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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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I was married for 23 turbulent years and divorced in 2010.

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I was married for 23 turbulent years and divorced in 2010. I dated a woman for almost a year, when I met the woman that has become my current wife. This relationship continued for the first 5 months that my future wife thought that we were exclusive. She found out about the situation before we got married over a year later. She does not trust me now and questions me regularly. How do I deal with the anger and resentment that I have from being constantly questioned?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 9 months ago.
Hi,

I understand how difficult this must be for you. I also can understand why she felt hurt by this and lost trust. However, if she has taken the step to marry you and already knowing about everything previously then I don't see why she would be bringing this up now. This is unfair to you. Did she ever forgive you for it before marriage and was it ever discussed in full between the both of you? If no how was it handled and when did she start bringing it up again? Did she ever stop bringing it up and has anything recently happened for her to start bringing it up again.

These answers will better help me to give you a complete answer.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

In addition to that sexual relationship, I also did some flirting with several other women on facebook during our first year together. When she first found out about these issues I got mad and denied everything because I didn't want to lose her. I did eventually admit to the indiscretions, and we discussed it a lot before we got married this past June. I have grudgingly made my cell phone bills, credit card bills, facebook account, etc. available to her to help her regain trust in me. My problem is, when she questions me about phone numbers, credit card charges, etc. I get mad and defensive. I have some resentment that I need to learn to deal with. How do I do this. I love her, and she loves me.


 


 

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for explaining. I understand better now. The good thing in all of this is that you are admitting that you get defensive and you want to change. This is indeed the first step to healing and I commend you on this. It was a very difficult thing you did in making everything accessible to her and I think that was a wonderful start. It is human nature for many to get defensive when one is accused of something in the past especially when we are no longer doing wrong, so I do understand where this is coming from. This can be changed and needs to be done one step at a time. It also takes a lot of practice. This defensiveness is part of habit as well. The first thing is to realize which you have already is that you have done things for her to mistrust you and in turn you opened yourself up to her. However, she may still get doubts due to the past and even her own insecurity. It does not mean she is not trusting you, but she needs to be reassured consistently due to what happened in the past. It is a work in progress. Trust is rebuilt over time and not overnight. Remember that in time as you continue proving yourself trustworthy she will trust you again and her questioning you will not continue on forever. It will fade away and your trust will be rebuilt again possibly even stronger than it was. Try to remind yourself of all of this and be patient when she questions you. Our actions result in consequences and the one that usually hurt the other is the one that needs to be patient when the other does not trust because it was the actions that caused them to be in the situation they are in, such as in your case. I think by remembering this as well as putting yourself in her shoes will help you to get through this period with less resentment and your defensiveness becoming less and less. If you are able to get through this period of testing then the love between you both will withstand and your relationship can flourish to greater levels than you both imagined.

I hope this has helped and if I can be of further help please do not hesitate to ask.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I understand the dynamics of the situation, but can you provide me with a method to prevent myself from being automatically angry and defensive when she asks me these types of questions? It seems as if I just react negatively when questioned.

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 9 months ago.
This is a result out of habit, so what you need to do is create a new habit. At first it will take a lot of active involvement on your part. Rather than just allowing yourself to get angry you need to stop, take a breather, and remind yourself of your plan. Anger and defensiveness may still come naturally even though you do not want it to, but this is when you will take your breather. Your plan will be to then remind yourself of why she is doing this and how much she loves you. Then answer her questions calmly expressing your love for her. In turn she will be soothed rather than be upset at your anger and defensiveness. Therefore the entire moment can result in positive rather than negative. This will take lot on your part in the beginning because it is a habit you are trying to change as well as a natural reaction, but there is light at the end of all of this. Not only will her questioning diminish, but also your anger and defensiveness will start to diminish as well. Also, it will not take so much on your part to not become defensive, but rather it will start to come naturally. The beginning is the most difficult.
Another idea that will help is expressing to her that you are sorry for becoming defensive and angry. Express to her that you want to change this and will do your best. Ask for her support as well. This can serve as an extra cushion since she will see you want to change and as a result she may be more patient with you as well. You may also want to wait a few minutes before discussing or answering her questions and with her knowing what is going on she may be understanding to allow this rather her thinking you are avoiding her.
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience: I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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