Hello everyone!

Certainly after an affair has been discovered your marriage will struggle and you may have considered seeing a marriage counselor but wonder, “Does marriage counseling work?”

A statistic was brought to my attention that said marriage counseling had a failure rate of 75%.  If this statistic is in the ballpark of being accurate, then if half of all marriages end in divorce, it sounds like marriage counseling may be helping people end their marriage.

On the other hand, it would appear that marriage counseling does potentially work 25% of the time.

Whether marriage counseling works or not is affected by many different factors:

  • Each spouse’s willingness to consider going to marriage counseling.
  • The couple’s ability to stick with counseling.
  • Each spouse’s ability to make changes in their response to their partner.
  • How far gone the marriage is when the couple enters counseling.

FYI, in our most recent survey, we had asked a few questions regarding couples counseling and two thirds of you had, but only a little over 50% were still in counseling.

This week’s discussion will concentrate on the following…

Have you considered, or have you tried marriage counseling?

Do you feel that marriage counseling helped you and/or your relationship?

If you have gone to marriage counseling, what was your experience?

Any tips for those that may be considering marriage counseling?

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

Have a great day!

Linda & Doug

 

    30 replies to "Discussion – Your Experiences With Marriage Counseling"

    • changedforever

      Our marriage counseling started 3 days asfter DDAY#1. That was the only shred of hope I had back then…some days still is. Only downfall is that my H was not as committed as was I, to this process. I didn’t know this til months later. Therefore, counseling could be a trigger of mine, but I will NOT let this happen (as I discovered, months later, that H was keeping the OW posted of our counseling progress via email and I’m sure via their secret MEEBO acct as well. That went on for months I am sure. I wasn’t told of this secret acct – by my H – until 8 mths after DDay. This secret acct discovery was my DDay #2.) This is the only trigger I can control. I continue to hang in there. See my specific post about ‘ethical drift’ in the ‘From Destroyer To Rebuilder’ post from Monday…one of my best marriage counselling ‘gifts,’ to date. I really value our counselor & truly believe he saved (what’s left of) my life.

    • Bewildered

      Our counselor has been very effective at suggesting ways each of us can improve. Sometimes I get frustrated with how slow the process takes but I have come to realize that is the only effective way to deal with my husbands major insecurities and issues. Recently he forgot about a session and then the following week he booked a doctors appt at the same time saying nothing else was available but when I called that wasn’t the case. He consistently shows up late and I just recently let him know how disrespectful all of those things were to me. My role in the counsling is learning to stand up to him – of course he then accused me of attacking him…he is so narcissistic he can’t see those are his actions and that I am calling him on them now instead of continuing to let him play by his own rules. I basically said no other woman would be as nice about it as I am. Literally I can see us going for years….and its only been 7 months so far. Any suggestions on when it is pointless and when to throw in the towel?

    • E

      My H and I have been in counseling for a couple of months. It was something that I wanted to do for quite some time but I knew that if we were not both committed that it would be pointless. So, it wasn’t until he said to me “I’ll do anything” that I called to make an appointment. I don’t think counseling can force a change on anyone. In fact, if you are expecting that for your spouse, I believe you are setting yourself up for disappointment. For us, I believe it is helping primarily because we are both now committed to recovery. Our counselor does talk to us about the affair, but it seems that she is digging deeper, perhaps to help us with the reasons the affair happened, how to prevent it from happening again, and learning how to overcome the grief that it has caused. Counseling can be difficult, especially the first couple of sessions. It brings out emotions to a total stranger, things that are difficult to talk about. After our first session, the rest of the day was pretty much shot – tension filled! I still have anxiety on days when we have our appointments. My advice would be to go to counseling with your spouse/partner if they are willing however, I am not sure if I would recommend going if the commitment to your relationship is not really there for both parties. Don’t go expecting them to change, go for yourself and see what changes you may need to make. Take a “breather” after your sessions, but sometime that evening or later in the day calmly talk about your session remembering that the purpose is to heal.

    • Paula

      I think the statistics show that people are in major crisis by the time counselling is considered, therefore the 75% “failure” rate is perfectly understandable. We have tried three different counsellors in two and a half years, none for very long, really, yet. the first two were sympathetic, but not really of a lot of practical use (we were both already very self-aware and it was just re-inventing the wheel.) Have had several sessions with a new counsellor now, and whilst he is good, I am already having doubts, as I think we are at the end of this relationship now, and I’m just trying to tidy things up in my mind so as to move onto the next phase of my life with as little baggage as possible. After the last session on intimacy, I realised I don’t want that from my OH anymore, obviously, I desperately do, but I feel that he has ruined my feelings about intimacy, I don’t want him to get that close to me again, I shared absolutely every part of my life, my heart and my soul with him, gave him everything I had to give, and he just cast it all aside like it was nothing, and I never want to be that vulnerable to ANYONE ever again, it nearly killed me, literally. But you are all right about going for yourself, if your marriage heals, that’s just wonderful, but if you heal, just a little, that’s also a huge win!

    • monalisa

      We went to counseling a few weeks after D day. We conferred with our pastor because we wanted a christian counselor. The very first thing he said to me when we sat down in his office was ” why are you so angry?” My husband had just committed the murder of our marriage and this man was stupid enough to ask me why I was angry! Needless to say the whole session went downhill after that. Just before we left his office he said that he thought we should go home, have sex, and after a good orgasm, we would feel a lot better. I refused to go back to that quack! Leave it to a man to think that sex is the answer to all your problems. Hell, my husband was already trying to have sex. Problem was….it just wasn’t with his wife.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Oh goodness Monalisa…the counselor I went to in May told me it was “just a blip” in a 25 yr marriage, and that I needed to concentrate on the “good things” we had going for us!! LOL!! Needless to say, I never went back!
        We have a new counselor that we are going to try starting in January…so we shall see.
        I quizzed them on the phone before I set up the appt. to make sure they were equipped to deal with EA’s…I WON”T take the blame in this…My h did it, it’s his and he needs to own it!
        I’ll accept and admit that we had gotten comfortable, and I wasn’t as “admiring” as I should have been, but I DIDN’T go looking for any extra attention…and my H did!

    • D

      We tried a marriage counselor in the immediate aftermath of the nightmare but it was just too soon. My wife knew this was an issue with her first and foremost, and that she needed to understand that before she could understand how to save the marriage. This was a nightmare for me, of course, since I was just that much further removed from her. But in hindsight it was the right thing to do.

      Like I always say, it’ s a process. If you’ve got a broken leg and you’re inside a burning house, you’ve got to deal with one situation before dealing with the other.

    • DJ

      Perfect timing! I am going to see our counselor today and I wanted some solid items with which to steer the conversation. My husband was supposed to go with me, but he conveniently forgot and scheduled something else, which he now cannot get out of. So I’ll go by myself and see if I can get our counselor to validate my feelings and opinions. If not… I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to keep looking.

    • Anita

      I have seen these statistics before myself, and I’m not at all
      surprised by them.

    • Briana

      As someone who aspires to be a marriage counselor, it’s disheartening to see these statistics but understandable. Some people go when the relationship is already clearly over. I think if people go in thinking 1) the relationship can either be mended, or you can find it’s over, and 2) you should go for healing and a peace of mind, it’ll be better. Again, like the others say, it’s not going to work if only one person’s heart is in it. For those who are still in counseling, I wish you the best.

      • Anita

        Briana,
        I am sure you have seen your share of broken hearts, by
        being a marriage counselor. My ex husband and I divorced,
        and I remember how kind our marriage counselor was to me. Even though my marriage ended, I still want to thank you and all the other counselors for doing the job you do. It
        has to be tough listening to other people’s problems
        day in and day out. But your one of those special people
        that does. Thanks again.

    • SamIam

      A couple of months post-DD my H went to 2 sessions on his own and invited me to the 3rd (and final). I have no idea what he said in the first 2 session but gather it had to do with mostly the trauma he felt from losing a job 4 yrs earlier and the trauma caused by his current boss and some about his AP. When I went and listened to his side of the affair story I realized he had no grasp on how bad things were. He kept saying ” I just don’t use the right words. I just don’t know how to say things. I am just not romantic” I told my side of the story~ pretty animated and angry~ and at the end of the session she said “I think H has a good heart, so ask him to re-phrase things that bother you.” “You (meaning me) can continue to cry into your coffee~ it is healing” WTH!!! He had broken the vows of a 28 yr marriage, shattered my trust in him, told me he put another woman before me, protected that woman at work, validated her on every stinking phone call, and spent the office Christmas party ignoring me because “he didn’t want to be rude to her” culminating in a very public display of comfort & affection (while I was sat at the same table), then ignored me when I said I had made plans to leave him, then continuing to take care of her at work!!
      How is that a “good heart”??
      Needless to say I never went back to the counselor.

    • alonglifesjourney

      Good counselors are hard to find. I think that a couple must ask after the first session what plan the counselor has for them, what specific steps will need to be taken, etc. After a few sessions we stopped going. The first ones were great and very helpful, after that she just wanted to keep us coming indefinitely, even making a comment several times about liking my insurance because it allowed her unlimited visits. She kept bringing up the past, causing us to take steps back instead of forward. I would dread going and would often feel ten times worse after a session. Counseling shouldn’t be like that. A cheating spouse also doesn’t need to constantly be reprimanded every session for his choice. He knew it was bad and was there to try to make it right. Making my husband feel even guiltier made him not want to ever go back. I would think a counselor should be able to recognize that. Sometimes I wish I could find another counselor, but thought of going through the initial process and all that pain again, keeps me from trying. I prefer to read all I can and seek out information now. So far things have gone really well for us a year and a half out. I’m glad we had a few sessions, but it just didn’t work for us.

    • Anne

      We went to marriage counseling for about 4 months. While we found it useful in terms of providing us with tools for better communication, we found it less useful as a forum for discussing the affair. One hour was simply not enough time to open up a sensitive topic and bring it to any kind of closure, and often, we would leave feeling worse than when we came in. Both of us are seeing individual therapists (we’ve taken a break from marriage counseling) and I think this has been extremely useful in our recovery. The fact that we did learn some good communication tools in marriage counseling has been useful in terms of making for a more productive dialog. In the end, I think that the issues surrounding an affair are about the individual (both the cheating and the betrayed spouse). By focusing on your own personal growth, you are bringing that learning back to the marriage, and in our case, it’s been great fodder for discussion and for exploring the meaning of the affair and the direction of our marriage in a less angry or threatening way.

    • Nigel Heath

      As a full time Relationship Practitioner, working as a co-counsellor with my wife (2 of us for 2 of you) we are often asked about our success rate. We reply our objective is to help the couple achieve their aims, not try to stick people back together regardless. We see people for a two hour session minimum or for a whole day. We don’t take sides and provide a written report after each session, which includes homework and agreed action points. We also offer telephone support and email support between sessions. In our experience 6 sessions or less, should get a couple past the crisis and well on the way to repair, if that is what they want. If the relationship is terminal we provide a way for the couple to separate and grow personally in the process.
      a sympathetic listening ear is a great help in times of distress, but does not cut the mustard when a couple is in deep emotional crisis.
      Asking for help is a sign of strength. I’m just sorry a number of you didn’t get the help you needed.

    • jianni

      We are 11 1/2 mos out from D-Day. We both went to counseling for about 3 mos at the rate of about 3 x/month. Mostly the sessions were a good way for me (the BS) to say things I needed to say in a safe atmosphere. My husband (the CS) was most uncomfortable at some of the sessions; told me after one that he did not want to go back just to hear what awful things he had done and for which he had apologized (and I believe is/was genuinely sorry).

      He does do some of things now to help me with healing – I am fairly certain there has been no in-person contact with OP as she has now moved across country. Of course, I know he/she could call each other from his work, but I don’t think this has happened. He still will not ask me how I am doing. I have a lot of the details, but now it is when the triggers happen and I want to get reassurance from him. It is extremely hard for me to approach him about this, as his body language says “aren’t you over this yet?” And, sometimes, I just don’t want to inject sadness/discomfort into an otherwise pleasant time we may be having together just being together at home watching TV, reading, etc.

      I continue now to go to counseling on my own about every other week and it has been helpful. Now that we are coming up to a year to D-Day (which will be a huge trigger day for me), I am going to ask my H to go with me to the next appointment. Not sure if he will, though. He did see the counselor a few times on his own, and the last time (in August) he said it was really quite helpful. She gave him some good suggestions as to specific things he could do (which he did) to help himself and me. I would say counseling has been helpful, but I am certainly the one who feels I really need it – just wish he felt the same and wouldn’t feel so reluctant to continue.

    • Saphire

      This is the first time that I have posted. My husband and I have been married for 19 years. He has been working on obtaining his black belt in karate (7 years). He initially joined to do something with our son. He was in a black belt candidate class of 13 and the woman he had an affair with was also in his candidate class. They do go to different classes during the week, but attend other karate functions together. They have been conversing more this past spring in preparation of their blackbelt test and then the ceremony. I thought it unusual for her to be calling at 7:30 in the morning one day when my husband was working at home. Husband said working on blackbelt party.
      In May of this year, my husband became ill and almost did not make it (flesh eating bacteria in right thigh and foot). He was admitted to the hospital the weekend he was suppose to graduate with his blackbelt. He had two surgeries that weekend. We do not know how he got the infection in his leg. He had been working hard at work as well as preparing for his black belt ceremony, so he was overly tired. I believe his defenses were down and normally his body would have fought off the infection. Later his plastic surgeon said that he had only a 5% chance of surviving this, and he made it.
      While he was in the hospital I approached him of my suspicion of having a relationship with this other woman (who is married and has 2 small children). I approached him a day before our anniversary. At first he denied it and then he admitted that they were had strong feelings for her. I asked if he was in love with her, he said that there was some love, but not in love. He said that they did not have an intimate relationship. One of my suspicions was that I found some condoms (we do not use them). One was missing, he told me it was used as a prop for their karate camp, Austin Power’s theme. I have a hard time believing this… I asked him to remove her from his facebook and to share with me the comments he has made about me to her that was on his facebook and email, he refused to share with me his password. He has all of my passwords. He said he would quite talking to her, but wanted to allow her to know how he was doing in the hospital, by his posted comments on facebook.
      He told me in the hospital that he is trying to determine if he had any feelings to keep this marriage going. We talked while he was in the hospital, he did not want couseling while he was in. He put a lot of blame on our relationship on me. I know I have been open with my feelings and have discussed with him when things have bothered me. I have since discovered that he has not been as forthcoming when things I have said or done has bothered him. I visited him everyday while he was in the hospital. The day before his release he seemed happy about coming home. The day I picked him up, he was really quiet and withdrawn. He did not want to talk while he was home, but wanted to wait until we saw a couselor. I discovered that he was lying to me and was still in contact with this other woman, either by phone or by facebook messaging. He was angry when I caught him messaging her, he tried to hide it.

      We started marriage counseling about about 1 1/2 months after he was released from the hospital. Before we even went in to see the counselor, he said I hope you are not expecting much from this. I couldn’t believe what he said, and it was his idea to see a counselor. He basically bashed me the entire time we were there (50 min). He brought up every adjective that he could to (demasculinze, belittle disregard what he has to say, controlling, etc.). I have asked him to give me examples of what he meant by this. Demasculinize when I suggested he call my Dad or brother when he was having trouble on working on installing a dishwasher. He did not tell me then that it bothered him (2 years ago). He has not been able to give me much viable details of when I have done something or said something that bothered him, mostly generalization. He said I should have read his mind or known. There have been times that I thought he was upset about something and he said he was fine.
      The monday before our 2nd session he told me that the other woman had finally confessed to her husband that they are in a relationship and that she wants to eventually separate and divorce. From what my husband told me they were having difficulties because of money issues. From what I understand from my husband that they will be living together for the children. That he wants her to be happy. The same line my husband used on me. This was defininitely planned out together. My husband also lied and said he was working late and eating at work. I found out later that the other woman’s husband wanted to get all three together to talk. My husband would not give me the same courtesy when I suggested that I call up this other woman. He said that I would just yell at her. What kind of person does my husband think I am. I am beginning to think that my husband does not really know me. We have had our problems with the amount of time that he has been away from the family due to karate. He does not tealize that he has been gone about 20% – 25% of each month due to karate. I have done the math, and when he is home he watches TV or is too tired to do much. He hasn’t mowed the lawn in over two years. He will help out occassionally with cooking a meal or doing laundry.

      Two weeks later (september 8th) we had our 2nd counseling session and he called to say on his way to the session from work that he wanted to take seperate cars. Found out that he was upset, because I had joined karate with him and my son. I told him I was, we had planned for me to do this, because now I get my classes for free. He said I hope you are doing this to keep and the other woman away from each other. I said I was doing this for me. He never said anything when I showed up at karate with our son or said anything afterwards. I asked him if anything was wrong when he got home, he said nothing. He must have been talking with this other person in regards to my joining. He asked if I did not think this would be awkward for her when I showed up a tournaments or otherwise. I did not join for her, but for myself and us. He came to the counseling session and was thinking about not coming home, but going to hotel or his Mom’s. The counselor was very surprised that my husband was still seeing this other person and when my husband asked her opinion if he should leave. She said that she did not think it fair to me to be still living in the same house while having a relationship with another woman. She said that we were in two different places, I wanted to work on the marriage and he did not. She did not think that she could help us.
      After session he told me to go pick up our son and he was going to his Mom’s. He did not go directly to his Mom’s, but called other woman. He told me when he finally called back that he was at the mall with other woman. He deceided to go buy clothes and toiletries and to go out for a $100 dinner with this other woman. He did not have the courtesy of coming home to talk to our son together. He still hasn’t. He has been spending a lot of money, dating, going out to eat, buying clothes, etc. Most months he is spending everything that he earns that month or more. I am only substitute teaching, trying to get throught this emotionally, no family around (live in other states), but have lots of friends. I am trying to find a full time job. Difficult to do, since I am missing some key skills and I have been out of the job market for the past 8 years. My husband was fine with me staying home to keep house, take care of our son and I volunteered for our HOA. It hasn’t been until this past spring that he has made any comment about how little I contribute financially with substitute teaching. It makes me wonder if he has not been harboring resentment and not talking to me about it. I have put myself in a predicament with little income and have to rely on my husband for medical insurance, etc. He has even hinted that he wants primary custody of our son. My friends say that it is all about the money (child support). He is looking at an apartment that will cost as much as our mortgage and when we get divorced he will have to pay 20% in child support and probably 20% in spousal maintenance. He will not be able to afford this as well as his other bills.
      It is now December and my husband has been dating this other person. He has been spending more time with her than his own son. I have asked him to call his son every day. He has not been able to do so, there was one instance in which he did not call him for 4 days and it would have been 5 if my son had not called him. I called him a couple of days earlier for 2 days and he refused to call me back. This was suppose to be his weekend to spend with his son. I found out later that they had spent at least one night in the hotel (he does not know I know). He told me he spend two nights on her couch. He did not go home to his Mom’s.
      He still wants to do counseling, but wants it more for me to get through this. I was suggested by a counselor who was teaching a class on relationships at a new church that I am going to (lots of pastoral care workshops) do a marriage retreat by the institute of marriage. When we got back to try counseling again. He said that would be what he recommended due to my husband no longer living in the same house. I can’t do a 45 to 50 minute session and then not be able to talk or do homework. My husband does not want to spend the time or the money. He said that he does not want to work on our marriage. He has not been very nice to me lately, angry on the phone, or if I see him in person not able to get very close to me. I have not recipricated the lack of respect that he has shown me, even though he is more than deserving.
      This has been far the most difficult thing that I have ever gone through. I have been crying about every day since May. I cannot sleep the entire night, so I only get about 6 hours of sleep. I have lost weight. That is the only good thing about stress. I still love my husband, but he is a different man now. He is definitely going through a midlife crisis. He has basically run away from home. His values have changed and his attitude and respect towards me has gone a complete 180.

      It is ironic this parallelism between him and his father. His father left his mother and family to be with a younger (12 years younger) woman whom he married, she did not want any children. My huband said to me and my son many times that this had devastated him (at the age of 14) and that he would never do this to us, but he has. This woman is about 13 years younger, and has two small children.
      I have not found marriage counseling to work. It might have worked if he was not involved with someone else. I find it hard to believe that he would give up without trying to work on our relationship, especially when he did not talk to me about any underlying issues that he had at the time, but I have looked back and see that he does not like confrontation and does not make it clear on his true feelings or thoughts. I have since worked on some issues that I agree that I have. I do not apologize very well or at least an apology where my husband would accept as an apology. I bought the book on “The five language of apology” as well as several other books by this author. My sister sent me “The five love languages”, it was a tough read and I cried throughout the book, I even asked my husband to read before our first counseling session he said he would, but got angry at me when I tried to get him to read it when it was only days before our first session. He never did read it. I have told my husband that I would have hopes for us up until the final divorce decree. I never thought I would be the type of woman who would be willing to work with a cheating spouse, but we have a lot of history together to just give up. I do not want any regrets later. I feel sorry for him that he has this misconception of what our relationship has been like. It has been a little more strained this past couple of years with the amount of time away from family, but he said wait until after he gets his black belt. Sorry for the long comment, but it just all came out.

      • suzie suffers

        Everything your husband is telling you are just garbage to EXCUSE his behavior. He has to blame you in order to keep this affair going. He is living on the high he gets from this woman….Sure it’s fun to go out all the time and spend money like theirs no tomorrow, but that will end eventually and then the woman will have to adjust to a lifestyle that is less than yours after alimony and spousal support!! But when these guys are in the FOG addiction of their affair it’s like a heroin addict, somewhere deep inside they know this doesn’t really work but the drug is more powerful than their conscious. Your father in law may have had a marriage with the affair partner, but according to statistics this rarely happens or if it does, it is not successful. I know how absolutely painful this is scouring books to figure out where YOU went wrong in this relationship, but if you husband were a mature adult, he would have talked to you about issues before he found the CHICKEN escape of an affair. Demasulize him because you asked for you brother to help him with the dishwasher!!! GIVE me a break. And he held that resentment for 2 years but was SUCH A MAN that he continually demanzulized himself over this comment!!! Well, that is not a mature adult male and as you have seen on this sight (not that it gives you immediate comfort) it seems that all of the CS’s have some kind of character defect that reflects a completely selfish attitude without regard for anyone…..they are in a drug induced high that they are supporting on a daily basis with a shot in the vein that they get from the OW/OM. That high will only last for so long…the butterflies in the stomach…..the euphoria of “infatuation”, not love. They do not know how to love someone.

        I wish I had more words of comfort because I, like yourself have felt the devastating pain of abandonment and rejection and betrayal.

        My husband at the surface seemed to actually want to repair the marriage, but had lots of inappropriate relationships and one EA/PA a couple years ago….we had always struggled with his selfishness, but he seemed to be trying in the last year…..but I did make a big mistake, it was talking about the affair non stop for over a year…..I WAS in so much pain, I didn’ see the pain I might be inflicting on him although I told him daily it was not about punishing him, it was about my self esteem. We had not gotten ANY marriage counseling up to this point and he said he would find a counselor. WELL……he did, and he had decided at that point to visit this counselor on his own….and within 2 weeks instead of us getting counseling he filed for divorce….So, if he really wanted a marriage to work, he would have at least tried marriage counseling….but that was never his plan, he was still looking for what he could get.

        Marriage counseling is really hard when you have someone still in the affair. Get your own counseling to get strong, not to focus on leaving the marriage necessarily and tell your counselor that, but to focus on what you need to do to be the best person you can be. DON’T PUT THE BLAME ON YOU…..SURE YOU MAY HAVE SOME FAULTS, BUT YOUR HUSBAND IS THE ONE WITH THE MAJOR CHARACTER DEFECTS….HE IS THE ONE THAT IS STILL ACTING LIKE A SELFISH CHILD!!!! Focus on what you can do to SURVIVE this pain and feelings of abandonment. Your husband might see a different you…..since most of these affairs fizzle out because the “fun” eventually ends……and if that happens and you still want the marriage you need to be the person you want to be to set boundaries in the marriage and YOU decide how you want to move forward by getting the power back.

    • blueskyabove

      Saphire,

      If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time then you already know:

      You aren’t alone
      You should take time for yourself
      You are not at fault for the affair
      The choice to have an affair is your S’s
      You cannot control another person
      You cannot make someone do ANYTHING they don’t want to do

      Hopefully, you have also come to realize:

      Your S is in a really, really bad place…mentally and emotionally. As awful as you feel right now would you really want to be in his shoes? If he hasn’t been known to be a sly, sneaky liar in the past then what must it be like to suddenly find yourself in that position? Day after day they sink lower into the pit with no hope of going back to the person they were before they became involved with the AP. When you and your S met chances are the relationship was open, honest, and witnessed and shared with family and friends. It was something to celebrate. You probably complimented each other. This is not the case with affairs and affair partners.

      Out of necessity, the affair relationship remains hidden and ugly. The affair partners do not compliment each other. Instead they feed on the weaknesses and insecurities of the other. It takes a strong, healthy person to NOT become involved in an affair. I think quite a lot of CSs fall into a trap and don’t have a clue that they’ve fallen into a bottomless pit of darkness. Frankly, they are a mess.

      Unfortunately, your H cannot hear what you are saying to him now and his only chance of feeling better about himself is to blame you for his problems and/or bring you down to his level. That is truly how far he has sunk in his life. His AP is only all too willing to feed his misconceptions since she is in the same dark place. This next thought will probably seem impossible to you right now, but if you can find it in your heart to have some compassion for the nightmare the two of them have created for themselves(!) then you have an excellent chance of healing and coming out of this a much wiser and stronger person. You see…they really are alone. They would be hard-pressed to find someone who would actually support them in their self-destructio, so they have to rely on each other. It is not a pretty sight.

      So, my advice to you:

      KNOW that you are not alone. Gain strength from those who have acknowledged success on this site…whatever that success has been.

      Take time for yourself. Don’t just read those words and gloss over them. Embrace them! Celebrate the wonder and magnificence of you! You are so much more than a betrayed spouse. Show the world who you are and what you are capable of becoming.

      Don’t let anyone turn you into a victim of their choices. Your H may have chosen to have an affair, but only you can let it control you. Only you can decide to make lemonade out of this lemon you were handed. You now get to make your own choices. I can’t wait to read about your success!

      “…someone is looking up to you now, preparing to follow your example. Let this guide your next choice. ” Neale Donald Walsch

      blueskyabove
      4+ years post DDay
      Rebuilding
       

    • Anita

      Blueskyabove,
      You give excellent advice.

    • Pissed Off Wife

      Dear all,
      I feel fortunate that my husband and I have had success in MC. I think there are some reasons that echo what this post suggested. He cheated and he initiated and he was willing to do anything to save the marriage. He is deeply remorseful and still loves me. I don’t think the MC would have helped us if the following was not true:
      1. The affair was over. The truth and details of the affair were all out and transparent. It tool 4 months for all the truth to come out, and that time was hell. But, if I hadn’t known everything and he was still harboring secrets, this wouldn’t have happened.
      2. He was committed to MC and deeply devoted to the healing process. He was willing to be shredded to a pulp in his own self-discovery process and in facing his shame and guilt.
      3. He knew the healing process would take a loooooong time.
      4. We had already done several months of self-healing, reading of information on EAs, gone through a lot of stuff with each other in terms of goal setting and arguing and recommitting, attending individual counseling to before exploring ourselves and our own motivates.
      5. We have read a lot of books on healing, meditative, affairs and have started rituals that help us when things are triggered.

      What have we done in MC. Mostly rehash the story and search for meaning underneath and discuss tools/strategies and how those work well or fail.

      We have written commitment contracts (what we want to change, what we want do again, what we promise to do). We have amassed tools (lots of things he should do/say when I have a trigger, things not to do, connecting every day, new traditions, limit time talking about the affair, etc.). I couldn’t do this without his 100% commitment. If you don’t have that, I honestly don’t know how things can progress. The crap about, “Just get over it” just delays the process and makes it nearly impossible to trust and feel hopeful because it makes your bad feelings as the BP invalid.

      We two months into MC or so and it is going well. There is hope but only if both people want to move forward. It is hard work, the MC is not a magic bullet…just another aid. The work is long and hard and mostly happens at home.

      PW

    • don't know

      Since 9/21 D-day, my H withdraw long time, until 11/12, he tell me he’d like to come back, follow the course, I suggest MC, it take him some time, but finally at 12/04 we talk to MC, it’s so disappoint me.

      I want to know why the EA happen, H said he doesn’t know, but she just give him a answer, ask him memorize & read to me “I’m selfish, poor bountry … ” I hear that, but I couldn’t fell that! I’m very angry recently, I want to talk about H’s EA, but every time he insist nothing there, & MC ask him not talk EA to me, I can’t believe it!

      Since 11/12, H decided stay with me, I’m more angry, because he doesn’t want to do anything for my recovery, even remove the trigger he agreeed, he still use any excuse don’t do that. the only thing he want is turn over this page & move on.

      Before, I thought the MC is my last hope, it’s also my suggestion, but now, H has more excuse not talk EA, not talk to me when I’m upset, he got a one fit all anwser, he doesn’t need recheck his mistake & ask me why I could not follow the MC?

      After 1st MC at 12/04, the whole week, the only thing I think is DIVORCE, I don’t want, H doesn’t either, but I couldn’t see any hope, I couldn’t feel any remorse, sincere form H, I doubt why H come back? why I stay here? I love my family, but it’s enough!

      don’t know
      18 years M
      09/21/2011 D-day (H’s EA only)

      • Pissed Off Wife

        Hey there, “Don’t know,” It is still earlier in the healing process for you, but I’ll say that it is necessary for you to talk about this. Really necessary. Hang in there and don’t back down from what you need. It is hard for your husband to deal with his shame and guilt, though, so do be patient.

        • don't know

          Thank you, Pissed Off Wife, I told H cancel the next appointment, I’ll try to self-healing, I print your post “to all”, just try to find some sufficient way to deal with it. Sometime I don’t know where we are.

      • suzie suffers

        GET A NEW COUNSELOR. IF YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE COUNSELORS APPROACH, DON’T WASTE ANYMORE MONEY. You need to heal. This isn’t a exercise on how to sweep something under the rug. I do believe that I should have set boundaries on how often I talked about the affair, because ultimately it only continued to wound me and my husband withdrew and felt pushed away from me until he filed for divorce.

        Get in counseling with a good counselor and discuss what you think you need to heal and how to get there. This counseling is more for you and what you expect your spouse to do to create trust and honesty so you feel safe from abandonment, rejection and loss of self esteem. Sounds like the counselor was discussing what your husband need to “feel” about his actions. He may still be in the affair fog so he can’t feel total remorse and talk about that too!!

        • Notoverit

          I agree with you suzie suffers. I am now 13 months from D-day and for a while I constantly pounded my H about the EA, always wanting to talk about it, poke the wound and start the whole cycle of my obsessing all over again. One day I realized that this was achieving nothing. I was making him miserable and tearing holes out of myself. Yes, you do need to talk about the EA and try to understand what happened. BUT at some point you have to stop, if only for yourself. I just couldn’t keep beating myself up any more. The EA happened. He’s sorry and still with me. I have to learn to move on. Very difficult to do but I have to for myself.

    • Mikey

      Nigel and wife might have been a better experience for us. Our experience was that it was pretty much a waste of time. “We” had 1 session, she had 1 session, and I had 2 sessions. Both her and my first session we spent 50 minutes out of an hour on where we grew up, what our parents did for a living, where we went to school, etc. The last 10 minutes we actually talked about “the problem.” What a waste.

    • Unhappy hubby

      This is my first comment. I would say that I had as much trouble as you all getting the CS to come (man/man marriage) to the first counseling session and it definitely has to be over before you get there. I drew my line in the sand and was about to leave him when he finally ended it in front of me. The first couple of sessions are good to get the guilt on and have the CS faced with reality because they have been in an illusion for a while. The duration of this is the worst part though. The best advice I ever got is to completely get to know yourself again and do things for yourself and do your best not to obsess about them. 7 months from DDay and I am angry again today just because I want to have closure about the emotional affair which lasted 3 months beyond dday. So counseling is good but never as good as your own independence. Listen to your heart and intuition and focus on your positives- not necessarily the relationship positives because that can get you thinking directly about the negatives again. Anyway counseling is good but there is a point where you realize that your expectations aren’t getting met and you are hearing what you heard the last time. I decided that the last one I wasn’t going back and I’m only going back if the CS pays for it. Tired of coining for this thing. Sometimes a good fight is better than any session could hope to be. Just try and be a better person for yourself and keep your fingers crossed the CS will notice and make their own changes.

      • Doug

        Thanks for sharing Unhappy Hubby. Good advice as well.

    • Ann

      Instead of MC how about getting a good addiction counsellor for the cheater with weekly visits for about a year with a 12 step program. This seems to be more effective and a faster course of change.

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