. Since from there you would not be only able to heal but grow creating a truly stronger and more fulfilling relationship for both of you.
I am thinking that this incident could prove a trigger to redress the imbalance and give me more of a voice.
I truly hope you could take this challenge and make of it a concrete chance to take better care of yourself and marriage with adequate professional counseling support pointing at more open, honest, assertive and intimate dialogue and sharing in your marriage.
You are very welcome. Thank you so much for your trust. Please feel free to contact me for any further support since I will be here willing to assist you.
Bye for now.