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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My husban had an affair that went on for 2years the most

Customer Question

My husban had an affair that went on for 2years the most empty time in my life. I knew something was wrong but he wouldn't talk or admitt it. Well adventually I found out on his phone. When cornered he finally told me and said it was almost over anyway. She life in Winnipeg and lost her job where they traveled in the same circle. But he did travel to Winnipeg once that i know about becauuse we paid for it. we had a break up of about 7 months and with two kids we decided to try. I talk to the other women who was married and she asured me she didn't want my husband because she was married to. But what if she wasn't would he just of left us. sometimes I wish he would of that would of been easier. Well we've been back for three years. But I'm still haunted by it When me make love I think of him making love with her not me. I don't feel romantically attached most times but I do try. When I think of doing something speacial for us I think well has she done this for them and don't do anything. He still travels alot and when he's gone I can't stop thinking about him taking another women to dinner or bed. I keep my feeling to myself most time but some times if I go out with my freinds and we have a few drinks when I get home and see him I bring up my hurt agian to him I just can't seem to forgive or foget about it. It's hard on the kids to hear us fight. They are aware if what happened and are 17, 14 know. He's become more controlling now and when I call him about something that has frustrated you he gets upset and reminds of my farther not my friend and we fight agian. I was hoping in this time we would grow together agian but I seem to have walls up when we start getting close I shut down. I just can't seem to get over the hump and forgive. He has tried and been very responsible and interested with the kids. When he left the first time they didn't seem to care because he was never home anyway I think he realized he didn't have a good relationship with them either but now he's home alot more and is involved with them. I now this part is not his fault but mine I can't seem to forgive or forget. Were talking break up agin and him finding a house close in the neighbood to live. But I don't truely know if thats right either I don't know what I want I just want to be in love agian and move forward but why can't I and will it end anyway. I feel this relationship is short lived till the kids are old enough to take care of themselves and I'll be alone anyway. Should we just get it over with now and move forward alone but them I think have I tried hard enough and will I regret it later. Because I don't think I'll ever move on to someone else anyway but I do want to be in love agian with him or someone else starting with a clean slate with out the lies and the hurt. He blamed his affair on me I just said what I did or not do in this relationship it does not give you the right to do what you did you could of worked on our relationship or broke it off before starting another one. When he left the first time he said he didn't know what he was losing and can understand what I'm feeling now. But I am bitter about the past. We said we would not get back together because of the kids but I feel thats what I have done because I can't seem to move forward. So confussed. I wonder if I just don't love him anymore but when it comes time for him to leave I think I do because the thought of him being with someone else hurts to. I know hill get on with his life faster than me he's just that kind of personality and I be lonely for a long time because of this relationship I won't jump easilly with another. What should I do to sort out my emotions and move forward with or with out him.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

The best step the two of you could take to sort out 'what to do' with this marriage is to find a really good, highly experienced marital therapist and get your husband to agree to go with you. Here are some points you want to communicate to your husband---ideally, in marital therapy sessions. First, you HAVE to figure out what you want him to DO, behaviorally, over the coming months and perhaps the next year or two, to help rebuild trust in the relationship. Verbally apologizing or providing verbal reassurances don't really help rebuild trust. So I'm strongly urging you to start thinking, over and over, about what would satisfy you and help you let the past 'go' and feel more trusting, based on his actions and behavior. Second, you need to communicate to him that externalizing blame onto you for the affair is an almost universal 'excuse' men use to escape responsibility for putting a marriage and family at risk. You've more or less told him this already but it bears repeating. Third, you should go ahead and make some tentative plans to prevent your life from being devastated in the event you get a divorce. This may mean doing some of the following: 1) working with a trusted parent to slowly put some money away into an account they will hold in their name, for you to use later on, when you face expenses related to the divorce; 2) quietly enroll in classes or adult education courses to slowly upgrade your job skills; you may need to do this evenings or through internet-based courses. You may want to seek some vocational counseling and work with an expert who can assess how you can move yourself to a position of greater earning power, so you can better take care of yourself financially--without your husband's paycheck; 3) quietly, privately find out all you can about divorce laws where you live in Canada, what your rights are, whether you can obtain alimony, likely amounts of child support you'd get, etc. 4) your husband had an affair---one you are aware of, but you really MUST get tested for sexually-transmitted diseases right away. You need the peace of mind of knowing that you haven't contracted an STD at this point; for your sake and that of your kids, you NEED TO KNOW your health status.

I hope you can talk your husband into giving this relationship a better future by going to marital therapy together. He may refuse of course, in which case you'll have to decide what you want to do with your life i.e., stay married in the current situation---and assume it WILL NOT CHANGE over say, the next 5 years (i.e., couples don't solve their own problems very well if a major issue has been lingering for many months or several years---the problem simply remains; if you haven't solved things on your own by this time, chances are poor you'll solve them on your own going forward). I'll pause here and solicit your feedback about this post. We have a significant time zone difference so please don't get frustrated if it takes quite a few hours or even a day or so to correspond back and forth until we get the question answered. Let me know if I'm overlooking anything about your key question.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

After a 7 month breakup we desided to try again. But there where rules for me that I had to follow one was stay home more often when he was home, sex twice a week which I have keep to but just recently I had a hysterectomy done and bladder taping to which I have some problems they are correcting themself and I no longer have as much pain but will have to have a resurgery to remove a cyct they found. We have spent alot of time together but no real connection or communication. When we got into the fight it started with the alrm clock and moved to the affair ag***** *****ke any disagreement tends to do. Just can't seem to stop the round and round. The afair doesn't seem to bother him any more and plays no part in his life. But if I do look at his phone or computer if he happens to leave it open he tells me he know and to stop it. It's not rquired he's a good boy and doesn't need to be checked up on. He'll let me know if somethings not right. Or just mentioned the fact I looked at his phone and leaves it at that. We have booked 10 days in Mexico with the kids at the end of March well the way I'm feeling only one of us should join them but then it is our last big family holiday now that Justins going to graduate from high school and either go to collage or working and won't have the same time off as Chelsie. Chelsie is hating me and wished I would of just left it alone 3 years ago because now it's harder for her to live it all agian. I have just answered that I wanted to try and see if we could pull it together but she feels I've deceved her for the last 3 years. I guess I did but I was hoping it would all just go away and that I could forgive and forget but I just can't seem to do that. Any argument we have it seem to go back to the affair. and all James say's I'm sorry I can't take it back but you have to get over it.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Well it is certainly true that you have to 'get over it', but on the other hand, your husband MUST bend over backwards, doing things regularly to demonstrate he is being faithful. I'm a little alarmed (and you can tell him this), that since he is the one who had the affair, it is odd that he isn't bending over backwards to review with you his phone billings, messages etc. That is, a trust-building behavior cheating husbands should engage in is full disclosure and transparency in all of their activities e.g., no memberships to on line groups their wife doesn't know about, no secret passwords to email accounts, no becoming 'angry' if the spouse reviews a phone bill, or credit card receipts. You do have responsibilities as well of course. I'm sure you've given thought to how you can engage your husband in regular sexual activity that might not involve actually intercourse, if your are not well enough for intercourse (e.g., manual, oral sex, or whatever). So you can keep up with sexual activity relatively well even if you aren't physically well enough for intercourse.

Again, I think the two of you need to decide that you'll try again to improve the relationship in marital therapy; or if this doesn't work or he refuses, you really should try to decide how long you can stay in a marriage with a man you can't trust or forgive, or whether you do need to start over. My advice would be to make every effort to coax him into working to improve the relationship and if he does not, you have to decide if you can put up with a strained, tenuous relationship long term---things 'as is'. Of course, he may decide to leave if this continues as is, anyway; and he may refuse marital therapy. This latter scenario puts you in a completely helpless or ineffective situation, of course, but there isn't much you can do about it if this is his motive (refuse to really work in therapy with several therapists if necessary, and at the same time, just wait for things to deteriorate enough to 'justify' leaving without feeling so guilty about it---guys do this all the time, of course).

let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. THanks.
Dr. Michael and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
I see you have reviewed my last post to you. Any follow up comment or question? If not, please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Did you recieve my last question or is my time up. Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
I didn't receive it. You may have inadvertently posted it as a new question. To avoid this problem, just restate the question again in the response box here and I'll address it. Your time is 'not up'.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I will consider marriage councilling. I have tried online reading and it works for awhile then some little thing happens and starts the whole proccess over agian.But will it be benifical when the problem is now clearly me. Will they be able to help me forgive and forget and can it help to fall in love again. My 14 year old daurgther hates me for giving up and feels i've decived her for the last 3 years. I've told her I was hoping it was going to change and I felt the need to try but it hasn't and I'm not happy with all I've tried.How do I expalin it not to hurt anymore and contue our relationship she feels I've giving up to early. But I wonder if I put in all the work into councilling again just to be disappointed he wasn't even honest with his own councilor and he never even told her he was having an affair just that I was distant and drinking with my friends and unable to fullfill his needs. There truely isn't a good communication betweeen us and now that we've discussed moving on he shows no emotion but asks how I'm doing no conversation to deal with any of the issues. We even have started to look for house for him close to us so the kids can come and go. I'm believing he has given up as well. What do you think? But I am the one distroying the family now and I have the guilt. How do I deal with that.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
There are a few things that can help you situation----MAYBE, and at least one of them is something you'll never hear from a marriage counselor because they don't have a 'clue' about theories of behavior, frankly. First, you can have a sit-down with your daughter and tell her you'd like to hear more about her distress and feelings of being upset with you about the family and marital situation. You should listen, but in the end, explain to her that any marriage requires TWO PEOPLE to try equally hard to make the relationship improve and that you are trying to do what you can to get it to improve, but her father has to do likewise. It seems likely that neither of you are putting in full effort. This is why you need couples therapy, of course. All you can do at this point is try counseling again to see if it helps things improve.

Here is something very important that you'll never hear a marriage counselor tell a spouse. You need to identify one or two major behaviors or actions you wish your husband would do differently or more of, and watch for small traces they are happening. It might be very small signs of recognition or consideration or thoughtfulness toward you. When they occur even one time, your job is to show overt appreciation for them by a hug, a verbal statement (I really appreciate it when you [state what he did]), etc. In other words, if you want him to change and show positive signs toward you, it is critical to look for them and then reinforce them whenever they occur. And you do this over and over and over again. You need to catch him being good, focusing on, and watching for positive, warm, caring actions directed toward you. They may be few and far between right now, but they almost certainly happen in small ways. Write some of them down that you recall from prior weeks or months and this will help you watch for them in the future. In the past year, you have almost exclusively focused on his shortcomings and the things he isn't doing correctly, enough of, etc. Certainly, THIS IS TRUE---he hasn't done hardly anything I can see to help rebuild a woman's trust. However, you can influence this a bit by making sure you recognize any small things he does do that are considerate, thoughtful, kind, respectful, etc. I can almost guarantee you that your frame of thinking about him will change if you react strongly to any positive things he does do toward you. It will cost you absolutely nothing to try this experiment for the next month or two---staying with it on a resolute, daily basis. If the relationship doesn't improve, then you will know you've done all you can to try to improve it, and if he moves out, there would be little you could do to prevent it at this point. But this change in your behavior---the principle of catching him being good, may be one of the only bits of 'hope' you have for this relationship. Again, this should be firm proof in your mind that you have tired your best to repair the relationship. It doesn't require 'trust' or even any hope on your part; you simply have to decide to reward, recognize and show appreciation for any small thing he does that is positive, toward you. What do you think?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your direction. It will help. I'm sure with me being so undecided if I've done all I can to make this work. It's worth the effort. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. Yes, as I noted, you have nothing to lose and really, this is all one could ever expect a spouse to try to do to repair a relationship. I think if this succeeds, it will certainly confirm that you did the right thing. If he decides to move out anyway, you'll know for sure you did your very best to salvage the marriage.
Let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.