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JR, M.A.
JR, M.A., Mental Health Professional
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 184
Experience:  I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and am currently finishing my doctoral degree.
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My wife had a strong emotional affair with her boss who is

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My wife had a strong emotional affair with her boss who is twice her age. She has broken it off, however she says that she doesn't love me any more. She has low self-esteem and I believe the boss had seduced my wife for awhile so that she placed all of her trust in him and away from me. Recently she has shown positive signs of being closer to me, yet pulls away at the last minute when it comes to physical acts such as a hug. I feel that she hasn't gotten over the betrayal of trust she had with her boss and so doesn't feel like she can open herself to be with me yet. What can I do to help re-establish the trust in our relationship?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 6 years ago.

Hi Customer. Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

 

-What are your ages?

 

-How long were you married?

 

-Does she still see the boss on a regular basis?

 

-Does she want to save her marriage?


-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 6 years ago.

Hello Stuck,

 

Kimberly asked me to assist you with this question. I am a clinical psychologist and would be happy to help you. Please answer the questions above and I will respond. Thanks!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

-What are your ages? Me: 40 Wife: 37

 

-How long were you married? Married 6 years, Together 17 years

 

-Does she still see the boss on a regular basis? Yes

 

-Does she want to save her marriage? At first no and that she wanted a divorce. However after calling it off with her boss and getting a separation 2 months ago, she hasn't mentioned divorce and she seems conflicted acting more positive and not as angry towards me anymore.


-Could you explain your situation a little more? We both met in college and I was her first and only real boyfriend. Her boss is going through a midlife crisis and last year when my wife was at risk of losing her job, he started giving her gifts which I thought was inappropriate, but my wife thought it was just him being nice. Finally in March of this year, she told me she wanted a divorce because she had feelings for him and wanted to pursue.He is married and has fooled around on his wife before. My wife is not the type of person who would've cheated before and had told me in the past that there is no excuse for cheating (for either of us) and that it is essentially unforgivable. We had our own issues like any other married couple, however when she would bring them to my attention, I didn't give them the attention they deserved. That attitude of mine has changed. I do get mixed signals from her whereby we get along great after she's warmed up a bit when we do family things together, but she won't hug or kiss. We have two daughters whom we split time with ages 1 and 6. She lives with her sister. Let me know if you need more info.
Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 6 years ago.

Hi Stuck,

 

One more quick question before I answer:

 

What was her childhood like? That is, was her father loving and involved in her life?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Her father walked out on her mom when she was 6 or 7. Literally left and never came home one day. So she was raised in her grandparents' home. She adored her grandfather whom her boss resembles. In the household was her, her mom, her sister, her aunt, grandparents and an uncle who had a very violent temper. I have assumed that her love language is words of affirmation due to her lack of self-esteem. While we get along great when we are with our kids, I really don't want to stay stuck in the "friend zone" in her mind and initiate some kind of romantic connection again that would eventually lead to intimacy. Let me know if you need more info. Thank you very much.
Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 6 years ago.

Hi Stuck,

 

Although this situation is very complicated and it would probably take me a long time to really get to know you and your wife, I have a few points that I can make right now. Her attraction to this older man (her boss) is commonly referred to as a repetition compulsion in psychodynamic psychology. That is, she is stuck in a pattern, trying to change the past by repeating the same failed relationship (her relationship with her father) over and over until it goes right. Yes, it is true...her father is no longer in the picture...but she recreates the relationship with other men. She longs for an intimate and fatherly love which she will not be able to receive from men, as they see her sexually as well. She probably became involved and attached to you at a young age because you were a substitute father. In fact, I would guess that if you looked back at your life with her, you can see how you played a father like role in her life. Once you started having problems in your relationship with her, she started looking for a new "father figure" in her life. This boss, who is old enough to be her father, was there to take advantage of your wife's emotional neediness. Just as she emotionally cut off her feelings for her real father and moved on to you, she tried to cut off her feelings for you and transfer them to this new relationship once she believed you would not be able to give her what she craves. Unfortunately, she will continue with this pattern indefinitely. The only way for her to truly connect with you again, will be for her to seek out therapy with a skilled clinical psychologist. You cannot make her understand what I just told you about her. The only way that she will ever resolve this conflict will be to work through it in therapy. She needs to stop trying to bring daddy home. She thought you might be a good daddy, but you let her down too. She thought this man might be a good daddy, but that is not the case. Your wife needs to give up on daddy! But the only way this will happen is for her to seek out therapy. If I were you, I might suggest that the two of you enter into therapy. Tell her that you will go to see a therapist if she is willing to go. Tell her you want to do it for the sake of your sweet children. Tell her you do not want to leave them without a "daddy" in their life. This might strike a chord with her...she might agree to go. I think she needs individual therapy though...maybe later you can go to couples therapy. You might benefit from the support of a psychologist as well. She does not want to invite you back into her emotional world because she is afraid of getting hurt again. Tell her that you don't ever want to hurt her again and let her know that you will never walk out on her or your children. What she did to you is very wrong...but you married a damaged girl...not a woman. If you want to see this girl transform into a woman, you will need to endure this for her. I think there is hope...but you can't revert to your old ways.

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your response and I totally agree. I have already decided to change my ways for her as I know they were wrong and insensitive. I forgot to metion that she did go to therapy (2 sessions) that stopped 2 months ago. Her therapist essentially told her that she is on the right path in what she's doing and that she seemed to know what she now wants in life and that she should pursue it. I totally disagree with this because I came up with the same conclusion you did and felt that the cycle had to be stopped now. I feel that she won't go to further therapy sessions because her therapist essentially 'validated' the fact that she was unhappy and that she should go on her own to discover what makes her happy. If therapy is not an option anymore what can I do to help? I feel her trust in me is coming back a little more each time, re-establishing our friendship but just not on the verge of intimacy.
Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 6 years ago.

Hi Stuck,

 

Well, sorry to say that her therapist is terrible, as you probably figured out already. You might suggest going to see a clinical psychologist instead. I don't know what the therapists' level of training was, but I suspect it was not doctoral level. Nevertheless, I have been surprised before. You might consider looking up a clinical psychologist who works with married couples. It may be that she is willing to go to therapy with you. First of all, it would show her that you are not just like daddy..that is, you would try to work on it. Second of all, you might find that you grow as a couple from the experience. Give it a shot! Make sure you see a clinical psychologist though...they have more training in psychotherapy. Many people call themselves therapists but are not really that qualified. In addition this, I have a couple books I am going to suggest to you. First, I find a book called "Love and Respect" to be very useful for couples going through problems. Now, this book is oriented towards Christian couples, but the basic principles in the book can be applied to anyone. The other book is "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage." This book is not religious in any way but is very helpful for couples in trouble who have an open mind. I suggest that you read these books and try to put the tips into practice. DO NOT expect your wife to go along with this. You should read them for your own information. I think it will help you and encourage you to try. If she is willing, you might try to read these together...but I would focus on getting into marital therapy first. This is really all I can tell you though. Having a happy marriage takes two willing partners. Give her the chance to work on this with you. Tell her how much you want to do this with her and just let her think about it.

 

 

 

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much again and for the suggestions. Unfortunately the therapist was a clinical psychologist phD and my wife has a hard time disussing her feelings with me and strangers so I don't think further counseling with someone with or without me is going to be an option. And I worry about our daughters repeating this pattern if we don't work things out.
Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 6 years ago.

Hi Stuck,

 

I'm sorry that she had such a bad experience with the therapist. It goes to show how important it is to find a good therapist. I suggest that you read the books and take it slow with her then. The books will help you to treat your wife in a way that will melt down the emotional wall between the two of you. I cannot make any promises but I think it will help. Good luck to you. Just think of your daughters when you want to quit. They need you, just like your wife still needs her dad.

If you found this answer helpful, please click ACCEPT so that I get paid for my work. Bonuses are greatly appreciated if you found my answer worthy. Please request me for future questions by typing "question for JR" in the subject line. Best Wishes!

 

 

JR, M.A., Mental Health Professional
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 184
Experience: I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and am currently finishing my doctoral degree.
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