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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My wife of 15 years recently admitted to me that she had been

Customer Question

My wife of 15 years recently admitted to me that she had been having a sexting affair with a co-worker after I confronted her with her suspicious activity. What can I do. I'm so confused because we have 3 children together.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 2 years ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, this is Jean, a mental health therapist to assist you.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm sorry for this struggle- betrayal

Jean N/20pluscounts :

As hard as this is- if you both commit to wanting to work through this - it is possible- hard work- but possible

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Welcome! You've been hurt- doesn't sound like it has progressed beyond the texting "sexting".

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Do you want to engage in a live chat?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Even if it does not involve actual sex- it can be an emotional affair- making her occupied- less available to you

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Has your wife committed to stop this behavior- admit it is wrong?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Do you think you can work through this- if you want to- she must first be very transparent and honest about all of this.

Customer :

yes

She also admitted that it was just a matter of short time and opportunity to have actual sex with him

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You likely have lots of questions- rightly so- she needs to answer those.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Does she want to leave the marriage?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This is very hurtful, and if she is committed to working through this she also needs to validate how she has hurt and betrayed you.

Customer :

she has stoped her activity and admitted she was wrong. she also contacted him that it's over and deleted his number however they work together

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Of course you are confused. That she works with him is worrisome I'm sure.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It sounds like she is taking important steps to make amends to you-

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The steps she has taken such as being honest increases the chances you will get through this. You can not control what she does at work- but if she commits to stop and is being honest- she will stop.

Customer :

I don't know why but is sexting actual cheating?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's okay for you to continue to ask her questions- she will know you will have many. I think sexting is a dangerous slippery slope to "actual" cheating that involves sex.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's more about how you are feeling- does it feel like she cheated?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The more questions you ask, the more forthcoming she is, the better able you will heal from this, feel less pain.

Customer :

yes I feel betrayed because she was actually sending the same pictures to me that were really meant for him

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Then it is cheating.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That it did not progress to actual sex- better prognosis you can get through this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It will make you mistrust, be suspicious, at least for awhile- time will tell if she stops, and or does not do it again.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Know that your feelings about this- whatever they are are justified, okay, and you can express those feelings.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That she works with him she needs to expect you will wonder and worry- she needs to be honest about any contact she has with him- even just chance meetings. What have you considered doing- leaving?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The more she tells you about what is going on at work, and when she interacts with him the more trust it builds.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Support for you is important, you've been hurt and betrayed, do not want to hold in those emotions. Finding someone to talk to such as a trusted friend. If you have trouble getting through this on your own may consider marriage counseling- to assist you in working through this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you still there?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Did you have other questions or comments?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Talk, talk, talk about this- maybe set times to discuss it- vs. it being all consuming. Do try to engage in your normal activities, or spend some more quality time together as a couple.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You must have stepped away from the computer- if you post additional comments or questions I will be notified and respond back as soon as I can. Thank you for your question today. Jean

Expert:  Jean replied 2 years ago.

Victor,

Please let me know if you had other questions or comments.

Jean

Expert:  Jean replied 2 years ago.

Victor,

 

Some additional thoughts and information for you to consider in all of this.

 

If both parties decide that they want to try and save their marriage, the next phase is the most difficult.

 

To begin with, it requires understanding the motivation underlying the affair and taking steps to change the factors which led the unfaithful partner to cheat.

 

People often lack insight into their own behavior, and if they do understand why they cheated, they often do not want to disclose this information with a spouse - thinking that doing so will only cause more problems. However, if the real issues are not identified, they are less likely to get resolved.

 

And by approaching this problem as a couple, it can empower a spouse, who has been cheated on, by providing a sense of control. Working together to fix the problem can bring back a sense of certainty or reassurance, which is important when trying to restore trust.

I

n addition to identifying the motivation underlying the affair, it is essential to candidly discuss the details of what happened. Again, most cheating spouses attempt to hide the details of the affair, thinking that telling the truth will only lead to more problems.

But, concealing the details of the affair, often leads to lingering questions, which if not addressed, are unlikely to go away on their own. And if questions linger, it can be nearly impossible for a spouse not to dwell on the incident.

 

Revealing the truth can be painful, but it is necessary when trying to move forward.

Both of these issues, identifying the motivating factors underlying the affair and discussing the details of what happened, are difficult for most couples to manage. These tasks require tremendous insight and effective communication skills. If these two issues are not handled effectively, it can lead to further problems - more anger, resentment and frustration.

 

Given the difficulty of this couples counseling may be needed.

 

Please post any comments or questions you may have.

 

Jean

Expert:  Jean replied 2 years ago.

Victor,

I look forward to your comments or questions- if satisfied with answer, please accept - rating okay or higher for me to get credit.

Thank you for you question!

Jean

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Jean
Jean
Psychotherapist
332 Satisfied Customers
Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)