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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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While attending a social event, my husband signed his and

Resolved Question:

While attending a social event, my husband signed his and his ex-wife's name instead of our names..... what does this mean? I am very hurt and troubled by this.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 6 years ago.
Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Please tell me how long you have been married. Has anything like this happened before?

Ask Eleanor :

Are you there, dear?

Ask Eleanor :

Just checked back and see you are now in chat. I will pause and wait for your response to my questions.

Customer:

He has called me by his ex's name twice. We have been together for 7 years and married for 2.

Ask Eleanor :

Please describe the other times he called you by his ex-wife's name.

Customer:

We were with friends, another couple, canoeing on the river.... the wife's name is ***** ***** same as my husband's ex's name.

Ask Eleanor :

And what did he say to you when you talked with him about signing his ex's name?

Customer:

He said he has no idea why he did it. I handed him the pen to sign in in the guestbook and he, without hesitating, signed their names. Then we both realized at the same time what he had done. He immediately felt regret and I was upset. I worry that she is his real love and that he has never gotten over her. It was the type of relationship where he was loving and giving and she was not..... and maybe he still, subconsciously or not, pines away for her.

Customer:

He assures me that he doesn't pine away for her, but I have my doubts.

Ask Eleanor :

I really don't believe you have anything to worry about, dear. This is actually a very common occurence. How is your relationship with him in general?

Customer:

It is mostly very loving, very connected, very supportive. He is an excellent provider and he usually makes me feel very loved and precious. Yet, my intuition tells me that there is the unrequited love for her and normally I don't dwell on it but in this kind of event it comes to the surface and really damages our relationship.

Ask Eleanor :

He would not be an emotionally healthy human being if he did not still have some feelings for his ex, but that does not mean he is still in love with her. It sounds like the two of you have a solid marriage and that he loves you very much. When you allow yourself to dwell on these isolated incidences you are allowing his ex to do emotional damage to your relationship; do you really want to be doing this, dear?

Customer:

No, I don't want to give her this power..... she has already caused enough misery in his life. It is just difficult not to feel hurt and fearful at this time.

Ask Eleanor :

I know and that is an understandable initial emotional reaction. But you now have a choice to let it go or to dwell on it futher. What do you think would be the best choice for your marriage?

Customer:

I don't want to come to the end of my life, or his life, and realize or know that I am Plan B in the overall scheme of things. I would rather he was truthful and reunited with her rather than be drawn back into believing I am the one he really wants, then finding out in the end that it is not true. That would be too painful to endure and I would hate to devote years to a marriage where, if given the choice and she was loving in return, he would really rather be with her.

Ask Eleanor :

Then you really doubt his love for you?

Customer:

At times like this. He spent 29 years of marriage with her - he says that it was a bitter, unpleasant marriage and he married her because they had a child together and he felt he had to make things right. Yet, he did work at being loving and kind (which is how I am naturally) and he didn't get it in return. I worry that she has some kind of hold over him and that he will always long for that love that she wouldn't give him. And, I think that maybe he is with me because I give that kind of love and kindness consistently.... he might be more in love with these actions than he is with me.....

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, dear, since you have these serious doubts, I believe you and your husband need to seek the help of a Marriage and Family Therapist to help you work through this issue. Would he do this for you?

Customer:

He might. I really don't know.

Customer:

I have been suffering from a depression and off work for 1.5 years. As well, our 20 year old niece has been missing from a campsite for 4 months so we are faced with a (likely) tragedy here, too. So, these aren't normal times to say the least. But, I have had these feelings of doubt before.

Ask Eleanor :

I believe you need to ask him, dear. If not addressed, this will cause damage to your relationship. You may go to www.TherapistLocator.net and search for MFTs where you live in Canada. Any futher questions for me?

Ask Eleanor :

I just read your last response. I am very sorry to hear of your depression and your missing niece. That is a lot of stress and all the more reason why you need to seek professional help. Will you ask him?

Customer:

I have sought the help of a local therapist, and I was referred to him by my doctor, but I have not had my calls returned, so no appointment yet.

Ask Eleanor :

Well, that may be good, actually. I believe going to couples therapy with your husband might be the best thing for you right now. Where do you live in Canada, dear?

Customer:

In Williams Lake, BC.

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, let me search for you. Be back in a few minutes with some therapists.

Customer:

Thank you.

Customer:

No, my GP referred me to Dr. Asa Brown in Williams Lake.

Customer:

Kamloops is 3 hours away.

Ask Eleanor :

Okay, just a moment.

Customer:

I do see a psychologist for my depression but the appointments are mainly about medications.

Customer:

He travels here from Vancouver and time with him is limited to about 40 minutes every 3 months.

Ask Eleanor :

I understand, this is not therapy. I have found information on Dr. Brown, just a moment.

Customer:

My GP said he would contact Dr. Brown again last week..... we are all frustrated by his lack of response, even if he is busy it would be nice if he would return his calls or answer the phone.

Ask Eleanor :

http://www.asadonbrown.com/INDEX/A%20BRIEF%20BIOGRAPHY.html As you will see at this link, Dr. Brown is a very busy man and I truly believe the therapist I gave you the link to previously would be the better choice for you. Call her tomorrow and make an appt for you and your husband. She will determine if the two of you need to continue in therapy together or if you need individual therapy. Anything further, dear?

Customer:

No, thanks for listening.

Ask Eleanor :

You are very welcome. It has been my pleasure to help. Please remember to click on the green accept button so that I will receive credit for my professional time and response. You may return to this Q&A for reference at any time after you accept. I wish you healing, take care, Eleanor

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