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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Not sure what to do, my wife and I have been married for 13

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Not sure what to do, my wife and I have been married for 13 years. We dated off and on for 9 years prior to that. My issue is this she has cheated on me twice. Both instances were prior to us being married. I feel I have forgiven her, but for me it is now and has been a trust issue. It seems as if we are locked into a recurring cycle. Were we are doing good with things, and for a lack of a better way of wording it have a normal relationship. then we slowly cycle back into troubled waters. Meaning she shuts me out, she loses interest in sex, starts keeping things from me. Working late with no calls to let me know she'll be in late. She also shuts me out emotionally as well. To be honest, during the rough times I get treated like a room mate that she shares a bed with. During these times, she's goes from compliments and normally nice daily conversations to nearly everything i do is wrong, not helpful, or angers her. As I said this has been a recurring pattern since we started living together. I am always the one that finally speaks up and breaks the current bad side of the cycle. We always go through the same rigmarole, with my wife making excuses for her behavior. These excuses range from blaming me, to not remembering and or flat out delaying issues. Or like the lack of intimacy or lack of emotional engagement. I have heard everything from it's my fault to "I have no idea why", leaving me questioning things. Four and half years ago, things were as bad as they have ever been. We hadn't been intimate in almost 9 months when one day while getting in the passenger side of her SUV to go out to a family function. I noticed a stain on the headliner above the passenger seat. The stain was not there the last time I was in the vehicle (4 or 5 days prior). So before she started the SUV up I pointed it out and asked WTH it was from. As she stated to answer she looked up to see what I was talking about. Her face went from normal to blank. She said she had no idea what it was from. As I went touch the stain grayishh to clear and sort of flakey looking elongated spot" I thought she was going to come out of her skin, as she shouted not to touch it. Needless to say we didn't make it to the family function. We had a hugediscussionn, where I asked her if she had been cheating, she said no, but keptapologizingg. When I would ask her what she wasapologizingg for. Her answer over and over again was she didn't know. Not knowing how or what to do, we both agreed to startmarriageecounselingg. The following day I decided to order a psa test to test the stain forsemenn. I placed the order while at work the following day only to come home to find out she cleaned the entire vehicle with a bissle carpet cleaner. Not just the headliner but the entire SUV. Seats, carpet, and headliner. I'll say this the vehicle wasn't ever this clean, not even the day we bought it. I was ratherspeechlesss, when i questioned her she replied "what all i did was clean up my truck". Left with no answers and no means of getting them. I stuck with pushing for getting to themarriagee counselor, which took about three months to make happen. To mysurprisee when we start taking with the counselor she claims to have nomemoryy of the stain or cleaning it with ourcarpett cleaner. She also claims to have notapologizedd repeatedly nearly an hour with noexplanationn other that she didn't know what she wasapologizingg for. So with no proof of aninfidelityty I decide to work through our issues and make the best of things for my son, and so I didn't lose everything I own. Per normal once I drawl the line in the sand things quickly return to normal, and we have a productive and normalish relationship again. So much so we even decide to have a second child two years laterFast wardrd to today, we are back into the downward spiral. I have started trying to talk with her. And am being met with resistance like usual. She'lconcedead to being overlnegativevetowardds me and not alwayconsideringng my feeling. But denies the emotional and intimacy disengagement. I am feeling stuckdiscussionsns seem to go next to no where. And even when I feel like there has been progress made it followed by excuses and blaming me. I am at mwitsts end I love her, and I love my kids. I don't know what to do any more. I feel as if i am stuck in this doomed to crash and be reborn relationship. Add to that when things get bad and she has distanced her self from me. I fall into a rut oparanoiaia were I find my self questioning her loyalty and love for me. Is the answer to go back to counseling? If so are there pointers for fixing things?

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like there could be a couple of things going on here. One, your wife could be reacting to things she is hurt about in your relationship. While it is unlikely, it is still possible. Some people perceive hurts where there aren't any and react to them, all without explanation. Secondly, your wife could have a personality disorder. Her inability to stop cheating, her willingness to put her own feelings first and her denial of your feelings, even with clear evidence makes a personality disorder a possibility. And third, she could be very hurt inside from a difficult childhood and not realize that she is taking those feelings out on you and your marriage.

The key here is that you are feeling caught in a loop and are questioning your own feelings and hers about your marriage. And she is not with you but against you in terms of confirming what is going on. Her denials are causing your relationship to stay stuck and you are not able to grow or move beyond this situation.

Counseling is an excellent way to address what is happening between you. But the important part of counseling is that both people see the issues and both want to change the situation for the better. If your wife is not with you on that, then counseling is not going to help. I don't say that to discourage you from going with her, but just to let you know why it might not have worked last time you tried.

And if your wife will not go to counseling with you this time, go on your own. You need to talk to someone about what you feel and get support.

Also, you may want to learn more about healthy marriages and what might be going on in yours to make you feel as you do. Here are some resources to help:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can--and Should--be Saved by Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It by Leslie Vernick

I Don't Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage by Dr. XXXXX XXXXXe and Dr. William G. Clarke

Surviving Infidelity: Making Decisions, Recovering from the Pain, 3rd Edition by Rona B. Subotnik and Gloria Harris

I hope this has helped you,




May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

May I help you any further?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes I replied, not sure if you got it as i was redirected to this page.

I am sorry, I never received the reply. Would you mind trying again? Sorry about that.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No problem, I agree the counseling only works when both parties are willing. But after two attempts and the instance of suspected infidelity after the 1st series of counseling visits. And things appearing so much better after the second round. Can things be fixed.

I have read a lot and worked hard to manage my trust issues.

And while when things are normal or good I can go months upon months with out the worried feeling or even thinking of it. Only to fall back into the rut of paranoia all over again when she detaches from me emotionally and physically.


So I guess I am asking, is it possible she can figure out why she shuts me out and fix the reason she does it?


Also can anyone every really trust a known two time cheater with a denied but suspected third infidelity?

It is very difficult to learn to trust in a relationship where the person is not willing to accept responsibility and to help rebuild that trust. But it can be done, if your wife is willing to not shut herself off emotionally anymore and try to connect with you instead. She has to be willing to accept responsibility and to work on reconnecting with you.

She can figure out why she does this if she is willing to look at it. It takes some time and a willingness, but if that is there, she can figure this out and make your marriage better.

It is great that you are trying to make your marriage work. And if your wife can join you, you both can have a good marriage. It takes time and patience, but as with any effort, as long as the desire to make it work is there, it can work out.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for your time!


You're welcome! And thank you for the rating and bonus. I appreciate it.

Take care,