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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4502
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hello, My husband admitted that he had an affair one month

Resolved Question:

Hello,

My husband admitted that he had an affair one month ago. He came home, quit his job where the affair occurred, and made efforts to redeem himself. Two weeks later, he told me he didn't want to be married anymore. He felt numb in our relationship, and has for some time. He had also been in contact with the other woman since he came home, when he swore he would break ties completely (we even changed his phone number). Now, the girl thinks she may be pregnant. I'm devastated.
We have been separated 2 1/2 weeks, and have seen a counselor twice. He says he still doesn't have any answers to why he feels the need to be single. I just don't know what to do with myself. Please help me to understand why he did this and what to do next.
LB
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

Please give me one minute to read over your question so that I can better assist you

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your husband did this to you, I can imagine how hurt you must feel right now. I would like to ask a couple questions to better understand the situation, so that I can assist you better

Customer:

Sure.

Dr. Z :

For how long have you and your husband been together?

Dr. Z :

You mentioned going to a counselor twice, how did those sessions go?

Customer:

We have been together 7 1/2 years, married 5 this summer.

Customer:

The first one was ok, we had a session together. He said he wanted to have an answer as to how he got to this point. Last night, we had separate sessions. She asked him to keep a journal of his feelings and emotions to the marriage, and he said he didn't know how he could do that since he didn't feel anything. Not only is he numb to me, but everyone and all situations. She pointed out that it seemed like I initated most of the events in our marriage (vacations, sex, date nights, etc.) She asked me to think about why I felt the need to initiate. He used to be the initator. But he was in the Marines for four years, and during that time, he was stationed in North Carolina and we lived in Arkansas. He went on two deployments, saw nothing, never even shot his gun. On the second deployment, we decided to build a house. It was built start to finish while he was gone, and I think that's when I started to be the initiator...because I had to.

Dr. Z :

I understand that your husband did not see any action during his deployment, but actually many ex-military develop depression after they return home because they lose the comraderie and being a part of group of similar people. Do you think it is possible that your husband may have suffered from depression or possibly another depressive like disorder called Dysthymia. Here are a couple links describing them to you.

Customer:

Maybe...when the affair started, I noticed a change in him, and I did not know about the affair until he confessed. It lasted about 4 weeks. He had no appetite, which is very strange for him. Since he has been home (got out of enlisted duty in July 2010), he has had always had trouble sleeping. He would have a pessimistic attitude and just say generalized mean things about other people. I overlooked this, even though it bothered me. Lasy May, he started working at a great dealership as an auto tech, which is something he loves to do. The job was 1.5 hours away (one way) from our home. He would ask me for a very long time when we were going to move to be closer to his job? I would always respond by pointing out the fact that wouldn't be financially possible, because we had just built our house, which is on my family's land. Also, I have had my job as a dental hygienist for much longer than he had his. I make more money, and my job is much more secure and stable. It just didn't make any sense for us to up and move when we both had planned to make our lives here. At one point, I guess he gave up on trying to get me to move, bc I finally got mad and said how much it bothered me so much that he wanted us to move.

Dr. Z :

It definitely does sound like Dysthymia to me, especially the being numb part. He may have sought the affair because he was having low self-esteem due to this depressive disorder and sought validation elsewhere. Also because he himself does not know what is wrong also leads to a possible depressive disorder. Many individuals with depression and especially Dsythymia choose to isolate themselves away from others because they feel guilty that they will drag down those around them.

Dr. Z :

If he would be willing to seek treatment for this, there is a high chance that he would be treated successfully, I can even recommend some good techniques and books for him too

Customer:

That sounds great. I asked him before our first counseling session if he though he might have some type of mental disorer. He said he didn't know, but he hoped to find out through the counseling. He will not read a book to save his life. I'm not sure if he will do anything for me or that I suggest. What are the techniques and how do I approach him about it?

Dr. Z :

Well you can read these techniques and practice it with him if you like. The best type of therapy for depressive disorder is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

Dr. Z :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help him keep track of any negative thoughts he has. He puts the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want him to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help him change his way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

Dr. Z :

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen depressive symptoms. It can help him focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Dr. Z :

Also individuals with depression have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help him develop a better coping strategy to manage his symptoms better.

Customer:

Ok I will try...I'm just not sure how to get him to do this.

Dr. Z :

In addition these books are really helpful too. 2 of them are good for depression and the third one is good for you and him as a couple.

Dr. Z :

I think if you approach him that he may have depression and that what he is thinking may not be his true thinking then he may change his mind and be willing to seek treatment. Here is a good diagram you can show him regarding how his thought process is focused on the negative

Customer:

Ok. All I can do is try. Our counselor said I should talk to him unless he initated the communication. He should be over this weekend, so maybe I can approach him then. Otherwise, I won't see him until our next session.

Dr. Z :

I hope he listens to you and that he realizes he needs some help psychologically to repair himself and the relationship too. Is there anything else I can assist you with tonight?

Customer:

Yes, how do I move on with my life while he tries to "find himself"?

Dr. Z :

Well it will be like Grief over losing a loved one, but here you are grieving for the possible loss of the relationship. It will take time and at first you will be very sad which is natural and expected, then as time goes on you will have to force yourself to do activities to help distract you from your own negative thoughts and as each day passes the pain will become less and less, but it does take time. Here are a couple of good worksheets on grief that I use with patients.

Customer:

Ok. That is definitely how it feels. Today has been the first day since I found out about the affair (1 month ago) that I haven't cried. The night is young though.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are going through this, I know that you are hurting by what he did and is still doing to you. You can try some of the CBT techniques too if you like as well to help you through this difficult time

Customer:

I will. Thank you so much for your help. I feel like I may have an answer...and I had felt like he might be depressed too. I hate to see him hurting, because it hurts me too.

Dr. Z :

I know and I truly hope he gets the treatment soon, not just for himself but for your marriage too. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

Thank you again, and I will contact you again, I'm sure. You have been a great help. God bless.

Dr. Z :

God bless you as well :)

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4502
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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