Friday, May 05, 2006

Intermission / Feedback and comments

Some people have raised some great comments and questions, through comments on this blog and privately via email. I thought I would address some of them here.

There's the woman who wrote:

thank you for writing this although we did not survive. it does clarify things. When I told my husband who I thought loved me very much (I still do believe that!) that I had feelings for someone else he basically just let me go. if he would have put up the slightest bit of resistance and offered to try to work it out I would still be there with my family intact. I give you kudos for being a man!

Well. I might misunderstand, but it seems to me that this woman had an affair and is blaming her husband for the divorce because he didn't beg her to stay when she said she was leaving. Thanks for the compliment on my undeniable manliness, but I don't think there is anything un-manly about the way this woman's husband reacted. If my wife had said she was leaving, I would probably have asked her to stay and commit with me to at least try to keep it together. But if she refused, I would not have stood in her way. She said instead that she wanted to stay, so we both put our efforts toward recovery. I'm not saying that a couple is without hope when the cheating spouse is determined to leave -- something can always change -- but a condition I set for working on the marriage after the affair was that the affair be over -- completely and immediately over -- and that she agree to work with me by going to counseling and in other ways.

Got another interesting comment from a woman whose husband cheated. She said that the Winnie-the-Pooh characters were big triggers for her. Now that's a story I want to here. Ma'am, if you're out there, more, please.

Here's a good one from someone who wants to disclose her husband's affair:

have not been in touch with the other woman but I so badly want to. Part of me wants to rip her apart , another wants to comfront her woman to woman. I don't know why but I just do. I have an email ready to send out to her e-friends, her pastor , her employer you name it. She and He would exchange office email jokes. I am in the anger phase and don't want to leave it.

I wonder what she decided. If she stayed in that anger phase, they probably haven't recovered much. If she disclosed the affair like she wanted to do, my bet is they are divorcing. I'm not criticizing her -- and she would be within her rights to get a divorce -- but this kind of disclosure is not compatible with putting the marriage back together. We kept it to ourselves, for the most part. We each had a Christian friend (of our own gender) to confide in; our counselor knew; our pastor knew; and that's it. Over time, we have shared our story with a very few other people, because they were going through things in their lives and were in situations where we could help them by sharing.

Right after D-day, I was pissed at our counselor. We had been in counseling the whole time the affair was going on. The counselor knew my wife was cheating, but I didn't, and I felt betrayed. Here's a question I got about that:
When you found out that the counselor knew about the affair and still concentrated on your issues for the previous year did you think about finding another counselor? I know that I would have been pissed.

Yeah, initially I thought about getting another counselor. Ultimately I realized that this guy couldn't have told me, because my wife had told him about the affair in confidence. We would see him together sometimes and separately sometimes, and he couldn't tell her what happened in our private sessions, or the other way around. He told me all that he could. I was angry at everybody in the world at first, the counselor included, but he was just doing his job. And in fact, he was doing it very well and was a tremendous help to us. The affair was a big thing that we were dealing with, quite obviously, but there were other issues in our marriage too, and he was right to focus on those. In hindsight, he did us a great service just by keeping a dialogue going, even if it wasn't about the affair that, at the time, I did not know about. I had no grounds to be angry with a counselor because he protected his client's confidences.

Thanks for these questions and comments, and I'm so glad that my story is helping other people.


At 10:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did your wife go about addressing the pain of the affair so that you would feel better in the end?

At 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Marriage Counselor had us sign a paper agreeing that anything said in confidence could be shared with the other spouse. Both Betrayed and Betrayer signed it.


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