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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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I found out recently that my husband

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I found out recently that my husband had an affair early in our marriage-- I think it happened in the first year of marriage, or possibly after our first anniversary. We got married when I was 23, he was 24. We have been married for almost 11 years and he assures me this was his only affair-- it lasted a few months and ended badly because she was falling for him. He said it was just lust for him. He told me this about two weeks ago. The awful thing is that I had an affair too early in our marriage-- around our 2nd year of marriage. For me, I did it because I was unhappy in our marriage. We had moved to New York in the first year of marriage and he had a high paying and high stress job in the city, with a long commute each way home. He would come home stressed out, angry and/or depressed. It was a very hard time for me-- I felt very lonely, I had no friends or family there. Both of our families live on the West Coast. I became close to someone I worked with, who I was friends with, and the affair lasted a few months too. I hated myself for it at the time and ever since, and I didn't think I would ever tell him, for fear of the consequences. But when he told me about his affair, I told him about mine-- it just came out! I forgave him pretty much immediately for his affair. I still trust him. I know he wouldn't do it again. I love him and want to be with him. But he can't forgive me and he's so angry, and it's tearing me apart. It's hard enough just dealing with that, but it's doubly hurtful when it seems like a double-standard. I'm hurt too by what he did but I can and will get over it. I feel like I'm being punished daily for what I did, and he gets off scott free. I have a young daughter who's almost two years old and I'm also pregnant (very early on). I can't imagine being on my own, or him leaving me, or if I had to raise the kids on my own! I'm a stay-at-home mom. Things get more complicated-- after I found out about his affair, it completely changed the way I thought of him. I never in a million years would have thought he would cheat on me. Not ever. Now I look at him and see him as someone who's very, or overly, sexual, who is not fulfilled by me. Before he confessed to his affair, and I confessed to mine, he had recently told me that a girl he played softball with a few years ago had been emailing him over the last three years. He hadn't, at that time yet, emailed her back. I was shocked at first and weirded out, but then oddly it became this sort of fantasy that something might happen. I found that it excited me to think of him with someone else. Then when I found out about his affair, I continued to be excited by the thought and encouraged him to do something about it. Thinking back on it now, I don't know why I felt that way. Was I punishing myself because I knew he hadn't forgiven me? Did I think that it was "owed" him for my affair? Was it just nice to have something else to think about other than how our lives had just completely been turned upside down? He was sceptical about it at first, but last Thursday decided to email her back. Her most recent email to him had been a picture of herself (clothed) and said she wanted to hang out and his wife didn't have to know about it. My husband and I thought this would be different than an affair because I was "in on it" and it excited me. It excited both of us. But he did tell me that when he finally emailed her back last Thursday, he did so when he was thinking about my infidelity and was feeling angry. He saw her Tuesday night and my feelings changed-- from fantasy to reality-- when I knew he was with her. I imagined they were having sex and it killed me, I felt so awful and sad. He came home at 1:30am upset and angry, and at first I felt good because the "date" hadn't gone well. I thought it was all over. (By the way, I mean just this past Tuesday) But he was just upset at himself that nothing had happened with her. He told me she's really really hot, which killed my self-esteem. I can't help but compare myself to her. This made him mad. In the couple days since then, we talked about it a lot, and I told him how I feel-- that it made me feel bad about myself. He has since gotten very angry at me, stays angry at me almost constantly. He feels like he was jerked around and humiliated. I understand how he feels that way but I didn't mean for that to happen-- I didn't understand my own feelings. I feel like everything has been made worse by our "fantasies" made reality. I want to stay with him, I want everything to go back to how it was before we found out about our affairs. I feel like it can, it's just excruciating waiting for it to happen. Neither of us has talked about any of this yet. I only emailed a friend this morning, but I didn't tell her the part about the fantasy. My husband hasn't talked to anyone.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 1 year ago.

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Give me a moment to carefully read over and consider your question.

Customer:

Hi. Thanks

Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience: Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
Ask Eleanor and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Thank you for requesting me. I am more than happy to respond to your question.

I am so sorry this is happening to you and to your marriage.
Let's start at the beginning with the affairs. He had an affair because of lust. You had an affair because of loneliness. You felt great guilt since the affair and have not been able to fully forgive yourself. You had no intention of telling him...but his disclosure lead to your disclosure. Truly that was an opportunity to bring healing and honesty to each of you and to your marriage. As painful as these revelations have been...this needed to happen. The basis for a strong marriage is, in my opinion, 100% honesty.

However, his continuing to be angry at you for your affair cannot continue. There should be healing and forgiveness for both of you. No double standard should apply.

The affairs must be approached as unfortunate and poor choices on each of your parts and a full attempt to forgive each other, with the promise of 100% honesty going forward.

If this means seeing a marriage counselor...then do that. If that means the two of you going on a marriage retreat, meeting with a trusted friend for support, do that. I encourage you to work to repair this breach in your trust and your marital vows.

As to this woman who has been contacting your husband and then your mutual choice that he "date" her. As a clinical psychologist of some 30 years, I need to be honest in saying this was a very bad choice. I do think that you are still suffering from enormous guilt for your affair and that you may have seen this as a way to appease your husband and make up for your behavior. He has not forgiven you and you may be trying to do all you can to safe the marriage and to please him. I also think that your own emotional state is fragile because of your pregnancy. Your hormones are all over the place...reacting clearly to such emotional upheaval as the affair and now this other woman is placing a huge burden on you!

I can understand how your husband would feel confused and upset by having "dated" this woman. What was to be accomplished by his seeing her? You want the marriage...you want your children to grow up in an intact family. Him having an affair - even if you know about it - isn't going to keep your marriage together.

Believe me, I do understand how you might have thought agreeing to the "date" would solve some issues. But in reality it didn't and won't. Now the two of you have yet another breach in your relationship to deal with. I am so sorry.

Each of you have been put in a very awkward situation. He went on a date with a hot, hot woman. A woman that knows he is married and asked him to have an affair. What does that tell you about her intentions? Your husband - who is angry at you about a past affair - told you about this woman. That was an attempt to be 100% honest with you. You got caught in your own insecurity and guilt and agreed to have him date her. Neither of you were able to see the ramifications of this situation. That is truly unfortunate.

And now he is not talking and is still angry. And now you are hurting, filled with guilt, worried about your marriage.

When I look at both of these events - the affairs and this date - I want to strongly encourage you to see a marital therapist. The two of you need an outside person to help you progress and explore your choices in these matters and to heal the wounds that have been created. Right now you are both stuck in your own emotional nightmares.

Would therapy be something you would consider?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I think therapy would be a good thing. That is, if we can manage it-- we have to find a babysitter, or wait a week or two for our usual babysitter to be back in town. Do you think it would be a good idea if I shared my message to you and your reply with my husband?

Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your reply.

Yes..I think it would be good to share all of this with your husband. If you are to heal this wound, then being 100% honest and open is going to be critical. If after he sees my response, the two of you want to chat with me...just open a new question. I would be very happy to continue chatting with you.

Yes...please consider getting into therapy as soon as possible. I don't know if you have someone in mind...but it may take a week or so to interview possible therapists, to decide whom will be best for you, and to get an appointment.

In the meantime, let's see how your husband responds to our chat and what questions, comments, or concerns he has.

Thank you for your willingness to accept my response.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Oh no, I accidentally rated the other therapist that replied (without replying) before you! And now I can't seem to undo that and give you the credit for it without it wanting to charge me again... What can I do?

Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm replying on this post because I have been temporarily locked out of your earlier question by the other Expert. I am attempting to get that resolved.

I am very sorry that you are in such anguish.

Let's get right to it....
Yes....you and your husband should see a therapist together. The major issue in front of you has to do with the affairs and how each of you is processing those incidents. A therapist will be that voice of professional experience that can guide you through this and help craft a resolution. Think of the therapist as a mediator who will listen to each side and work to help each of you understand your part and your partner's part in what happened...and in what must change to heal the marriage.

I encourage you to find a Licensed Psychologist. This is the highest level of credentials. Look for a Licensed Psychologist who has been in practice for 10+ years and who states marriage therapy as one of their areas of specialty. If you need help finding a therapist I can assist you.

Individual therapy is something that can occur after you have made some initial progress on the marriage. I do think this will be another important step in getting healthy and being able to regain your confidence and self-esteem.

Please try not to worry about your future. Right now you need the energy to focus on what is occuring in the marriage today.

Also, please talk to your ob about the stress you are experiencing. They need to know of your emotional turmoil so that they can address this clinically. I know no one else knows what is going on...but you need to have your ob giving you the very best care and talking about this - even if in very general terms - will allow him/her to offer you supportive measures.
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. L and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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