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Ask Ask Eleanor Your Own Question

Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist with 20 Years Experience
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Ask Eleanor: Hi Eleanor: I spoke to you earlier about

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Ask Eleanor:

Hi Eleanor:

I spoke to you earlier about my husband who was having an affair with a co-worker. He says he has ended the affair, although he still works with her daily. He moved home about a month ago to work on things with our family. However, I do not see much effort from him. He says he needs to "get over his feelings for her" and try to rebuild his love for me (which he says he has lost). When he moved home, we agreed that he should stay in the spare bedroom for a bit, well he is still there by his choice not mine. He also hasn't been one bit physical with me (and with me being pregnant, it has been about a year), he doesn't even hug me. I'm starting to wonder if this is at all normal, I mean, he is a man after all and previous to all of this, we had a great sex life. Or maybe things are just too far gone? Can you lend your expertise?

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, and thank you for requesting me again. It is good to hear back from you. I see that you are now offline, and I am just checking in before I retire for the night. So let's chat tomorrow morning. It definitely does not sound like a normal situation, and I am wondering if he simply wants a nice place to live and cares nothing about working on your marriage.

Customer:

Ok, let me know what else you would like to know about the situation. Thanks!

Ask Eleanor :

Good morning and thank you for being patient. Are you seeing a new couples therapist this afternoon?

Ask Eleanor :

As you are offline, I am going to proceed with my insights into the situation. I hope that you are seeing a couples/marital therapist this afternoon. Your husband's commitment to couples therapy will be a measure of his commitment to you and your marriage. In therapy need to be very honest with your feelings and ask any questions that are on your mind. Do not hold back anything. Address the lack of sex issue openly. If you feel that he may still be having a sexual affair with this other woman, then ask directly in therapy. If you feel he is not being truthful, challenge him.

Ask Eleanor :

Your honestly is paramount. Don't be afraid to address any issue headon in therapy. While we cannot really know his motives for moving back home, he is there and that is a start, even is his motives were not the best. And he is being honest with you about his needing to get over the affair and reconnect with you. If he did not see this other woman at work everyday, it would be much easier, but it is not impossible. Even though he is not being affectionate, if he is being respectful to you and attentive to your babies, he is present in a positive way for your family. So I would give it time. Hopefully with therapy, you can rebuild trust in your marriage and become intimate again. I will be here to chat periodically throughout the day, Eleanor

Customer:

Thank you for your reply. I just have such a hard time being patient when I don't see any motivation to work on our marriage from him. In fact, I admit that I tend to push him too often to make progress or do something. He has told me on numerous occasions that he does not love me and those feelings

Customer:

are not coming back yet. I bend over backwards for him with our babies, working full-time, doing his laundry, making the meals, etc. I just wish he would start to realize how lucky he is and that I care for him and his happiness.

Ask Eleanor :

I understand your wishes, but wishing will not make it so. I believe it is time to draw some boundaries for yourself, otherwise you will end up feeling used. If he wishes to continue living in the guest room and having no marital relationship with you, then I would tell time fine, but you are going to treat him as a roommate, not a husband. Let him cook for himself, do his own laundry, etc. Right now he has all of the advantages of being married to you with no effort or commitment on his part. Stop pushing him and basically ignore him. He may come to realize what he is missing. Let me know how your therapy session goes this afternoon. I will be leaving the site for the rest of the afternoon, but will return this evening.

Customer:

Hi Eleanor:

Customer:

Marriage counseling went well. I believe she can help us move in one direction or another. He told the counselor that he does not love me anymore and he isn't sure if he wants the marriage to work. It is mainly about the kids and less about me. He also said he still has feelings for the other person that he is trying to work through. Here are my questions:

Customer:

1. Do you believe his feelings for me are some what clouded by his feelings for the other person? He does still work with her on a daily basis.

Customer:

2. Can someone restore love for their spouse IF the person is open to the idea of it?

Customer:

3. Since our desires right now are so far apart (he is not sure if he wants the marriage and I do want the marriage) we agreed to meet in the middle to see if time will heal anything. He is going to return to our bed before Christmas and will initiate little dates each week for us to go on. Is there anything else you would suggest? I do agree that I need to stop pushing him. Do I still ignore him to a certain extent? Thanks so much for your insight!

Ask Eleanor :

Good morning, I am so pleased to hear that counseling went well. It sounds like you both are being very honest. To answer your questions:

Ask Eleanor :

1) Of course his feelings for you are clouded by his feelings for the other woman. The fact that they see each other every day makes it more difficult, but not impossible, for him to put their affair out of his mind.

Ask Eleanor :

2) Yes. I have worked with many couples where there has been an affair and with therapy their love for one another becomes even stronger.

Ask Eleanor :

3) This is very good news and very hopeful. Just as the two of you have agreed to meet in the middle, I would find a middle ground for relating to him. Do not ignore him, but do not give him the attention you would as if the affair never happened. If you are overly attentive, he may feel that as pushing. I have one suggestion. Take some time for yourself everyday. Ask him to watch the babies and take a hot bath or go for a walk, etc.

Ask Eleanor :

I se you are typing, HI

Customer:

He is also working on getting a new job and is interviewing which I think would be a very good thing for us. The counselor did ask him if we didn't have children, does he think he would want to be in this marriage and he said no.

Ask Eleanor :

Great that he is looking for a new job! I know that is hard to hear, but he is being honest and that is good. True intimacy is based on honesty.

Customer:

but when someone says that, is the marriage already dead?

Ask Eleanor :

No, absolutely not!

Customer:

he also said with past girlfriends, he has never been able to get those loving feelings back. He believes love is "magic" and it is not something that is worked on.

Customer:

I'm just starting to wonder if I am being too optimistic about this relationship.

Ask Eleanor :

Well, we cannot know what will happen. I would proceed with the therapy and plans for him to come back to your bed and the date nights with hope, but realism. It may work out, it may not. In my professional opinion, I believe the chances are good for your marriage. The therapy will help him understand what true, intimate love is.

Customer:

ok thank you! I really hope so. Last question...why in your opinion are chances good for us?

Ask Eleanor :

Because the two of you have committed to therapy together to work on your marriage. This commitment is symbolic of your commitment to the marriage. Also it is hugely significant that he is looking for another job! The is a very, very good sign!

Customer:

ok, thank you!

Ask Eleanor :

You are very welcome! Please remember to submit a positive rating for my work with you. It was so good to hear back and to know that things are hopeful. Take care of yourself, Eleanor

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