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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4483
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My husband conducted a mental affair (he says no sex) with

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My husband conducted a mental affair (he says no sex) with his admin. asst. for at least 18 months and I had no clue. She has mental issues and he says he was afraid to separate himself (texts/emails/odd hour phone calls including while traveling when she was threatening suicide). I figured it out in the Spring and confronted him in June. He says they just work together now and I have been checking his phone records and hers (on our corporate bill). She continues to send him suggestive and explicit emails. He says he wants to grow old with me, no one else, and we have had many conversations. Rather I talk and he says 'trust me; I've told her its over'. I want him to remove her from his business (he owns it) and he says she is important to his rebuilding and success. I say no one is irreplaceable. He is still afraid she is fragile and would do something to herself if he cut her out. He says this morning that he has told her emphatically no personal communication whatsoever. I still have major doubts. How do I handle my obsessive need to check the phone etc.? He has changed his phone and iPad password XXXXX of this morning (I tried his iPad) so what does that say? He says his phone and computer are private and I should respect that. I say what do you have to hide? How do I handle the woman in my life 40 hours a week? (we share office space, my husband and I) I have asked him to go to counseling but he says it is over; he is not going there with her again and he knows what he wants - ME. But I think I could benefit from another voice/ear to sort this out. Or should I just accept his words (until this event, we had 30+ years of trust in our marriage) and believe that we can move forward?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry that your husband has been having an emotional affair with this woman, I can imagine how distressing this must be for you

DoctorZ :

First off I agree with you and I definitely think couple's counseling is a great idea, because I do not believe that he understands how this affair makes you feel and an objective voice (therapist) can help him better understand this.

DoctorZ :

Also I would question why he changed all of this passwords on his computer and iPad because transparency is important when someone has had an emotional affair.

DoctorZ :

While I understand why he is concerned for her (e.g. her instability and mental health issues), it is no excuse for having an emotional affair

Customer:

At the moment I don't believe he will attend counseling. I think I should start myself and then if the counselor asks me to ask him to attend, I can approach it again. Like many people, primarily men, he does not believe he needs help. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is he wants me to continue to accept her in his business and business life and I just have to accommodate that. I have asked him to remove her and he says he is working in that direction, namely sending her to work in his other office (another city about 90 min from us) and I told him she should be gone entirely. She should get another job. He said what's to stop her/them from continuing even then. wouldn't I rather have her around so I can be observant? So you would recommend at least counseling for me?

DoctorZ :

Actually yes, counseling for you can be really valuable. Also typically when one spouse goes to counseling for couple's issues, the other spouse will get curious and want to go himself, so your husband may ask to attend at one point. I think he is doing the right thing by sending her away, but you are right she should be fired or at least encouraged to secure another job and then when she does, she can be let go from her employment at your business. Many men do not understand emotional affairs and believe it is not cheating because there is not physical intimacy, but in reality this is a form of cheating and a counselor can help him understand this.

DoctorZ :

Here are a couple good books on the subject as well

DoctorZ :

You can also help him emphasize with what you are going through by asking him, that if you had a physical affair with another man, how would that make him feel? This can lead to a discussion on how it makes you feel and what you are so hurt by this.

DoctorZ :

*empathize

DoctorZ :

In addition, counseling can help him tell his side of the story as well to the therapist, and I think that is something he would like. You can try pushing him in the direction by saying if he is so right about what he is doing with her and this emotional affair then an objective opinion from a therapist will agree with him

DoctorZ :

Also I can help you find a good relationship therapist in your area if you like? I just need your zip code to look for you

DoctorZ :

Are you still there?

Customer:

Hello. Sorry for the delay; work! yes I would like a recommendation - 80498 or 80435 or 80443

DoctorZ :

No worries, I understand. Give me a few minutes to compile a list for you in your area.

Customer:

I should add that I DID have a physical affair 30 years ago. lasted 3 weeks and he knows about it. forgave me after we went to a Marriage Encounter weekend

DoctorZ :

Okay, well you can remind him about that and say that how he felt at that time 30 years ago when you had a physical affair is how you feel now with the emotional affair he is having. He may be able to relate to this, since he experienced it before

DoctorZ :

So I believe that these therapists are ideal as they specialize in relationship issues, couples counseling, and are in your area

DoctorZ :

I unfortunately could only find one male therapist with this specialty in your area, as I imagine your husband may be more open to a male therapist.

Customer:

I agree. I will try Dr. Mahler

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4483
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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