Discussion: Have You Had Success With Couples Counseling?

Hello everyone!

Many of our readers have mentioned that they are currently seeing a therapist or are planning to do so. We are curious about your experience while in therapy.

So this week’s discussion question is…Have you gone through any couples relationship counseling, and if so, has it helped you or your relationship? Do/did you and your spouse go together, or did you go alone?

Please feel free to share your story, and respond to each other’s comments!

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda

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10 Responses to Discussion: Have You Had Success With Couples Counseling?

  1. gdb October 13, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    My husband and I just attended our 2nd session of couples counseling and it was the most difficult thus far. The counselor really tried to break through to my husband and ask if his continuing to talk to the OW was his way out of our marriage and he just couldn’t bring himself to ask me for a divorce. I sat on the couch looking at my husband nervously waiting for his response…and thankfully he just restated what he has been stating for the past 2 months…he doesn’t know what he wants, but right now its not a divorce. This waiting game is getting tiring, but I love him and want to save our marriage. I really like our counselor, she is pro marriage and is very patient. She also was positive stating that just because we are trying separation doesn’t mean our marriage is over. She helped us create a separation contract of things we can and can’t do while separated. My husband really likes the counselor too. However, my husband’s apathy and always referring to me for his responses has now resulted in us going to individual counseling too. Through the counseling my husband is realizing more and more his emotional affair is directly tied to other personal and relationship issues (family and romantic) for his past and wants to do individual counseling in addition to couples counseling. The best thing about our counselor is that she tells like it is and always expects honesty and my husband is learning how to tell me the truth despite how much it will hurt me. I rather know the truth then carry on in a relationship full of deciet and betrayal. The session on Monday was hard, but ended on a positive note with my husband changing his mind and stating that though he would like to call the OW up again and talk, he will not, so that he can make a decision about what he wants out of our marriage. He realized he cannot make a fair decision by still connecting and communicating with the OW. I pray that he will be strong enough to carry through with his decision. He has been strong enough thus far going to now 2 different marital counselors and fitting in counseling sessions among his super busy work traveling schedule. It may sound naive, but this somehow gives me hope.

    Another break through that night was that my husband stated, though I know I have hurt you and I don’t like that. Something that resonates in my mind is that I believe what you told me once, “That no one else will love me as much or like you love and accept me.” He told me I think of that often and I believe it. I don’t know where that leaves us, but for right now it places us somehow on a similar path of healing ourselves, so that we can hopefully repair/rebuild our marriage. They say you cannot fully love someone else until you learn to love yourself first. I believe healing goes hand in hand with re-learning what it means to love yourself and eventually your partner.

    Buena suerte (good luck) to all those healing themselves and their marriages. Be patient and remember through pain comes true love and understanding. Just be sure the pain is not abusive (mentally, physically, or emotionally) in any way because that is no reason to stay!

    • Doug October 13, 2010 at 11:50 am #

      gdb, it sounds as though you are having some success with your experiences. I like the idea of the separation contract too. I hope that your husband can stay true to his word and not contact the OW. True recovery is tough if there is still contact in any shape or form. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jenn October 13, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    I don’t think it’s helping as much as I had hoped. We first went for 8 sessions beginning in January and I was encouraged that he was going, but then I discovered his affair was still going on. He just lied through our counseling sessions, and went to shut me up.
    We are currently in Christian counseling, and I am discouraged. While better than the other counselor, because it addresses the spiritual issues that need to be, I was told at our last counseling session that on an emotional scale of 1-10, what happen to be would rate a 4. When I asked what a 10 would be, he said we would have been signing divorce papers. He also, on a previous visit, asked if I never thought anything bad would happen to me in life. He doesn’t know that I grew up in an emotionally & physically abusive home. I have very few positive childhood memories. I don’t know whether to go back or not, I feel like I am not getting the help I need, not from counseling and not from my husband. I am so frustrated, and while my husband and I can have great wonderful moments together now, it’s always present that my husband won’t love me the way I need him to. I don’t get the tenderness, patience, and compassion. It feels like he is past what he did, and he expects me to just disregard my hurt feelings that surface.

    Doug & Linda, if you could help answer a few questions, I would appreciate it. Either one would be great.

    Linda, how were you able to convey what you needed from Doug after this affair was over? Did he give you what you needed, on an emotional level? Do you feel like he ‘got it’? Is there anything specific you did or said that made him understand what you needed from him?

    Doug, what clicked in your mind, as far as how your wife now needed to be treated? What did you do, or what are you doing to help her through the devastation of her self-esteem and self worth? How are you constructively handling her break downs when the times get so overwhelming that things feel hopeless? And how do you feel when you see her still upset?

    Thank you so much. I am grateful for any advice you are willing to offer.

    • Doug October 13, 2010 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Jenn, I’ll attempt to answer your questions, but perhaps Linda may need to add some as well. Through all of this, Linda has become very good at conveying her feelings and needs to me verbally. This was never really the case in the earlier years of our marriage. She also gets quite emotional and tends to cry very easily, which always gets to me. Though Linda has told me what she needed, I’m sure I didn’t give it to her initially to the level that she wanted. I do my best to give her what she needs, and I feel I’ve made great progress in meeting her emotional needs, but I’ve never been very good at expressing my feelings, so it’s something I need to continue to work on. I’ve learned to listen. I’m learning to take her reactions to triggers and events without getting upset and frustrated. During the times when her self-esteem is low and she feels like giving up, I try to build her up and remind her that she is a strong woman, and that she can persevere. Finally, it bothers me to no end to see her get upset. I feel guilty and I feel her pain.

      • Jenn October 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

        Thank you, I hope Linda will be able to answer.

  3. Deflated October 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Both my husband and I are going to couples counseling. At first, I went to a therapist on my own and suggested to my husband that he go to one on his own. Once I felt comfortable enough then we would go together. We decided to use the therapist my husband was seeing and I am glad we did. I really like him.
    Last week was our first session and it went well. We talked about our “disconnect”, when the disconnect started and how we each felt the other didn’t care anymore etc…
    I was then asked to express to my husband what his EA did to me and I let loose. I did not raise my voice or breakdown but let everything out that I had felt and continue to feel at times. Our therapist was pleased to see that I had the ability to express myself and informed my husband that however long it takes your wife to get over the anger and hurt of your EA, there is no moving forward until she feels that all questions and or concerns have been addressed. I was pleased to hear this due to the fact that I felt my husband didn’t want to be reminded of what he did (he was ashamed and disappointed in himself and talking about the EA just brought back those feelings which he wanted to avoid). He agreed and so our journey begins…
    Most of my questions have been answered to my satisfaction and the insecurities of my husband straying again are fading . I believe him when he tells me he will never ever stray again (it has nothing to do with me threatening to kill him if it happened again-I’m joking of course–kinda of).
    We both are communicating more with each other which brings us closer together.
    Once I have completely let go of the hurt and anger, then we can work on strengthening our marriage and learning to keep the excitement that we are both experiencing in our relationship.
    Here’s to looking forward to a happier, brighter future…

  4. Dr. MG Lazarus October 24, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Marriage is a unity in diversity where two persons coming from extreme diverse background, personality, academic and professional achievements. Some do not see or do not want to see this diversity factor. The end result is failure in relationship. Things would improve if couples prepare to see and accept this diversity. Marriage/Relationship Counseling will definitely help.

    • Michael October 24, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      Doc,
      I think my first mistake was jumping right into it. Our first session was three days after my wife told me about what was going on. She was hesitant to go, and unwilling to express herself. We weren’t ready for it.
      By the second session she began to express her unhappiness and disconnected feelings. But she was still in her affair and was far from being honest and open. I was still in a confused state and not understanding what was happening.
      Than came my confrontation with him. At that point I thought it was over and we could work on us. She seemed to be ready but not quite.
      We had two more session after the new year and she seemed to be ready to work on us but still didn’t want to do the counseling. I went once alone. And we went together once more. But thing still didn’t feel right. She still didn’t want to work on what was happenning.
      D months later I discovered she was still in contact with him and lieing continuously.
      Now she expresses to me her fear of returning or going on her own. She doesn’t want to go over that which makes her feel bad. She wants to avoid and bury it.
      So now we are back to where we were before the affair. A disconnected couple that loves each other but aren’t working on us.
      Every time we talk its me that brings it up. I’ve asked her to make time for us to talk. That never happens. We never finish or conversations when were together. And I give up on trying to pull things out of her.
      I don’t think she loves herself enough to work on her issues. She makes every excuse and finds anything to do, to escape working on us. Except when she can hide behind her texting. We only talk in text. I don’t know what the next step is for us, but nothing I’ve tried seems to work.
      Should I try to forget about it and accept that we will never be connected at that level. Is it inevitable that one of us gets to that point again and makes another mistake. Me included.

  5. anne williams October 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    We had a couples counselor and each week he said too bad you did not come in before the crisis!! well, we didn’t- I did not relate so we quit. I would like to find a good couples counselor , my husband can not take ownership of the affair, I want to heal, can anyone come up with a good counselor in the syracuse ny area thanks

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