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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1714
Experience:  PHD LPC
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My boyfriend cheated on me with his ex-wife. He told me the

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My boyfriend cheated on me with his ex-wife. He told me the next day and has been very sorry and open. This was about a week ago. He has given me all his personal passwords and open access to his phone and anything else I want. I don't think it will happen again. My worry is: he has three children with his ex-wife, we have the kids every other weekend. It's hard because as much as I want him to never see her or talk to her again that is not possible. He has arranged to meet her for pick-up/drop-off at my mom's house and told her not to contact him unless it is an emergency with one of the kids or to arrange pick-up/drop-off. My worry is we'll have the kids for the first time since this happened next week for almost a week and I'm so worried about how I'll be able to handle seeing them. I think they'll be a reminder of what he did and I know they are innocent in all of this. How am I supposed to handle seeing her? As it will happen at the kid's school functions and such. I know that he wants to be here with me and we will work on building trust again but I can't stop feeling awful about her having to be a permanent part of our lives. She is manipulative and I believe she will try to say negative/nasty/cruel things to me at some point. She cheated on him twice and that is what caused their divorce but she has never liked that he found someone else so I know that she will try to hurt me on purpose at some point.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Keane :

I can help you today.

Dr. Keane :

I am glad you realize that as difficult as it is, this woman will be in your boyfriend's life for a very long time due to the children. The only thing you can do is put the focus on what you and your boyfriend have together, not her role in his life. If she says nasty/cruel things to you so what? You know they aren't true and if you react to anything she says or does she will keep doing them. She is trying to chip away at what you have, that's true, so don't allow it. If your boyfriend is honest and knows he was being manipulated by her then that is all that matters. Don't let the kids visit be a reminder of his mistake. That is exactly what she would like you to do! That for her, puts another crack in the foundation of your trust which has already taken a hit. You need to take the high road when the kids are here no matter what, handle it with the knowledge you already stated, they are innocent. You do need to deal with the fact that he did cheat and what doesn't matter is who it was, his ex or anyone else. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is that it happened and you two need to work on the trust (which you know).Therapy would help you get through this, either together or you go alone.

Dr. Keane :

How do you handle seeing her? Right now it isn't something that is easy to do I am sure, but again, if you show strength and calm she may try to rattle you, don't allow emotions to take over.

Dr. Keane :

Right now you are reeling from the infidelity and you probably have many thoughts running through you head, the kids, seeing her, your disappointment in him, and the future "what if's". What do you do? You allow yourself time to heal first of all, time to gain back the trust, time to let all the emotions filter through you and then put it away. She is not your problem unless you give her the power to be so.

Customer:

Thank you. It is just a difficult time, especially since it is the beginning of the holiday season and my birthday is XXXXX about a week. I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me (which is irrational I know). My boyfriend has been really good about telling me none of this is my fault and he it was his stupid decision and he regrets it and wishes he could go back and change what he's done. I just thought our relationship was stronger than this (I'm in graduate school to be a counselor and have used so many of the skills I've learned through school to try and build a strong foundation).

Dr. Keane :

You also say you don't think it will happen again, and he is quite remorseful about it happening once but a couple of sessions of couples therapy may be most helpful right now.

Dr. Keane :

Okay, good that you are using skills but one thing you will learn is that counselors cannot counsel themselves, none of us can! You are feeling judged, it's not irrational it's human....want to change a lot of those feelings, read The Four Agreements, it fits this situation perfectly, especially how you are taking this personally. Your schooling has taught you that the foundations are built on trust, if you lose that it can be very difficult to recover, or when you least expect it pop up and haunt you. Deal with it now and don't look back. We are human and make mistakes.

Customer:

I'm considering couples therapy. He has agreed to get tested for any STDs and to limit all contact. He has agreed to everything I've needed actually (not being able to have sex now and maybe for a while, needing to know where he is and who he has talked to and why, etc.). I'm just wishing I didn't have to see or deal with his ex. I have a feeling she will have told the kids things like your daddy still loves me and he is going to live with me (even though it isn't going to happen) just so they'll repeat it and she'll be trying to "dig her claws in". The kids are too young to know any better.

Dr. Keane :

Remember you are the one he goes home to at night, not her. She may do everything in her manipulate mind to make life awful for you, she is even hurting the kids if she lies to them. Don't engage the kids in any of this talk she throws out, don't take it personally. You're too smart to buy into her games.

Dr. Keane :

Your "feeling" about what she tells the kids is just that, a feeling. You can't let this stuff eat at you, wait and see what happens when you see the kids. This is the difficult part of having a relationship with someone who has children, and it will always be there. The best thing you can wish for is that she find another partner and backs off.

Customer:

Thank you so much, it feels better to talk it through. I plan on trying to ignore her as much as possible. Thanks for your advice, I hope with time healing will come and the trust with it.

Dr. Keane :

I highly suggest you go to counseling, you'll get through this but right now you are hurt and rightfully so, no matter how much he says he's stupid (he was!!) Time will heal, take the high road and do not personalize her actions. Glad you feel better, imagine how great you'll feel after a couple of therapy sessions! Please accept so I get credit today. Thanks and good luck. Feel free to ask for me if you need more help.

Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1714
Experience: PHD LPC
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Dr. Keane
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