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Ask Bill Your Own Question
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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I am datng a guy who was cheated on by both of his ex wives,

Customer Question

Hi, i am datng a guy who was cheated on by both of his ex wives, and its clear he has some major trust issues. We have discussed it and he is aware, but i worry that an emotional trigger will cause him to just walk away because of his past history rather than talking. How can i help? Does he need therapy? And is there something about him that i am not getting (yet) that "caused" his ex wives to cheat on him?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 4 years ago.
Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about this relationship problem.

Bill :

Having worked with couples for 35 years, you are having a "gutt" feeling that something is not right in this relationship and I encourage you to trust this feeling.

Bill :

Typically, people who are cheat on their spouses have developed this pattern and it s part of their character and manner in the way that they deal (or do not deal) with deeper issues that will always surface in a relationship.

Bill :

When the relationship becomes challenged- as it always will- the person acts out this pattern of infidelity.

Bill :

Does this make sense.

Bill :


Customer: He was cheated on....not the one that cheated
Bill :

And what does he tell you about why this happened?

Customer: Not much about the why
Bill :

I understand- Infidelity typically occur in this manner when the women is not getting her needs met in the relationship------ usually for the same reasons as identified above. When a man is not able to commit to a relationship at deeper level of mutual intimacy and be accepting of ongoing desire to deal with change, the relationship sour and women often find someone else that will meet their needs.

Bill :

If he is not able to say why these relationships fail- then he has very poor insight and although he may be a good superficial partner, when it comes to dealing issues related to greater depth, you will begin to see what I am talking about.

Customer: So if i like him and would like for this to work out, he will have to deal with thesentrust issues as well as what his role was in the breakdown of his marriages...
Bill :

That is correct- my sense in what you have written is that you fear addressing these types of issues because you think he may abandon the relationship?

Customer: That is his MO, to shut down and walk away.
Customer: how can i help in this?
Bill :

When me do this they are dealing with the fear- it is a fear that they cannot get a grip on but again relates to not knowing how to navigate the relationship at a deeper level. Women are cultured to learn this as they grow up and have deeper emotional relationships with other women. Men, typically do not do this and therefore feel like it is a foreign language when the women wants to address these more foundational issues that make relationship solid and ready for growth.

Bill :

I often use a metaphor of a swimming pool=======many women have comfort swimming in the shallow and deep end. Men prefer to stay in the shallow end. But, to have a successful relationship-both have to be able to swim in the deep and shallow ends. Otherwise, the couple is incompatible.

Bill :

I am going to give you information that explains this in more detail.

Bill :

This is what you are looking for:

Bill :

What is a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on:

  • Mutual respect

  • Trust

  • Honesty

  • Support

  • Fairness/equality

  • Separate identities

  • Good communication

  • A sense of playfulness/fondness

Customer: Does this also address ways that i can help?
Bill :

it addresses how relationships succeed and the areas of deficit that you find are the areas that he needs to work on. Remember- you can help him get help but you cannot make him CHANGE. He has to want this himself for the benefit of your relationship. If he resists working on his issues- then , this is a sign that he may not be YOUR best choice for a long term relationships.

Bill :


Bill :

Do you think he wants to change?

Bill :

What makes a healthy love relationship:

  • Staying involved with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there.

  • Getting through conflict. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right.

  • Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Having friends and outside interests not only strengthens your social network, but brings new insights and stimulation to the relationship, too.

  • Communicating. Honest, direct communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened. Critical to communication are nonverbal cues—body language like eye contact, leaning forward or away, or touching someone’s arm.

Bill :

If you use this information as a guide in assessing your relationship- you can determine if you and your friend are compatible.

Bill :

Does this make sense and help with your question?

Bill :

Conflict Resolution skills are also essential:

Bill :

Healthy and unhealthy ways of managing and resolving conflict
Unhealthy responses to conflict:Healthy responses to conflict

An inability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the other person

The capacity to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the other person

Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactions

Calm, non-defensive, and respectful reactions

The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonment

A readiness to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding resentments or anger

An inability to compromise or see the other person’s side

The ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing

The fear and avoidance of conflict; the expectation of bad outcomes

A belief that facing conflict head is the best thing for both sides

Bill :

See more detail here:

Bill :

Is there anything else I can help with today?

Bill :

If you have additional questions- feel free to ask-I am happy to help

Bill :

My goal is excellent service. I appreciate your Positive Rating so that I receive Credit for my time helping you.