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IC recommended Esther

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TwoDozen posted 4/7/2021 09:20 AM

Just looking for thoughts. Currently In amicable IHS with STBXWGF in early stages of discussing separation agreement and telling kids.

Itís clear that neither of us want S but that neither of us are prepared for the hard work of R and WGF is unwilling to accept any of the consequences that come with it.

WGF has quite her IC after 3 sessions and said it was a waste of time.

My IC knows that I still love my WGF and last night suggested that I take separation off the agenda for a bit to see if I become okay without the NC I asked for, the issue that drove me to start the S discussion in the first place (AP is a colleague) She also suggested I read Ester Perrel

Is she suggesting I try to rugsweep? Or is there any value in listening to what she is saying?


The1stWife posted 4/7/2021 09:28 AM

Oh please do not read EPerel.

I think perhaps your therapist is offering up solutions given your situation. But.........you canít think an open relationship is going to make you happy ó living with a cheating GF isnít making you happy right now.

The GF quit therapy. Typical cheater behavior.

You donít want to lose your GF but you donít want a cheater GF either.

Sadly you will need to pick one. And sucking it up for the sake of the kids is not the best choice. If you are unhappy the kids will see it eventually.

You certainly can stay and accept your GF will not change. That is an option. But donít think it will be a good solution for you and that you will be happy long term.

You deserve better. Please know that.

TwoDozen posted 4/7/2021 09:41 AM


Just to clarify. Whilst WGF hasnít established NC with AP I am certain she is not currently cheating, in fact thatís probably the only thing I am certain of during these uncertain times.

If you mean she has a wayward mindset then yes that is my issue. Basically WGF wants to go down the ďI made a mistakeĒ route and I think IC is pushing me in this direction too.

She says that I donít have to accept that Iím responsible for the A, I just have to accept that WGF thinks Iím responsible for her A.

I donít think I could swallow either long term TBH

TwoDozen posted 4/7/2021 09:48 AM

Further clarification

IC has worked with both of us and itís clearly my mindset she is trying to change. Thatís either because I am wrong or because I am the path of least resistance.

asc1226 posted 4/7/2021 09:52 AM

She says that I donít have to accept that Iím responsible for the A, I just have to accept that WGF thinks Iím responsible for her A.

I canít quite wrap my head around why your therapist thinks this is anything but a recipe for repetition. With you suffering turmoil for ignoring your values into the bargain. Hell of a model for repeat business I suppose.

DanielJK posted 4/7/2021 09:59 AM

I would recommend against Esther Perel.

Cheater apologist, romanticizes cheating, "cheating might be the best thing that happened to your relationship."

Not sure if you've read "Cheating in a Nutshell" but they do a good job of debunking this moron (sorry, I do not like her).

Perel is going to reinforce WGFs notions and unwillingness to accept responsibility/consequences.

For her to suggest that NC is too much to ask is not good. So it's OK for WGF to remain friends with AP? They will always, ALWAYS be friends with benefits. The leap from friends to more than that is so easy for her now...it's not a leap at all, but a tiny step.

And is NC too much to ask? If you were the most important person in her life wouldn't she be OK with this? Is maintaining contact with AP more important than you?

I don't see how Perel is going to do you any good. Should be a non-starter.

[This message edited by DanielJK at 10:16 AM, April 7th (Wednesday)]

TwoDozen posted 4/7/2021 10:03 AM

With you suffering turmoil for ignoring your values into the bargain

And this is what I have struggled with since dday. I feel like Iíve been trying to squeeze myself into accepting conditions which i would tell my own son or anyone I cared about to run away from.

Why canít I just listen to myself?

BetrayedGamer posted 4/7/2021 10:03 AM

IMO this is ridiculous. It's as bad as how some places blame a rape victim for wearing suggestive clothes.

In a committed relationship, there is no justification for cheating. I don't care how horrible the partner is. What adults do...they break-up with horrible partner first, then move on to something new. Having the inability to wait until one relationship is over before moving on to another is to me a weakness on an epic level, and can't be excused. The fact that a therapist is doing so, wow you may want to report that one to the parent company they work for.

asc1226 posted 4/7/2021 10:05 AM

IC has worked with both of us and itís clearly my mindset she is trying to change.

It sounds like sheís still focused on the relationship. Unless WGF pulls her head out of her ass thereís not much point to that. You should make it clear that you canít continue in a M where WGF refuses to deal with her issues in a way that makes her a safe partner.

gmc94 posted 4/7/2021 10:34 AM

Perel is going to reinforce WGFs notions and unwillingness to accept responsibility/consequences.
Bingo. I also have a real issue with Perel (and Kirshenbaum, and Janis Spring's After the Affair, tho I loved her How Can I forgive you. I'm sure there are others, but those are the worst offenders off the top of my head).

Does you IC have a CLUE about relational betrayal trauma? Does she have any training or experience in trauma? Because as a BS, THAT's the thing that needs to be addressed first. SAFETY (it's Mazlow's hierarchy of needs for heaven's sake). And the bottom line is that you (or your amagdyla/lizard brain) have a high likelihood of not feeling safe until your WGF goes NC with the AP. After that, the work to calm/create safety is seeing actual CHANGE in your WGF. Not learning how to accept someone treating you without respect. Not learning how to accept someone violating your boundaries by cheating.

The lizard brain is there to protect us. There is a reason why many (most? All?) BS experience the symptoms of PTSD in the wake of dday. It's bc our primal biological workings are screaming to protect us from harm. And once we've been harmed, the same systems are working to protect us from ever being in danger again. I've read a TON of books post dday, and the most simple description of this comes from Cheating in a Nutshell (but beware, that book also basically says that R is not likely to impossible).

So, if your IC is avoiding all of the lizard brain responses to the relational betrayal TRAUMA that is experienced post infidelity, and instead recommending you read Perel to "understand" your WGF, the IC is not up to date on trauma or infidelity, IMHO.

Your WGF stopping her own IC is a sign/signal/ACTION that shows - far far far far better than any words she could say - that she is unwilling to work to become a safe partner. Not just for you (because it still isn't "about" you), but for ANYONE (and esp for herself).

I recently did a post about the helping couples heal podcast's interview with Stan Tatkin, that I highly recommend. To me, the issue that your IC could help with is WHY are you willing to sacrifice your values, your integrity, your (or any human) desire to be treated with respect, for someone who is not willing to do the basics after the harm caused by her A?

I'd stay away from Perel and seriously challenge the IC as to why she thinks Perel has anything to offer you, what other resources she thinks are helpful, and why.

Do some people successfully R w/o NC (bc AP is a colleague)? I think so, but they are FAR and few between. It seems to me your IC should be more focused on how to help you (or your lizard brain) feel safe, rather than how you (or lizard brain) can learn to accept a danger (in the form of your WGF) that can be avoided by S.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 10:41 AM, April 7th, 2021 (Wednesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 4/7/2021 12:48 PM

I read your title and saw what forum this was in and that made total sense to me, ha ha ha. If Esther doesn't lead to divorce and separation, I don't know what does.

leavingorbit posted 4/7/2021 13:01 PM

I actually like Perelís podcasts and my H does, too. But I think thereís a big difference between your STBXGF feeling hurt and her holding you responsible for her response to that hurt. And I donít see how Esther Perel is going to help that.

I mean, what does your IC say this will result in?

ZenMumWalking posted 4/7/2021 13:28 PM

IC has worked with both of us

This is a conflict of interest. Get a new IC that doesn't have anything to do with WGF.

This0is0Fine posted 4/7/2021 16:22 PM

EP, if you go in with the right background and know when to just think, "Nah that's bullshit", can have some enlightening points. However, don't accept an ounce of blame shifting. But just to understand the motivation and self-lies, it can be helpful.

nekonamida posted 4/7/2021 17:59 PM

Is she suggesting I try to rugsweep?

Yes. And she's recommending the "pick me" dance where you act normal and nice your WS back into the relationship. It doesn't work.

Or is there any value in listening to what she is saying?

No. Not unless you want to find yourself back here with the same issues several months down the line or a new DDay.

There are two kinds of IC. The IC that tells what you what you want to hear and the IC that tells you what you need to hear. This one is the former and she's not going to help you because you are miles from R in terms of what you need to see from your STBXWGF. If losing the relationship does not wake your STBX up, nothing will. If she was capable of turning this around, dropping OM, and finding remorse, she would have done it already.

nekonamida posted 4/7/2021 18:08 PM

Whilst WGF hasnít established NC with AP I am certain she is not currently cheating, in fact thatís probably the only thing I am certain of during these uncertain times.

Doesn't that make it worse in a way? Why can't she give him up then if there's nothing between them anymore? Why is a luke warm friendship with him more important than YOU - her partner of the last two and a half decades?

And what do you think is going to happen when you hit the next rough patch? He's right there to swoop in and remind her how good he can make her feel. He's right there to offer up validation when you're understandably sick of her bad attitude. This is why any contact is unacceptable. He's only a text, a phone call, a message away from full blown PA again. It's like keeping a stocked bar with an alcoholic and trusting that they will never touch it again for the rest of their lives. The temptation is too great for her and she is doing nothing to prevent herself from taking advantage of it again in the future.

[This message edited by nekonamida at 6:09 PM, April 7th (Wednesday)]

Dude67 posted 4/7/2021 18:21 PM

Your IC is recommending acceptance of the affair - not forgiveness of the affair - so you can reconcile.

This is the thing; you desperately want to reconcile. Your WGF wants to econcile. To R, you must accept what your WGF is essentially saying. I love you, I want to reconcile, I made a mistake, I only slept with him two times, our relationship prior to the affair set the stage for the A, now our relationship is terrific. Itís terrific because Iím now getting from you what I needed from you before the affair. Esther Perel would say, do you want to blow up your relationship snd your family because your WGFís vagina was in the wrong place two times?

On your part it boils down to a cost benefit analysis. You gambled in that you thought temporary separation, with the threat of making it permanent , would change her mindset - it didnít. You now find yourself feeling like you need to preserve your pride by going through with a permanent separation. So, now she cheated snd she wonít budge as you hoped - two instances where you need to eat the S sandwich - the A snd backing down from S.

Everything you write tells me you want to reconcile and can live with these two things. I think that you should broach this with WGF, tell her that these two things are your stumbling block, you want to try get over it, but you need her help to do so. Tell her what your counselor said, you think you can probably do that, but it requires both of you to go to your individual counselor and see if we can come up with a way forward.

Your WGF is looking for you to go this route. If you do, you will remain together. If not, you will part ways. This is my question - would both you snd your WGF be willing to go to your counselor to purely discuss the means to stay together, taking S off the table?

ChamomileTea posted 4/7/2021 18:47 PM

I actually think you SHOULD read some Esther Perel. You can begin by punching into your browser "esther perel quotes". She's basically just a Hallmark greeting card for cheaters, and I think you'd do well to see just what it is your therapist is asking you to tolerate. Make sure your stomach is up to it though, because you're going to want to when you think about the TRAUMA that you've been through, all the sleepless nights and tears, the heart palpitations and the nightmares... that someone can reduce all you've been through to something as insipid as:

Adultery becomes a moral failing as we move to a description of character flaws: liar, cheater, philanderer, womanizer, slut. In this view, understanding an act of infidelity as a simple transgression or meaningless fling, or a quest for aliveness is an impossibility.

Got that? It's just her "quest for aliveness", which of course completely trumps your outdated and archaic need to know exactly who all you're sharing that vagina with or whether you need to DNA test your kids. Never mind what happens next while all those character flaws go unaddressed, just growing and multiplying because after all, these were "simple transgressions". No biggie. She's said "sorry", right? Flings are "meaningless", so why should she be digging for answers on what it meant?? And how long will it be until her next "quest for aliveness???

Nope. I'm thinking that once you've really looked into Esther Perel, you're probably going to be shopping for a new therapist.

So sorry. I know you were hoping to work it out, but your WGF appears to be hellbent on NOT taking responsibility or making changes.

OwningItNow posted 4/7/2021 18:50 PM

You gambled in that you thought temporary separation, with the threat of making it permanent , would change her mindset - it didnít.

And this is ultimately the true issue that you face--is her "unchanged mindset" something you can live peacefully with? It can cause the brain to ruminate and run circles, can cause intense jealousy and suspicion. This unchanged minset can stick in your craw, a nagging feeling of unworthiness and low value. It can lower your self-esteem, that you allowed her to feel this way and keep you. The worries over your behavior ("am I still making her happy?") will follow you around. This unchanged mindset of hers will haunt you at times as you wait for the other shoe to drop by looking for clues and playing detective.

WGF has quite her IC after 3 sessions and said it was a waste of time.

Is there really peace in your future if she stubbornly hangs onto her belief that she is fine and you were the problem? I think your WGF has no respect for you and your IC does not know what she is talking about.

Thissucks5678 posted 4/7/2021 19:37 PM

I donít hate EP as much as many people do, but I donít advocate for her either. However - your WGF doesnít seem willing to take personal responsibility for her actions or display a willingness to fundamentally change herself to be a safe partner.

I can empathize with how my WH got to where he did and cheated. I get it, I really do. His affair broke me though and if he wasnít willing to put forth the effort to change himself then that means he wouldnít be worth the effort reconciliation takes. Reconciliation is hard - it takes a lot of work from both parties - so much work. If both people are not all in, I wouldnít waste your time. Itís clear from an outside perspective that your WGF is not all in. She canít even be bothered to continue IC and is unwilling to face the consequences of her affair. Reconciliation is not possible without two people focused on reconciling. This would be one-sided.

I think itís time for you to forget about separating and just leave. She is a waste of your time.

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