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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I jut got married on Sept 1st. I live in the suburbs with my

Resolved Question:

I jut got married on Sept 1st. I live in the suburbs with my husband but have had to stay overnight in the city twice in the last 2 weeks (one night durin each of the last two weeks) due to work.

My husband is a recovering alcoholic who is on lexapro for depression and social anxiety disorder. It has helped tremendously. However, he still has some tough times where he is very down an might stay home from work occasionally because he feels run down. He told me this was the case Wednesday when I came home after work, having stayed in the city the night before. He stayed home again Thursday and when I came home from work he seemed a little off (slight diff in mood, almost slurring words but not quite) like he had been drinking a little bit but I found no evidence of it. I mentioned he seemed off and he shrugged it off. Asked him directly if he had had anything that day and he denied it. However, in the past when he has struggled he's gone off the deep end and obsessively played online betting, had prescription pills sent from Canada etc. It had been a very long time since any of that has happened but there was just something a little off.

My antennae was up so I did some investigating (prob ethically questionable in regards XXXXX XXXXX but I felt compelled) and discovered what I didn't expect - on the night I had been in the city for work there was several phone calls to escort services, emails to posts on Craigslist and questionable credit card charges including for a hotel in the city. So basically it looks like he stayed in the city the same night as I did and then went home the following day. The calls were all short time frames (3-4min) and the Craigslist emails appear to be deadends.

More digging revealed the previous night I had to stay in the city for week he had the same compulsive calls to an escort service but no odd charges.

I don't know what to do. We literally just for married a month ago but have been together 10 years. I can't believe this is happening. Is he really actually having an affair with escorts or did he stay overnight in the city because he decided to get drunk and have a bender?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

I believe that I can help you with this difficult situation.

When you noticed your husband slightly off (his speech not quite normal) you were right to think that he fell off the wagon and was drinking again, and naturally you wanted to find out more, since he seemed to be avoiding telling you more about the way he was acting.

His behavior competely affects your life.

If he wanted to go on a bender he did not have to go the city, unless he wanted to frequent certain bars and then have a safe place to sleep it off.

This scenario becomes much less credible when he has been making attempts for sexual encounters on Craig's list and then, that evidently failing, called escort services, had unexplained charges on his credit card, and went to a hotel in the city.

He could have done the same thing last time you were away, and paid cash, which is the more common way transactions with prostitutes are carried out.

You SHOULD be concerned.

You should confront him, but rather than saying that you saw the charges on his computer, tell him that you got an anonymous tip from someone who saw him, without any doubt, at the hotel in question on that night. Otherwise the argument will be turned around to you snooping and he will be play the victim. Tell him that you also noticed that he had been drinking when you came back.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Before you do this, you might further investigate his records on other dates when you were away for the night.

I also urge you to keep records of all of these questionable transactions just in case these leads to divorce and you may require evidence for some reason. Keep it well hidden, and perhaps you will never need it, but retrieve and save it while you can, for good measure.

Because he is engaging in reckless behavior the seems to involve alcohol, drugs, and reckless sex, there is a slight chance that he may suffer from a mood disorder other than depression alone.

That other disorder, and this is just a hunch, is bipolar disorder, which has the two poles of depression and mania. Mania promotes reckless behavior (and could also include driving, gambling, and spending. It would manifest itself as periods of increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, lots of extra energy and speed, with possible bouts of depression in between. If you see this kind of behavior then he should be checked out for this.

In any case, it seems fairly credible that your husband has been cheating on you, one way or the other - with women on Craig's list or with prostitutes. This is not only very hurtful but can put you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

My advice is to first investigate as much as you can, save the evidence securely, and then confront him in a gentle manner.

His behavior may be due to the fact that he has bipolar disorder (which should be investigated if he has those other symptoms) or just because he has some severe character flaws.

This behavior will not stop of its own accord and it is up to you to try to help him if you want to save this marriage and relationship.

I shall keep you in my prayers for success.

Warm regards,

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I checked for more escort calls and the night 2 weeks I had spent in the city also had escort calls on his cell phone. The same pattern of several short calls.


 


I spoke with him calmly this morning and asked him to talk to me about what triggered the drinking again (I found him in his den last night passed out with a beer and put him to bed so the cat was out of the bag on the drinking front). He said he had just been down, starting really with the weekend. He said he had drank yesterday while he was 'home sick' from work and that he made a mistake and wanted to put it behind him.


 


I told him that I knew that there was more and he needed to level with me - I'm his wife and we need to be honest with one another so I can help him. He told me he drank another night this week and said it was when I was away.


 


I then asked him what happened - did he just came home and drank the night I was gone and he said yes. At this point - lying to me to my face instead of realizing he should come clean - I was furious but maintained my cool because I didn't want the conversation to disintegrate into a shouting match or me crying. I told him to try his story again. He said he went to the hotel bar across the street from his job and drank afterwork (another lie on technicality - the hotel he stayed at is actually on the other side of Manhattan about 5 avenues away, not across the street from his work).


 


I kept saying 'and then what happened' and he said he didn't know what I meant. At that point I told him that lying directly to my face was disrespectful all over again and I reminded him to be honest with me and he said he didn't know what I meant.


 


Then I laid it out on the line and said that I knew for a fact that he stayed overnight in a hotel, had emailed women on Craigslist Casual Encounters and had called escorts (didn't disclosed that I saw a charge for the escort or that I had seen calls on his phone on the same night as when I was out of town 2 weeks prior). He said 'how did I know that' and I told him that I investigated some things after seeing how he was last night. He tried to focus on how I got the information but I directed him back to the real issue at hand. He told me that he called an escort for someone to hang out with because he couldn't hang out with anyone who knew he was drinking (all his friends and family know he's in recovery).


 


I then persisted in asking what happened next and he kept telling me he was so drunk he couldn't remember much. That she showed up and they just drank in his hotel room for an hour (there were a $150 and a $100 charge pending on his credit card so that's a lot to pay to just hang out for an hour but then again it is NYC). I calmly pressed him for more details like what they talked about, what she was wearing, etc. and he said he couldn't really remember - which from a behavioral standpoint makes me think that he couldn't remember because they didn't actually talk and instead he had services.


 


I asked him what he had expected to happen if the Craigslist contacts had panned out - their postings had clearly been for sex, not companionship. He said he didn't know what would've happened. He says he knows he made a mistake. I asked him why he didn't just call me - he was literally in the city while I was in the city in my hotel room working only 20 blocks away - and he said he didn't want to call me as he knew he couldn't ignore the drinking craving and was going to give in and didn't want to get into a fight about it where it'd blow up and everyone would know he was off the wagon and think he'd ruin everything. So instead, he ended up doing worse.


 


He still claims that he didn't do anything with the escort other than talk. he also told me he loved me and he knew he made a big mistake. He asked what happens next with us. I told him these 4 things will happen.


 


1-I will have access to all financial, email and cell accounts to review his activities. He's shattered my trust and is going to have to prove that nothing else is going on. Of course, he can always be creative and open a new free email account somewhere but he needs to still agree to this.


 


2 - Since I know that he called escorts when I was out of town 2 weeks ago - he doesn't know I know that - I told him that he needs to come clean about everything ever since we've been together (10 years dating until we got married this month). He asked for 24 hours to get his thoughts together and said that he just wants to move on and that it's not necessary if I need to know everything but - if I do want to know everything - then he said I'm probably not going to like it and he won't have any answers as to 'why'. I'm giving him the 24 hours so he'll be coming clean about everything tomorrow.


 


3 - Then I told him that we're going into marriage counseling and he has 24 hours to tell me everything now, lay it out on the table to me honestly because if anything EVER comes up that he didn't tell me about then it is instant divorce. I can't trust him now and I'm not sure how long - if ever - it'll take to earn my trust back. I don't know if counseling will repair things enough for me to continue with this marriage. However, I need to know everything now and in detail so we can work it out in counseling.


 


4 - I told him we're also both going to get STD tests today because now I don't know if he's endangered me or himself. At first he resisted and said it wasn't necessary but I insisted and he acquiesced.


 


He was very concerned if this would stay between us or if I would tell his family. Two years ago when he hit rock bottom with drinking I reached out to his younger brother for help and he was furious that I did that. It was necessary and I have no regrets. I find it sadly ironic that he is concerned that his family will find out given that his dad had a length affair with a friend of the family when my husband was growing up. He has been damaged by that entire situation for years (it was someone he actually had to go take care of after school as she supposedly had cancer) and yet he still has decided to have his own indiscretions.


 


I feel so stupid, embarrassed and ashamed that this has happened. One month to the day we took our vows he was calling an escort. We had some rocky points during our 10 years of dating but things became incredibly strong the last four years. He has had unacceptable behavior before when he has gotten really drunk (fell off the wagon a year ago and made short calls to a few sex lines while up late drinking when I was asleep in the house) which I flipped out about and now I feel like I was a fool for not seeing that as a sign earlier.


 


I have a mountain of debt on my credit card and no savings right now because he was unemployed April-July while we simultaneously had the expenses for our wedding so I'm not financially in a position to just pick up and leave. We're married in New York and it's a no fault state and I actually make more money that he does (about double) so if I leave him would he have alimony rights despite his transgression while I'd still have to pay off my credit card debt from our wedding? I just don't know what to do.

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your very detailed and articulate response. You have handled the situation brilliantly and seem to be very much in charge of the situation and in control of what must be very frayed nerves.

You did not see the earlier warnings which is understandable when someone is so filled with hope and positive expectations. Now it is so much more in focus.

He has asked for a delaying tactic to either get his "story" straight, or to cover some of his tracks (perhaps too late because of your earlier investigation), and perhaps because he is overwhelmed with having being caught in a lie and cover-up.

I am from New York City myself (though don't live there now) but I am not familiar with all of the intricacies of the divorce laws and you should consult with an attorney on that. He needn't be rewarded for his infidelity.

You do not know if you will straighten this out. It is surely quite a blow to you and you may never recover your trust or intimacy with him after this.

In the meanwhile, secure your own money, pay down your debt, and keep him on probation.

Because of the short duration of your marriage you might even be eligible for an annulment, and this is an option you could discuss.

Do not discuss this with his family, as this is a great means of leverage to use to get him to sign a divorce settlement in your favor.

Finally, make sure that you get hold of the STD report immediately so that he doesn't change or fake it. It might be best to go together and make an agreement with the testing facility that you will both receive and view this together.

I am so sorry that this has suddenly turned your world around, and I hope that by some wondrous change that this can be a new beginning for you.

Realistically, your situation is rather bleak, and you should plan for all options.

I hope that I have been of some comfort and support to you, and I am here if you need further follow-up or just venting on this matter. Please let me know.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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