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Mark Manley
Mark Manley , Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Want help with your most important relationships? Licensed Marriage/Family Counselor.
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My husband met a woman while working out of town 25 years ago.

Customer Question

My husband met a woman while working out of town 25 years ago. No affair, just a very close bond developed. We were going through a very tough financial time, while trying to raise 5 small childern and grow our business(now a family business) at that time. We have had a stressful life, trying to run our business, and raise a family. There were good times and bad; including a horrible trucking accident which left him unable to drive and left him with a broken back and a closed head injury 15 years ago. It was a long recovery; with lifetime effects. What I didn't know until recently was that during the stressful or bad times, mentally he was going to her. A few months ago he found her on facebook; she lives in another state and he has made 2 trips to see her. I know all about it, hate it, but he is sharing his feelings now, no more lies. One day he is making comitments to her(she is also married) and the next trying to slow things down. We have been married for 40 years, since I was 16, he 17. He is stressed over this beyond belief(as am I)....didn't see it coming,( I did, then and now) was just looking to fill a void I haven"t filled in years. To be fair, I now realize that over the years I have been driving him away with sarcastic remarks and temper flair ups. the more distant he became the more I pushed. He has his own temper flair ups as well. Deeply sad now, realizing that due to our business/family relationships that by continuing to pursue this relationship in an divorce/remarry situations, it would financially and emotionally destroy no less than six families. He is NOT that kind of person. They are still communicating by e-mail, texting, and phone calls multiple times a day. Extremly hard on me, but I do want to save this relationship he still means everything to me. Just a little more info....we work from home are in each others company 24/7. Changing that, I have been hitting the pool, exercising and riding my horse so that I am out of the house for a few hours nearly everyday. This is helping me, although it is affecting my work, as I am never caught up. Can't remember anything and can't concentrate, which is vital to what I do.Please help! I will try to honestly answer any questions you may ask.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
I am so sorry for your situation; you have been married for so long. I think you would absolutely benefit from couples counseling. Both of you could present the problems that are leading to such a behavior as a affair. You could look at ways to change your circumstances. I am not your therapist but I would bet that she will ask that communication with this person should stop. It is a distraction and an unnecessary temptation. Not to mention that it can't be helping with your marital problems. The focus needs to be on the relationship with the two of you. It is not healthy to maintain contact with a person who is damaging to the relationship. Counseling can identify healthier solutions rather than walking away or continuing to hurt each other. I would ask him to refrain from contact and find some professional help
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

He will not consider counceling. Had to do that for his accident, and swears it is a waste of time. He is convinced he has the intelligence and ability to work things out for himself. He will not stop talking to her for now....concerned for her mental health as well. As far as he is concerned our relationship was damaged before he contacted her and that she has little to do with that, although he acknowleges that it is ripping my heart out, and that is the last thing he wants to happen. In a perfect world, he would like to take care of both of us. He is VERY much that way, to a fault. By walking away, it is to cool off and continue the conversation at a later time, not to avoid it.

Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
It's a shame that he has such a negative view on counseling. If he is to handle it "himself" you are stuck doing what will give you peace. Whether that is counseling or a different type of relationship - maybe one with more compromise. I am just saying this to you. Her mental health is not anybody's husband's concern. You can continue and consistently remind him that this is grossly unfair to you. I know this sounds limited but he is inadvertently limiting your choices. You can also educate yourself on communication and try to discuss this sitting down with room for compromise on both of your parts. You have to react how you see fit if she cannot resolve this together
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
For now I am reading some books on anger management and communication. Not far enough into them to have an opinion. I think he is a bit stunned that I have the compassion for his situation that I do. I know that I am responsible for much of his poor mental state and want to do what I can to repair our relationship. He swears he isn't going anywhere that he will be here for us. I believe that is true for now, or maybe I should say I know that he believes that is true. I have left out that I have had a lifetime struggle with weight control.....mostly losing the battle. For now I am trying to identify my faults and work on them, if I can help myself perhaps things can improve over time. Although we are both feeling like old age is upon us. I was ready for the wrinkles and graying hair; but not AT ALL expecting the physical complications. I desperately need to raise my selfworth and confidence and get rid of the pounds to in order to feel ok with myself. I am fighting feeling like a loser. Not just over this, but for the majority of my adult life. I might throw in that I/we babysit grandchildren while parents work as well. In this economy there is NO WAY they can make ends meet and pay for daycare. They are good responsible parents, we have been truely lucky with our children. Of course they have their faults, but overall great people. We are a very close family, which add to the stress as each one realizes things are not well with Mom & Dad. They do not have all the details.
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
That is admirable that you would take on the burden of day care. You sound like you love that part of your life. As far as your weight, it is a struggle but there are also a lot of materials out there. If you consider your role codependent there is a book you would find helpful (Codependent No More). As far as communication the best is Mars and Venus together Forever. It covers communication even covering how to "fight". These skills and this focus on self esteem can be very helpful in your relationship and with yourself. Be motivated to help yourself but not so much that you take the blame. You may also enlighten your partner with all you learn. If you can work together this may end up being a fulfilling relationship again
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

As far as the babysitting goes, I do love my grandchildren immensely, but I also need a life. Between the grandkids, our children, the business(trucking) and our little horse ranch about 20 head to care for, (mostly my daughter-in-law's business, but we help out a lot as she also has a full time job on the side).and horse day camp all summer ,there has been little time for ourselves. We both feel trapped by the "monster" we have created, everyone in so intertwined, even homes. I have told the kids, 1 a teacher, another a teacher's aid that there will be no babysitting for the summer. There is one however that is having a tough time with that as she has 5 children 10 and under, and does have to work in the summer. Two of our children are pregnant, one has it all figured out for future daycare, the other is still needing us to help out. We really didn't plan on raising a second family, but it feels as though we are.

Thanks for the book suggestions, I will look into them. If I could just regain my concentration and memory, this should all be doable. I am exhausted, can't sleep and emotional exhausted as well...............but never give up right?

Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
Never ever give up. There is got to be a place in heaven for you! You are raising a second family and that can lead to you feeling overworked, unappreciated, and stressed out. I think you have the right idea. You have to say I will help but these are the limits. You don't need a babysitter if you are off for the whole summer. Be consistent and stick to those limits. It's your time. You should also make a point to do something you enjoy that's all about you. If we aren't good for ourselves, we aren't good for others. Find a way for you to stay grounded even if it's reading a book in a bubble bath. Don't forget you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

You have said pretty much what I expected, but it is good to have a second opinion. I will try the books you suggested. The kids may be gone for a few weeks, but believe me, the business is going to still be here. Undecided I probably wouldn't know what to do with my time if it went away anyway. My solace in the summer is my veggie garden, as long as I keep it small and weeded! If not, it too can become burdensome, as it is kind of right in the middle of the horse camp area, and needs to look good for the clients. I can most all of our fruits, veggies, and sauces. Just need to remember there is only two of us now.....

I don't know if this is possible, but is there another counseler there that can look at my questions, and perhaps see it from another standpoint? You have been great, but I would like to fill my head with as many coping tools as I can. Thanks

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
I have read your entire correspondence with psychlady. Go ahead and pay for the good advice you have already received from her and then I will be happy to give you some additional input.
Mark Manley, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience: Want help with your most important relationships? Licensed Marriage/Family Counselor.
Mark Manley and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, this whole thing is not like me, but you guys are stuck with me for at least a month.....I guess this is an ok way to communitcate, as I probably would not have ever drummed up the courage to go talk to someone face to face. I have always been a private, shy person.....This is HARD.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Good for you getting some help with your situation. You are right, this is hard. It is hard because you are in a lot of pain and you are not used to exposing these tender parts of your self and your life to other people. It is also hard because change is hard and this process is all about change. People do get through painful situations to a place of adjustment and wellbeing so keep pushing on.
Will you give me a little more information?
Why did you marry when you did?
What was your home life like as a child and teen?
Any history of abuse or trauma?
How much over your ideal weight are you?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

why did I marry when I did? Looking back I think it was because #1 I was pregnant, #2 I was terrified (although my folks were very good about it) #3 I felt like there was no one else who would ever love me, which was why I was pregnant. I met him when I was 14, and never dated anyone else. He was very good to me.


My home life as kid was fine. We were poor, but Mom & Dad gave us all they could, which was more than most in our neighborhood. Neither was huggy, I guess I didn't know then that was missing..........My older brother picked on both my sister and I, sometimes introducing us as his 4 sisters.


No history of any real abuse. When my husband was in his accident and had a closed head injury he would sometimes fly off the handle and push me around some, but that was his injury, not him. It did make me fearful of him, however. Mom and Dad didn't have an aggressive bone in their bodies, never knew married people fought until I met my husband's parents.


I am 5'4", I currently weigh 208, I have weighed as much as 256, but that was a long time ago.My Dr. would like me to shot for 170. I was at 188 last year, but piled on 30 pounds due to depression meds and the more I gained the more frustrated I got, (not realizing until I saw dr that the meds could do that, change meds). I asked my Mom to take me to the Dr. for a diet when I was 9 years old....she did, we did what he suggested, but I honestly don't recall what kind of results we had. I was very active as a kid with horseback riding, and my bicycle. I am back on track for losing weight, but exercise is tough for me as I have a genetic problem with an ancle and flat foot,pretty much the whole suport system is slowly collapsing. Too much exercise or unlevel ground can be very painful, so I am trying low impact on an eliptic machine at home, with a big exercise ball and swimming at the Y twice a week. I may have to give that up, it is a 40 mile round trip and if gas keeps going up, I don't know if I can keep going.


Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Great info. I will be back to you Monday.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your advise. Ours lives are very complicated, I feel I need to tell you more about our situation, but I can't do it right now. I need to get a few things off of my desk and have a Dr. appt. But I will try to get back to you some time today.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What would highly valuing and loving myself look, feel and be like and how do I accomplish this?

That is a loaded question. I don't think I have ever felt that way my entire life. And how DO I accomplish this?

A little more info; our jobs are by no means 9-5. "office hours" are 8-5; but we have to be accessible any time a truck is on the road, so this is most of the time.

My husband and I own the business together; we employ our son and our son-in-law; one rents from us,( his wife also runs a equine business on our property) the other is buying; but we hold the contract. Same with oldest daughter, single and not part of the business. We have some wonderful grandchildren, and this is why he is still here. It has little to do with me, although he says he loves me just hates living with me.......our resourses are too tapped out to afford two homes. So here we are. I WANT him to stay, but it is tough when he obviously is not happy here......the girlfriend is not going away; she has made that clear. I can't help but wonder if they have blown one another up in their minds over the 'dark years' and it is a big fantasy relationship or are they truly soul mates? (my phrase, not his). He insists she has nothing to do with our relationship, as as far as he is concerned we were on the rocks long before he went looking for her. That is true for him, but certainly not for me. For me she is the larger part of the issue. I don't know if I can resume a real relationship suspecting they are just waiting for the right time to be together. How can I possibly be able to improve our relationship with her 'here' every day? She is now considering a divorce; and claims that my husband has nothing to do with that, although when they first started communicating, she said repeatedly how much she loved her husband and her life. Yes, he has told me all of this over the last few months. Some days I want as much info as he will give; trying to see where I stand, other days all it does is rip my heart and soul out of me. I guess today is one of those days.....

He is trying to settle things in his own mind; I want him to do it NOW; but that is just not realistic, I suppose.

We are in the process of an equipment purchase in another state, east of where we live; she is south. He is thinking of driving out to make the deal (about 5 days) for a break and time to think. However; he is also considering heading her way first; saying he needs to make eye contact; talk to her and try to assess the situation. He has some doubts; her faith being one of them he is not a church goer; she attends 3; plus she and her husband surrender 12% of their annual income to their church. He also states that he will not live in the state she lives in; doesn't like anything about it. She is a city dweller with asthma; he is country boy. He needs to know if she could be happy out of the city; she needs to know he would hate city life. In short the marriage is in his hands right now; all I can do is wait. I intend to use this time to improve myself and make some lasting changes. He has little hope for me; thinks genetics play too much of a part in who a person is. I have to admit; my father's side of the family has a mean streak; he didn't, but it is very apparent in most of the family. I have always disliked that about my siblings and tried hard not to be that way...........according to him I have done a lousy job of it. I have asked him to point out to me when I do something sarcastic or nasty because I truly was unaware of it most of the time. I was/am angry at him for not paying much attention to me; the harder I tried to make him hear me, the more he just drifted away. I see that now. Too little too late I am afraid. I hope I am wrong...........

Back to me, I don't know what to do to change me other than try to figure out all that has gone wrong. He won't tell me more than a couple of things because suddenly after all these years of trying to force me to be the person he wanted, he now has done a complete reverse and told me he wants me to figure it out on my own. He no longer wants to be apart of that. It is a 180 for sure. I am lost.

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
You are not lost! Your SELF is lost. Your task is to find your SELF. You have spent your whole life neglecting the responsibility to value, nurture, and care for your self. What were/are you doing instead? You are over nurturing everyone else! Why should your husband treat you with respect when you don' treat your self with respect?
Customer: replied 5 years ago. how does one go about finding one's SELF?
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

For Mark Manely


You have given me plenty to think about. Thanks. Does it bother me that you said I don't have much self? Yes it does. But I am beginning to understand . I haven't stood up for myself and risked what relations are left for years. Cowardly, huh? I am like my Mom that way. I DON'T want to be Mom. I don't have answers for the other questions yet, but I will give it a lot of thought. I found myself being impatient that your answers seemed to take so long.....I need to realize change takes time and I have to take the time. It is sometimes hard to take time for myself when my work load is so overwhelming. I have decided to schedule 'my time' as part of my day, and just force everything else into a smaller part of the day. Yesterday I was really down; went to a riding lesson, and felt 10 times better. I also appreciate you not just sympathising with me, I need help and suggestions, but not you poor thing. That feels good, but I don't think it helps, I usually need a kick in the butt.

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the update. Good for you for doing something for your self i.e. thinking about these things, going riding etc. Keep up the good work YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Please respond to the last part of my previous answer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I put your name at the top of the communication; was there something else I needed to do? If so please explain what I need to do, I want you to get credit for your advice.


I have decided maybe for now I should more or less ignore the girlfriend since he is still living here and just work on me. Do you think that is a good idea, or should I continue to discuss her with him? In your opinion, what would be best? Some days he wants to talk, others like today, nothing except do you want a cup of tea, or would you grab me a.........

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Regarding your plan above. Yes. good plan.

Regarding payment: The payment you made on 3-4 will be credited to the first expert that responded to your question above, this is correct and how it should be because she gave you a great answer.

Now I would like to get paid. For me to get paid for my time with you, I need you to open a new question and make a deposit. The question could be "Can you help me find myself?" Address the question to me and I will respond, after I respond, you hit the accept button and I will get paid. (before you hit the accept button look to be sure that I am the expert that replied). The next question is how much to pay me for our back and forth work on your situation? for the work we have done and what I anticipate we will be doing the rest of the month I would say $120.00 would be a very low price. If this is OK with you then you would pay for your new question and add a bonus to make the total. This payment is optional but would be necessary for me to continue to answer back and forth. Let me know if you have any questions or need clarification.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have sent a new question for you. Please respond to the last part of my last question and we can call it good. I will pay when you answer. Thanks again! I will work on my 'self'.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
I think you are asking me about talking with him about her.
I like your plan to focus on you. So that means if he brings her up and you want to talk about her then do. If he brings her up and you don't want to talk about her then don't. Should you bring her up? Only if you are doing it to take care of you (not to take care of him). Does this make sense to you?

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