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CounselorJules, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 786
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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Is my name. My issue is that after 28 years of

Customer Question

***** ***** is my name. My issue is that after 28 years of marriage, which was a pretty good one, my husband has left me for his classroom teaching partner, who is 16 years younger than him and has two young boys. This is her fourth affair, but this time she got a divorce. I feel certain that he is in midlife crisis. Everything he does and says points to what I have read about it. He used to say he loved me, now he says he never knew what love was until he met her, and he probably never loved me at all. We have a 28 Asperger Blind son, which is now left to me to deal with. I still love him and want him back. He is with her two years. Is there any hope?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: At first he said he loved me and didn't want to lose me, but they taught together and saw each other every day. He said he loved us both. She is really controlling him at this point. He filed for divorce but I don't plan to sign until I have to, two more years. He seems like he just wants to be 18 again. He wants freedom, but has her. He has little money now with the split, and he is showing his age, cataracts, heart issues. Issue with teeth. Everyone on his father's side died of heart issues at mid sixties. He wants to be young again. He is afraid of going in a couple years. His father has affairs all his life, and he agreed to stay married. My husband was often the one that soothed his mother. Then they just all pretended it wasn't happening. He father died from diabetes and was hitting on other women up to the end. I think my husband is partially running from our handicapped son, who is a handful. He said he would take him, but he arranged that I have to.
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Counselors generally expect a deposit of about $18 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
Good morning. I would like to be able to help you with your situation this morning. I hope that you don't mind if I take a few minutes to compose an answer in order to provide you with excellent service. Please bare with me. I appreciate all of the detail that you put into your question and it would only be fair that I provide you with the same detail in an answer :)
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
I know that your issue is quite delicate. It sounds as though you recognize several factors that may be affecting judgment at this time. I appreciate how vulnerable and open you are about your concern.I do think that there is hope for your relationship; it is just a matter of peeling back the layers of the onion. I also know though, that it will be quite sensitive, but you all will have to process this affair and what led to it. I believe that affairs are a "symptom" not a "disease." Usually affairs happen because of unmet needs or like you described, "a desire to run away from problems." Affairs can be like some sort of unhealthy defensive mechanism where we are living in denial of how much is really at stake. You are probably right about some of the aspects of a midlife crisis as well. It is hurtful to think about all of those years of marriage fading into the past and someone else being in his life. I am curious if he is afraid of real commitment. It almost seems like an oxymoron that after witnessing his mother deal with so much, that he would be the one to step out. That is another reason where I think the "midlife crisis" could be really on point.I would like to ask you about a couple of things-- were there other instances of conflict, like major conflict that occurred in the marriage?Also I am not sure if you are familiar with John Gottman, but he suggests that there are 4 key indicators of divorce in a marriage-- defensivesness, criticism, contempt, and stonewalling. Were any of these present for you guys? Even if so, there are ways to break through this and I can help you find some options.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way, I did put money through PayPal already.
None of those things existed. We enjoyed each other's company. Had fun when we went out. Sexuality was no issue. Our only issue was living with a son who would punch holes in walls and have major meltdowns. It was hard to even talk to each other, because he would interrupt. We didn't get alone too much. If we went out, our son would call us home for some reas He on or another. My husband was also a track head coach and an avid golfer, and it was hard for me to get any of his time for me. He is 59 and one year away from that 60 era when all his uncles, grandmother and father died, mostly of heart disease. He already had a heart issue at the age of 42 and now seems to be having more. This woman is funny, vivacious, no morals, since she has done this four times while having two little boys. He thinks she is perfect but she is manipulative and controlling. He doesn't see it. He is rewriting our marital history which wasn't horrible at all. We just got neglectful of each other taking care of our son.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Jules, are you still there?
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
I don't know much about the paypal thing :) I am sorry if there was some confusion on that part.... It does sound like you were a great couple. he may be rewriting the history of the relationship to justify his actions. People do that when they have guilt and when they want to rationalize their decisions. It is very hurtful, especially for the wounded partner.Are you familiar with the five love languages by Gary Chapman? He has defined 5 specific ways that help partners meet emotional needs.The love languages are really a cool tool for relationships. The Love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. I will explain a bit of these. Words of affirmation are based on demonstrating appreciation, approval, recognizing efforts made by you or your partner- on the flip side if you recognize that you are sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism this can be a sign that your love language may be words of affirmation. Gifts are about little tokens or offerings that suggest that you are thinking of someone. It can be simple or elaborate, but it's the thought that counts. As far as acts of service, a quote comes to mind, ”Actions speak louder than words.” Acts of service may include mowing the yard, helping with laundry, starting the dishes, making the bed, helping load the car or unload the car of groceries. It could even be something that helps someone else in their career— anything that offers support someone through an action. Quality Time is based on providing undivided attention to your partner. Turning off the TV, making eye contact, turning toward them as they communicate with you— it is about focusing on your partner without allowing distractions to occur. Finally, physical touch, there is power in tenderness. This does not have to include sexual touch, but more or less, gentleness. It can be holding hands, a stroke of their hair, a massage, or a simple hug. There is encouragement in touch.....Sounds like you recognize that there was a lack of quality time with one another-- and he was able to have this with her because all of the stress of "real life" was left behind because he was at work. Positive interactions lead to positive feelings-- when we are void of responsibilities it seems that of course we think life could be better with someone else. This is incredibly unfair to you because you guys did not have that option while parenting. It sounds like there were genuine efforts made, but these were interrupted.Do you think that your estranged husband would be willing to go to mediation or marriage counseling with you so that you guys can work through the truth of your issues rather than band-aiding these with what seems like the option of divorce?
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
Yes maam, I am sorry, I was typing :)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, he doesn't want to come back. He says he doesn't love me anymore. He says he didn't know what love was until he met her. He has no responsibilities now. And I am stuck with our son.
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
Gosh, I understand. So this is really going to be about your grief at this point. Processing the relationship and feeling as though you have to start over, which is the last thing that you ever expected to do....Are you familiar with Louise Hay? She has some amazing books. She teaches about affirmations and overcoming obstacles through personal talk. It is basically the same clinical theory associated with cognitive behavioral therapy-- learning to process situations and using healthy cognitions. This theory is most successful in dealing with depression and anxiety. I am a trauma specialist in the clinic and we also use the same techniques in dealing with PTSD. Your situation has been a trauma for you. If you don't mind, I am going to send you some information about this, but it may take me a minute to compose the answer. Please bare with me.....
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
A few different things that I wanted to address are the possibility of starting over.....what that may be like for you....I want to share is something that I use in my clinic and groups. It is about the Law of Attraction.I am a big fan of Jack Canfield, he has the books "Chicken Soup for The Soul." He talks about the "Law of Attraction" and using a simple equation to help us realize our goals and focus on achieving the things that we want. It is E+R=O. Events +Response= outcome. In life, we cannot always control the events that occur, but we can focus on what we want long term (outcome). So first, decide what it is that you want. Write it down and be very specific about the relationship, career, personal goals, etc that you have. Then think of every possible event that can affect your achievement of this. Then take the time to create potential responses to these. It creates a safety plan or at least some sort of tool that you have in your "toolbox" to help you continue to achieve that preferred outcome. It may sound silly. But I think it is always a good idea to feel prepared-- it tends to ease some anxiety too. It also keeps you "congruent" or from reacting or overreacting when something comes up. I am an optimist and tend to believe that I can use positive self-talk to affirm who I am regardless of what or how others may say or treat me. That is where Louise Hay comes in. She teaches affirmations and talks about recognizing our worth to help us get through the pain. I make lists of affirmations and read through them every day- especially at the beginning of the day or before bed. It is a great way to start and end. It is somewhat like the serenity prayer for me. I think of the blessings I received through that hurt and how I am going to focus on being a better woman tomorrow. I have quotes all over my clinical office to inspire me, and others. Some of them say things like "courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow." I have had to learn to be patient with myself also. And accept that there are times when I am weak and hurt. God gave us a spectrum of emotions-- those emotions, even the painful ones, really are a gift. You have to remember that you are created for a purpose and you are the child of a king-- But, what I mean by that is your worth is far greater than the acceptance of another person.You sound like such an insightful and compassionate person-- That is great. But there is nothing wrong with using a bit of self-talk and self-love to reaffirm that. It's not self-indulgent- in fact it is appreciative for the blessings you have been granted. Try being patient with yourself but also telling yourself things such as "I am totally adequate for all situations." "I choose to feel good about myself. I am worthy of my own love." "I can stand on my own two feet. I accept and use my own power." "I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax. My entire body calms down." Some affirmations about relationships may be "I release the need for love, and instead, allow it to find me in the perfect time-space sequence." or "My heart is open and I speak with loving words." Even something like "I am comfortable looking in the mirror, recognizing who I am, and saying "I love you" to myself." For pain or forgiveness try "I am ready to be healed. I am willing to forgive. All is well." Or "I move beyond forgiveness or understanding. I have compassion for all." "Each day is a new opportunity. Yesterday is over and done. Today is the first day of my future." Even "the past has is over, so it has no power now. The thoughts of this moment create my future." A couple of books to try are "I can do it" by Louise Hay and "Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting" by Lynn Grabhorn Also, what can you think about as far as options for care-taking with your son.... can you think of what you mostly feel you would need to be able to address his needs? Like someone as an assisted living provider that comes into the home?
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
I found some more exercises for you to try in order to rebuild your esteem. I know the pain of a separation and divorce.... I went through one myself and I know it wasn't easy..... Your situation really makes me sad for you.... I can tell you have this internal struggle that really affects you. It does sound lonely, but you are never alone. You do have your spiritual relationship. It also may be good for you to make a list of those who support you; find exceptions to these dark thoughts; list the reasons why you are a loving and compassionate person with so much to offer. I found some more exercises for you to try in order to rebuild your esteem. I know the pain of a separation and divorce.... I went through one myself and I know it wasn't easy.....The first one that I will describe more elaborately is "mirror work." The first one that I will describe more elaborately is "mirror work." It is simple and powerful. It involves looking in the mirror and saying your affirmations. Mirrors reflect our feelings back to us. Make eye contact with yourself. Let you soul speak..... Look yourself in the eye and say something positive. Tell yourself that you love and appreciate yourself anyway. You are a gift. God is your strength, rock, and he cares for you. One of my favorite hymns is His Eye is On the Sparrow. Think of these lyrics.....Acknowledge yourself and who you are. Don't resolve to feeling that you wont have a blessed life-- instead say, I have a blessed life. My life is a blessing. You can change your thoughts.....1. Be intentional. Make a deliberate, conscious decision about how you want to create your day. Write it down. This can be a simple thing. It can even be something that you want to resist during the day-- anything that brings you down.... and focus on doing "one thing" that is uplifting to you.2. Be authentic or congruent. Live your life doing what feels right to you, even if others around you are not always supportive. I know that you are hurt by criticism, especially form your husband or daughters..... I encourage you make the decisions that feel best for you. You are responsible for your own happiness. Y3. Read uplifting books. Listen to uplifting tapes and CDs and attend uplifting workshops. I listen to Jack Canfield, Louise Hay, Tony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, or Abraham Hicks. I listen to them on Spotify.4. Take inventory of your own thoughts. Be aware of what is motivating you-- fear or love. If you find yourself being stuck by negatives, redirect your focus to what you are wanting. This may take a bit of practice. You are in the process of gaining awareness-- just like in your mirror work.5. Supply your body with the essential.s Sometimes when we are depressed we begin to eat foods that fulfill an emotional need but in supplying it with good nutrients, you will naturally feel better and have more energy.6. Avoid comparing and contrasting.... You are you. You are the only one who can be you. Your perspectives, gifts and value are exclusively yours. You are a unique expression of the divine. If you want something to measure yourself by, compare how you were yesterday to how you are today, and be kind. Like I had mentioned earlier about the serenity prayer-- or recognizing that each day is a opportunity and each day is an opportunity to try again.7. Celebrate the small victories! When you celebrate, you are expressing gratitude. Again, practice those affirmations and express the gratitude you have experienced, even in what initially appears to feel something was a road block-- remember that it isn't- its just a road block and you have to slow down.8. Try something new. Try a cooking class, an exercise class, try a knitting class, try anything that may have ever interested you! Even a new language. Get curious and learn all there is to learn about what interests you. Learning is growing, and it feels good.9. Do something nice for yourself. Maybe a massage, a pedicure, a manicure, buy a new book, go to a restaurant, "date yourself." Treat yourself well and demonstrate appreciation for who you really are.10. Volunteer. Being of service, without expectation of reward, feels really good. You are a giver. Find a group that you are passionate about and provide a service. Make it a surprise-- also helping others is a great way of putting our own issues into context....11. Get moving. Clean out a closet. Get out of the house. Go for a walk. Do some gardening. Walk the dog, visit a neighbor and ask them to participate :) Let me know if these are things that can be possible for you!
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
It has been a few days, but I wanted to check back in with you and see how things were going for you. I am hopeful that my answer provided some clarity or suggestions, but I want to provide excellent service. Please let me know how else I can support you. Thank you!Jules
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.
I just wanted to check back in with you and make sure that you were able to view my responses. No rush on anything, but you are in my thoughts :)