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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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I recently found on my husbands ipad messages from girls on

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I recently found on my husbands ipad messages from girls on twitter, his email and facebook. The girls on Twitter all know each other and are strippers at a club. We returned from vacation last week. He returned Monday and our girls and I returned on Thursday. I found these Thursday night. I was looking because about 2 years ago I went into his email to get an address I needed and found messages from a woman back and forth and they were trying to come up with a day to meet. My husband swears he was doing it for fun and would never cheat. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he is impotent. I have begged him for years to go to the doctor but he has not. It's been a long time. On Twitter he asked them what they were doing and told them when he was coming home and was available. One told him to meet at a hotel. There was limited communication. In his email I found craigslist personal ads he replied to and a photo which he sent and cropped our children out of. This particular one was to a man. On Facebook there are messages from women. I confronted him Friday. He swears he loves me and would never cheat. He says he's depressed because at times I don't treat him nicely and have an attitude as well as our 2 teenage girls. He says he has thought about killing himself because he has failed me on a lot of levels. He is overweight and says I am not attracted to him and who would want him anyway looking like he does. He says he thinks his problem could be cancer and hoping it is and it's to late. He says these girls are nice to him and talk to him and he has no friends. I want to believe him but this is the 2nd strike. He has disappointed me because he does not take care of his issues particularly his impotence and he has bad gum disease and wakes up with a mouthful of blood and it stinks. This has been for a long, long time and he wonders why I get frustrated with him. I am having a hard time getting past this. It is gnawing at me. I told him that I can not see my life without him in it and that it would hurt me deeply if he committed suicide. What do you think? Where do we go from here?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jean replied 10 months ago.

20pluscounts :

Hello, I would like to assist you with your comments/questions today. Welcome!

20pluscounts :

Are you available for a live chat?

Customer:

Yes.

20pluscounts :

Great Thank you for joining me!

20pluscounts :

This sounds extremely difficult for you, I'm sorry for such a struggle.

20pluscounts :

What you describe- your husband's actions sound very compulsive and addictive in nature.

Customer:

I want to know what you think and if you believe him.

20pluscounts :

He truly likely does want to quit, but is using these activities, in a sense to self medicate.

Customer:

Self medicate what?

Customer:

Medicate his depression?

20pluscounts :

It's believable that he is very depressed, but does not excuse his actions, and deceiving you. Self medicate his uncomfortable feelings/ maybe depression, anxiety.

20pluscounts :

Unless he gets to the root of his issues, emotions, depression, this will continue and likely escalate.

20pluscounts :

He tells you that he loves you etc. That's that part of him that wants to get better- but the addictive part of him is taking over right now as indicated by his actions.

Customer:

Addicted to sex? Cheating?Do you think he has had physical involvement?

20pluscounts :

He will have to identify this as a problem before he will respond to any sort of help or intervention. The first step in recovery is admitting there is a problem. Unsure if it's gotten to that point- if it has not become physical, this can progress into such. You could consider this a sexual addiction, yes.

20pluscounts :

It's in a sense cheating- because this involvement does not make him "available" to you- caught up in this behavior- can be a dark place for a person.

20pluscounts :

He does not sound like a happy man in the way you describe him- self destructive actions, lack of self care etc.

Customer:

I think he is not happy because I am not happy with him. We have been together for almost 20 years. He only works part time in the same job since we met. Nothing seems to pan out for him. He stopped going to school when I became pregnant and we got married. His major was criminal justice to become a cop. He did go to a trade school for computers which did nothing but put us in more debt. I am an RN and make 3x's more than him. It is past the point where he should have a full time job. I get tired of being the supporter.

Customer:

I always took his lack of care as him not wanting to be embarrassed.

20pluscounts :

This is difficult for you because you are powerless to make him go get help- even though it's so evident that's what needs to happen. He is afraid, lots of fear, shame, embarrassment tied up in this behavior. Anyone in this situation would have trouble "getting past this", it's like an "elephant in the living room", a big problem that causes lots of pain- you feel it, you know it's there, but he tries to convince you it's not a problem.

Customer:

There are times I let things go but there are times I can not help myself and am not very nice to him. I have a lot of resentment which he is aware of.

20pluscounts :

You've been together a long time- this can really wear on you! Yes, his illness has an effect on the whole family- feel the tension, resentment, for sure!

20pluscounts :

It's especially scary when someone mentions "suicide"

Customer:

I don't know what to do.

20pluscounts :

If you are concerned that he's a danger to himself, threatens to harm himself getting him to the hospital is important- as hard as it would be- consider calling the police if you become concerned about his safety.

Customer:

I feel like he uses this and his other issues to distract me from what is happening.

Customer:

No, I don't think he has a plan. He does not have access to a firearm. He mentioned in his email to samaratians that he was cleaning the pool and thought about just jumping in and giving up. He told them that he did some things and now his wife thinks he is cheating but he's not and if if he loses me/us over a lie...but he never tells them what he did.

20pluscounts :

Is he willing to go the doctor? Could give him choices- doctor or counseling alone or with you? Yes the mention of suicide can be a cover-manipulative- but again an indication that he needs to see a doctor. Being really really direct with him- "I'm concerned, this can not go on like this any longer, and I need you to go see a doctor, this is making me sick"... something of that nature. If he refuses all your efforts of help- you may have to find support of your own- start considering your options if you decide you can not continue to live this way.

Customer:

I gave him a booklet today for Carebridge which is my work's employee assistance program. He said for what? Depression? I said yes.

Customer:

He didn't answer me.

20pluscounts :

It sounds like he is minimizing this- can see where the frustration comes in. Because you caught him, he may be able to refrain for a bit, but there is a high likelihood it would happen again if he does not seek help. Telling him that him seeking help tells you he cares enough to do something that might be difficult. Carebridge sounds like a good place to start.

20pluscounts :

Is there depression in his family of origin?

Customer:

His mother I believe had anxiety and agoraphobia. I'm not aware of depression.

20pluscounts :

This man needs a good physical to start with- your mention of his fear of cancer etc.

Customer:

He made an appointment for that yesterday because I made him go to the doctors because he developed a horrible cough. He went and now has another appt.

Customer:

He had a physical a couple of years ago because he was feeling short of breath and there were some possible cardiac problems but all the testing was negative. Possibly having anxiety attacks.

20pluscounts :

Anxiety can certainly be part of this- and can begin to look like depression. Getting better takes action on his part, vs. excuses- but he has to decide this. Glad to hear he's seeing a doctor- would he allow you to go with him?? Sometimes people, esp. men leave out a few details when talking to their doc. The doctor needs to know the concerns about depression. Yes, anxiety/panic can feel like a heart attack.

Customer:

I feel so sad inside like this is my fault because of the way I can treat him. He says he loves me but has done nothing to make his life better.

Customer:

Yes, I know. I am an RN.

20pluscounts :

It is not your fault! He, and only he can decide to get better- however he got there.

Customer:

I was thinking of calling his brother and sister but I'm not sure he would like that. He does not have any friends because they have all moved out of state and he has no one to talk to anymore.

20pluscounts :

You hit it right on the head- tells you he loves you- but also needs to take steps towards bettering himself. Yes, part of all of this recovery may include some marital counseling. I get the sense you've hung in there during some tough times- and work really hard to care for your family.

Customer:

It has not been easy. I will not leave him until my girls are out of high school. Believe me I have thought about it a lot. I have my own issues and I know I can be mean to him and give him the silent treatment but I get so frustrated with him. He is a good man. He is very well liked by everyone. He does have a strong work ethic. He worked last night with a 102 fever and would not call out tonight bc people are on vacation. He is a good father. He cleans, does laundry, cooks, does all the yard work.

20pluscounts :

Sometimes talking to other people, like family, while difficult, can give this compulsion less power, in a sense bringing it out of the dark. That's what we'd hope family is for- in tough times- for extra support for both of you. Yes, sounds like a good man who is struggling right now- yes sad.

Customer:

That was my exact thought. If I involve his family but would give it less power because he would be embarrassed.

Customer:

Absolutely bringing his dark secret out.

Customer:

He doesn't see that just having all these different women that he has contacted and communicated with is cheating.

20pluscounts :

How you treat him comes from a high level of resentment- like you said. You can love him to the moon, but he has to decide there needs to be a change- in order for change to happen, a change needs to happen. I'm sure he feels lots of shame all on his own- what he's doing is a displaced attempt to cope- to feel less "down"- get relief- but it has now become part of the problem.

20pluscounts :

His action on line is a symptom of other things.

Customer:

I don't understand.

20pluscounts :

cheating or not, it's hurting you, the marriage, the family. His actions, are likely an effort to find relief. A symptom of his unhappiness- depression, whatever it might be.

Customer:

So, I am going to insist on counseling. I am going to make the call because I want them to get the whole story. I am also going to involve his family to open up some lines of communication for him hopefully he can lean on them. I myself feel to embarrassed to talk to anyone. I cn't talk to my mom. She will tell everyone.I guess I could talk to my sister. She's in California.

20pluscounts :

Compulsions, addictions are efforts to numb, avoid, not feel- change one's mood etc. only to catch up to the person and cause more problems. That sounds like a plan- no talking about this stuff is absolutely not easy- but it can pay off- you all can become stronger because of it. This crisis is an opportunity to get support, make changes for the better.

Customer:

Thank you for your help. Now Iam going to go and cry my eyes out because I have held it together for days.

20pluscounts :

Start with your sister- even opening up a little can help you- take some of this burden/weight off of your shoulders. Crying is healing- take care. Let me know if I can help again. Best to you and your family!! Jean

Customer:

Thank you.

20pluscounts :

You are most welcome!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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