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Backslide... warning too much information

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 Amilliondreams (original poster member #69387) posted at 1:08 PM on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

Been awhile since I posted.

I'm a madhatter in reconciliation since 2019. My spouse had a 6 month long affair with his coworker right after I gave birth to my 2nd and I was experiencing postpartum. I had a revenge affair to " show him" he couldn't just get away with it and to show myself I could leave him. He became extremely remorseful and we stayed together and worked on it each since.

A couple weeks ago my affair partner messaged me out of the blue and I answered. I knew his intention was to see if I would sleep with him again but for those few minutes I felt flattered that after years I was even passingly on his mind and I entertained I for a moment. I felt guilty almost instantly but at the same time felt good if that makes sense. Almost instantly my husband started questioning me on whether I was talking to him (which is insane because I don't think I even had a moment to behave any differently.) I answered his questions honestly and held nothing back - and felt angry while doing so. It wasn't easy but I put on my big girl pants and did it. Why couldn't he have done this? For so many questions back then his answers were "I don't remember. Really that's not how my brain works." And that was it I had to accept it because it was all he was capable of. Even our counselor repeatedly agreed it was all he could do. As an aside, I am now positive he has some type of monitoring on my phone unbeknownst to me even though he swears he doesn't. I may be wrong but I don't believe in coincidence.

Now to last night, we had sex. Sex is great, until it's not. He doesn't come inside me. I've literally asked him for a vasectomy for years because I needed to get off birth control and he refuses. Finally after my last baby was born last year I said no more sex until he got a vasectomy. He just seduced me and stopped coming inside me. It feels,distant and incomplete- a lot of cleanup and separation instead of cuddling but I guess I just got used to it until recently when I was triggered. He pulls out to come on me and it just feels so dirty, incomplete and impersonal now- like this is what you do with an affair partner not your wife. He's really just ok never coming inside again, really? I thought sex was all about losing yourself and if he's always in control enough to remember to pull out then is he not emotionally involved? I mentioned this to him and he says it's not like that, it's not an affair partner thing to come on someone, he used to come inside her (as if that was to dispute my point.) Well that was interesting and terrible. He never "remembered " or said that before. He then said it was OK because she told him he could and that she couldn't get pregnant. Wow what lovely detail you can recall years later that you couldn't back then. It doesn't change where we are now but I just feel off and disgruntled today, bothered. I dont believe him when he says how much he loves me, and I turn him on and how everything with me is soo much better blah blah blah. I'm sure it is to some minor degree but I believe any body would do for him.

[This message edited by Amilliondreams at 5:54 PM, Tuesday, November 2nd]

posts: 216   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8696329
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:56 PM on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

Hi Million Dreams,

I can't comment on what it's like to be a MH, my comments will mainly deal with what it's like to have incomplete sexual intimacy.

I've experienced this in my marriage too. Both the post partum and the physical rejection- a good year or so of rejection before my husband got a vasectomy. The post-partum became entrenched and I still struggle with it- especially during my progesterone cliff at the end of my cycle mad . The rejection brings deep psychological, emotional and even spiritual harm.

You said no more sex after the last child. This stuff is complicated- hormones, exhaustion, feeling like our bodies being gross and stretched out... add in the affairs and you have a right mess! Did you two discuss this, or was this a unilateral decision? Sex is a MAJOR want (not necessarily a need- don't know of anyone who died from not having sex). Cutting him off without an open discussion will likely result in resentment. This could be coming out in him both seducing you and then not going to completion with you.

Also, "seducing" is a loaded word. It usually relates to naïve young women who don't know fully what they're in for. Since you've been married many years and had more than one partner, I'm assuming you're not naïve about the whole dance surrounding sex. The word implies passivity on your part and a touch of victimhood. I'm questioning this part of the story you tell because it sounds like you're shifting the blame for the sex onto your husband. Is there hidden in the back of your head a desire for more physical intimacy with him? It's a BIG want for us women too and VERY worth acknowledging. Is your husband trying to honor your request for "no more sex" by not completing in you? Is the no sex rule a result of your desire to stop having children?

Our vasectomy situation was reversed- BH wanted it and did it over my objections. I know how demoralizing it is as a person to have your fruitfulness and fertility taken from you. People may claim a man feels it more than a woman since their manhood is tied up in their virilty, but I know from personal experience and listening to my friends who have struggled with infertility on their end, just how devastating it can be to a woman.

On another note, there are vasectomy procedures that can be easily reversed. Instead of the traditional incision and clip and stitch, there's a banding procedure that can be reversed with less scarring and less invasive work. Perhaps explore that with your husband?

None of this addresses your feeling of betrayal over your husband's revelation of his sex practices with his AP. That's a whole level of TRIGGER WARNING that is painful to even contemplate. It's like a whole new DDay with the TT that came out. The trust has to be built back from him- he obviously remembers more than he lets on, when his memory is properly jogged. That's his work to do for your trust to be rebuilt.

Are you guys in counseling together? This would be a good topic to discuss.

posts: 205   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8696379
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 Amilliondreams (original poster member #69387) posted at 6:10 PM on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

MIgander- sorry, I meant "no sex until he gets a vasectomy." I edited it on the post. Honestly I enjoy sex, but I have 3 young children, nursed all 3 and I'd much rather sleep. Almost always. Id be perfectly fine not having sex except for once in a while. Him not so much, constantly initiates even when I'm asleep- so yes, seduced is the word I'd use. I'm not naive, not by any means but more often than not my acceptance of his advances comes from a place of me knowing he should be able to have sex more not from a place where I want to have sex. Once it starts up I am an active participant who enjoys it though- no force just seduction.
We are not currently in counseling, it's very difficult with the kids and covid. I'm not comfortable having someone come into the house to watch them for us. We do not have family close.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8696395
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gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 6:40 PM on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

Likely not too helpful, but I would not have sex with someone (including my own WH) who would rather engage in sex that I do not enjoy over accepting & taking up his EQUAL responsibility for contraception, esp after having three kids.

Another way to put it may be that I wouldn't continue to have sex that felt cheap and tawdry to me.

If the sex is more his want/need than yours (you say you enjoy sex, but would rather sleep, so that's a bit confusing), then why isn't he making the CHOICE to get the vasectomy in order to make that happen for him / have HIS need met?

Or, where are YOUR boundaries on the sex front, as it doesn't sound like they are very firm and you seem to be willing to engage in a form of sex that you don't enjoy in order to... what? Keep the peace with a spouse that refuses to take the reigns on contraception after having 3 kids? What's his hangup about the vasectomy? Or condoms?

As to the new info about the sex with AP... I'm just so sorry you experienced that. We all know the ways in which infidelity impacts trust - and it sounds that there is some hard work that needs to be done on that front in your M.

Maybe you can find a MC that will do zoom/webex sessions (my IC did it until last summer, but will still do remote sessions for those who aren't comfortable with in person). Still doesn't make it easy (with 3 little ones I can just envision all the possible interruptions).

Or maybe it's time to think about how to balance the realities of Covid with the realities of the present issues in the M (IOW, maybe getting a sitter for some MC is more important than the covid fears... I assume there are folks who are vaccinated & taking precautions who are willing to do a couple hours a week with your little ones).

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3509   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8696403
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Buck ( member #72012) posted at 8:25 PM on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

I’m a MH too, my stbxw cheated first, then I did. The MH thing gets people flummoxed here at SI, it’s really difficult to get relevant input.

I’ll say though, you seem pretty damn cavalier about your A, I’ve been guilty of that as well. You also broke NC with your AP pretty damn easily too. The weird thing is you admit knowing he only was interested in you for an easy piece of ass and you still replied and were even flattered by this tidbit. You go gurl. You do realize how this makes you look to your husband. Let me clue you in, you appear to be excited to be a side chick/piece of ass/hoe/hook up for a dude that’s not investing time or effort into you but bitching about sex with your husband, complaining about birth control, preferring sleep, etc. But, hey, you say you do roll with it if he whines enough to convince you to fuck. What birth control did you use with AP?

What I’m saying sounds harsh but I guarantee your H is thinking these things. I also have been where you are and you feel he deserves a bunch of the shit you’re giving him because he cheated first and the first cut is the deepest and all that bullshit. Been there too. The thing is, at some point, you both have to let go of vengeance aspect - especially you. You both have to get radically honest with each other. You each need to do an inventory of issues, feelings, concerns, and realistically take stock of what it’s going to be like staying together. You’re going to have to deal with your choices, and how your husband feels about them, too.

posts: 338   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019   ·   location: Texas
id 8696426
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 12:06 AM on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

I can’t help with other aspects of this post. The only comment I have is that a vasectomy is actually very simple. I’m a big chicken when it comes to doctors, I’m terrified of needles. It was easier than any dental filling I have ever had. I’m so glad I had mine, however it didn’t prevent adoption which we did 5 years later.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54 WW 48
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 873   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8696492
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Dazedandconfused1978 ( new member #79527) posted at 1:21 AM on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

I’ll be the first to admit I’m still sour about my wife’s infidelity. So this will come off as harsh. But if you were truly remorseful for cheating why would you entertain the thought of accepting your APs message? Do you not have boundaries? You must not have felt true guilt but rather are feeling good about yourself that the AP stil wants a hook up? Do you not have more self respect for yourself? Sounds like you never really got over him or learned to love yourself in the healing process? Sex with an AP is a fleeting moment but causes a lifetime of pain.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Oct. 26th, 2021   ·   location: West Virginia
id 8696509
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prissy4lyfe ( member #46938) posted at 1:49 AM on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

I will address the vasectomy...

You are responsible for your own fertility. If you do not want any more children it's your responsibility to protect yourself. Period. Take your power back regarding It's not his job. There are permanent ways to make sure you can not get pregnant.

If he is having sex with you with out your permission...that's assault. Is he assaulting you? If so this is a different conversation.

posts: 2017   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2015   ·   location: Virginia
id 8696516
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 Amilliondreams (original poster member #69387) posted at 3:51 AM on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Buck- you're on the money on most things. That main being the vengeance. I tell myself it's only time. In truth, I have no idea how to better deal with it. In truth my reaction was outrage at him for even aligning my toeing into fantasy with his actual longterm execution.

Dazed- it's hard to get everything out in a few paragraphs but you have one thing wrong. I'm not remorseful for the revenge affair. My guilt that I referenced is a feeling I felt immediately I'm the aftermath of responding to the APs message and frankly for thinking of it on several occasions since. My thoughts which trouble me that I have them period, however as an adult who understands consequences I analyzed myself and my mindset and didn't respond again to him. As for the actual affair, I can spin it 100 different ways- I was in a zero sleep haze of postpartum depression with an infant while singularly raising a toddler as well and had a marriage therapist who instead of diminishing those thoughts embraced them and created ground rules and navigated the revenge affair in a clinical manner. But the truth is once condoned, I went at it like a mission. With the main objective to let my husband know I was no pushover. While I may regret in hindsight some parts of it, I don't have remorse as I still believe my husband wouldn't have ever reached empathy without it. We had a pre marriage situation to a much lesser degree that we met head on and I thought had relationship proofed it against infidelity. This mindset still leaves me feeling in the right which I am aware is problematic in keeping us in a level partnership. Even if I am right I have to be able to analyze that I may be wrong. That is something I'm still working on.

Prissy- thank you, no he is not assaulting me. It is true that id rather not start having sex pretty much ever, once the car warms up it runs smoothly. I understand how it is difficult to see a difference as many times I too have trouble but I assure you if I say no, it's no. He doesn't push. But he does taking silence as a yes and frankly sometimes I just feel too tired emotionally too fight it. I know I'll enjoy it, but at the same time I know I just lost 2 extra hours of sleep and only I will pay for it the next day.

I deeply appreciate all the feedback, regardless of it being constructive or harsh. I spin my mental wheels endlessly but there are just views I cannot see without an outside opinion. And the only outside opinions I'll accept are from others who've been involved in or touched by infidelity.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8696542
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Dazedandconfused1978 ( new member #79527) posted at 10:54 AM on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Million- you are to be commended for owning the affair and admitting no remorse. I understand the guilt about accepting his request but the difference is your able to analyze now and not after making another mistake. Kudos to you. Your are showing strength and growth. Wish you the best

posts: 29   ·   registered: Oct. 26th, 2021   ·   location: West Virginia
id 8696573
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 3:41 AM on Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Hi Million Dreams,

I've heard from many sources (books, podcasts, etc) that "making love" starts in the morning and takes all day until it's capped off by good sex at night. Meaning, all day is foreplay. Not just the sense of the touching, the sexuality of it, but the connection, bonding and enjoyment of each others company beforehand.

In practical terms, are you getting the help you need around the house to not be exhausted and indifferent come bedtime? Not to be tit-for-tat here, but if you're nursing, diapering, feeding, clothing and cleaning up after a baby (and more young children too?), there's NO WAY you're going to have the emotional and physical stamina to connect with your husband through sex. I had post partum too- BAD and those 2 under 2 in diapers too years were a fog. I barely remember anything about my children being babies unless tied to shame, anxiety or frustration. It sucks. There's a lot of struggles women have after bearing a child that men don't understand- they're not in anyway inferior, they just aren't equipped to comprehend it.

That being said, your husband doesn't have to show up with roses and steak for 2 in candlelight just for you to warm up to the idea of intimacy later. Can you come up with a list of little things he can do for you during the day to help you take a load off? Things like: bathe the kids, clean up after dinner, entertain/put to bed older children while you're nursing and getting the baby to bed, take one of the night shifts with baby... do some laundry?? It's a practical way he can show you care and concern and lighten your load. My husband and I are working on literal lists we can hang and "check off" so that he knows exactly what I am looking for and I know exactly what he is looking for- on practical, day to day terms.

You don't have to phrase it as, "unless you do 5 out of the 10 things on my list everyday, forget about sex!" laugh . But, more of a, "small children are leaving me completely emotionally drained and physically exhausted. I'd love to be more intimate with you and have more energy to devote to our marriage. Right now, that's difficult from the shear amount of physical labor involved with raising our children. It would really help me and make me feel appreciated if you could do XYZ for me on this list. Just anything on it, when you can, would make a BIG difference in my capacity for bonding with you."

Or, if he needs the blunt approach, "I'm exhausted. If you want me to be more excited about sex, you're going to have to step up the hands on labor around here. My list is on the fridge. If you want to know what gets me in the mood these days, you'll find it there!"

Good luck?

posts: 205   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8696710
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Carissima ( member #66330) posted at 12:15 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

You know as a BW I simply can't believe the route this thread has gone down.
The OP openly admitted her husband had a second DDay only a couple of weeks ago and what are people here concentrating on - how she doesn't feel fulfilled in her sex life. Unbelievable!
OP the reason you had another DDay is because you did absolutely no work after your affair, you felt no remorse, probably no regret and totally justified in punishing him. All you've done now is prove how you were already that person to begin with and maybe admit it's time to look at yourself more closely instead of blaming your husband for everything.
As for sex, the pull out method is used as contraception by probably millions of people around the world, often for religious or medical reasons.
The vasectomy is totally your husband's choice it is his body after all.
Strange how you never bring up the option of you getting your tubes tied, it is after all a simple keyhole procedure these days.

posts: 941   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2018
id 8696907
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 Amilliondreams (original poster member #69387) posted at 5:38 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

Carissa- no its not strange at all. Tubal ligation is not recommended for me medically.

As already addressed by another wayward here, I am aware I haven't treated him as a bs and am aware that I'm not ready to do so. It's a process and it takes time. If only it were as easy to snap and do just do it.

You are just plain wrong with your black and white conclusions. Much work has been done and will continue to be done. And the post has illustrated at least some progress.

The pull out method is triggering and not acceptable to me. If you read the post without one-sided bw judgement you would see that.

As for the vasectomy it was a shared decision he agreed to in the past and has now changed his mind for ,according to him, fear of pain. Well that's a ridiculous and unacceptable response to me who bore 3 children and is the firm place of resentment in our marriage right now. I can only bring it up for conversation as often as I do and you're right it is his body, but it is my choice not to allow him access to my body anymore. It's difficult. I dont want to resent him anymore but in addition to several things ive gotten out of the responses to this post-I'm aware I don't have to pander sexually to keep him happy when he won't honor the one thing he agreed to in the wake of the first dday of his doing. In spite of everything we have accomplished and overcome this maybe our final downfall.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8697055
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prissy4lyfe ( member #46938) posted at 6:36 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

I'm not sure what progress you have made...as your post seethes resentment, anger. You also say you are unwilling to treat him as a BS. And his feelings as a BS are likely playing into his decision to not have the vasectomy he agreed to earlier.
I would offer for you to examine why You have abdicated your responsibility here? I thinks its because you have put him solely in the role of WS. When honestly...he is BOTH a BS and a WS and both of those identities are going to influence his decisions.

You are only identifying as a BS...so your actions, words and feelings come from that place.

Sleep with him or don't. No one deserves access to your body PERIOD. FULL STOP. However, that's not the case here, at least that's what I get from your earlier post.

You are fully abdicating your responsibility to STOP having intercourse. That may mean sleeping separately. Which you can control.

There are other forms of birth control up to and including a hysterectomy. discuss all the options available. Because if YOU are done finish having children then YOU need to ensure that YOU can have no more.

I really think you have entrenched yourself as a BS and are unable to see how your actions as a WS effect your husband. And he is doing the same. The bottom line...you both stepped out in your marriage and that comes with consequences for your BOTH. You can not make any real progress until you both are willing to deal with BOTH of those identities.

And I understand throwing in small children into the mix adds to the work 10000%. But it's necessary. If your using the pullout method and still having sex your likely to get pregnant again. And you don't want that. You are going to have to stop holding him to that agreement because right now he isn't comfortable doing it. For whatever the reason.

[This message edited by prissy4lyfe at 6:47 PM, Friday, November 5th]

posts: 2017   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2015   ·   location: Virginia
id 8697068
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 Amilliondreams (original poster member #69387) posted at 7:37 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

Prissy -thank you, you're right. I keep thinking going through the steps will get me to a place of empathy for him, it hasn't yet and I'm less confident it will as each month passes. I find myself at an impasse of whether it's worth it or to move on as we obviously no longer have the same ideals. Ie the vasectomy. Ultimately I believe he wants more kids- keep trying for the boy- and I don't. My physical health has deteriorated with each kid and the last pregnancy almost killed me. He was aware of every complication and still wants (not confirmed) to try again.
I think while I acknowledge and admit to my wayward status to others, IC and friends, it still isn't helping me see him as anything but wayward, "the big bad kind" as if there are subsections anywhere but my brain.
My fear anger and hurt may have come back to the surface because I was triggered from him giving me new information recently that he "didn't remember" during disclosure but they mustve always been dormant. I thought I had conquered it, I was wrong. Now in this moment it's just resentment.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
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prissy4lyfe ( member #46938) posted at 8:15 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

I really don't think you have made as much progress as you hoped. You still don't identify as a WS. And you may never. And that's going to be an issue.

You resent him. For not noticing how tired you are, how much you do for you family, how the pregnancies have taken their toll on you mentally, emotionally and physically. Honestly...his desire for more children specifically a boy..I think may speak to you and say "your not good enough". All your sacrifices and it's still not enough..and then he has an affair. Of course he doesn't deserve empathy you already given him enough.

Am I reading that right?

If I am it sounds like you have yet TO OWN your role in the marriage. And your own choice to cheat. Your own choice to not control your fertility. You tap dancing being a martyr.i think it's easy to fall into that mode.
You have step into your ownership and power regarding ALL your choice. You can't pick and choose and hold him accountable to all his.


It's not wrong for him to want more children, it's not wrong doe him to want a son. It is WRONG for him to communicate that to you by words and ACTION. Its also wrong for you not to communicate that by words and actions. You don't want more kids...but are not on birth control and still have sex.

My heart empathizes with you both honestly. I don't know your full story just this post and going solely on this post you guys may no longer be compatible. I know it's scary but you have to explore that as a reality.

posts: 2017   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2015   ·   location: Virginia
id 8697084
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 1:48 AM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Madhatters - Any members that are both a betrayed spouse and a wayward spouse in their current relationship are considered Madhatters on SurvivingInfidelity.com®. Madhatters, in addition to any former wayward spouses, are prohibited from posting in the Just Found Out forum. Madhatters are welcomed to post in the Wayward Side forum, but only from a wayward perspective.

This is a reminder to the madhatters, please post from your WS perspective in this forum.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:48 AM, Saturday, November 6th]

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8697159
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HowCouldSheDoIt ( member #78431) posted at 7:02 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

I'm thankful to have read this post.

The Gottman book and other sources advise the BS against asking, and the WS against answering, any questions on the details of the sex the WS had with the AP. My ex-MC (who was terrible and caused me more trauma) encouraged my wife to stop answering q's about the A, and when I said that it is helpful to hear the details that witch-of-a-MC said "Well she's done answering. No More!"

Now, here is an elegant example where a slipped detail of the WH cumming inside his AP. If Millions would have known that detail from the start, it would not have been a TT and wouldn't have been DD2.

So I disagree with the advice to not answer questions about the details. I think this is a good example why.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 276   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 8:25 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

HCSDI,

Could you please point to the part of the Gottman book that suggests the atonement discussion shouldn't include every detail the betrayed spouse asks for?

I only ask because I've had very good luck with a Gottman trained counselor and their books which are very much in alignment with other advice for affair recovery recommended on this site.

I don't actually have the book (What Makes Love Last) at home since I have lent it out.

From the Gottman web site:

As Dr. Gottman explains in "The Science of Trust" and "What Makes Love Last?", the "Gottman Trust Revival Method" after an affair has 3 phases: atone, attune, and attach. This system for healing is founded in his lab results and clinical experience, which confirm the effectiveness of the model.

As a counselor, the first step is to help couples have an atonement conversation about the affair. The betrayed partner may have a lot of questions that need to be answered. They need the whole, sordid story. The counselor’s job is to facilitate that conversation and provide safety for both partners. In effect, the therapist bridges the gap between the partners by articulating with great precision what the hurt partner is feeling and ensuring that the other fully understands.

The betrayer’s task is to be open and honest, and answer the betrayed partner’s questions in a truthful, forthright manner. It is very important the details of the affair not be glossed over or minimized, otherwise, this fragile relationship will suffer another blow when more details surface at a later date. The betrayer also has the obligation to express remorse and take responsibility for what happened. Any attempts to blame the affair on the "problems in the relationship" will be heard as making excuses for their behavior, or even worse, heard as blaming their partner. That will certainly sabotage the conversation.

The betrayed partner is asked to pose whatever questions might be on their mind. The therapist might need to guide them away from asking detailed questions about sex because those answers might increase their trauma. The betrayed partner will likely want to know why it happened. The "Why?" question is an important one, but is really a Phase 2 question. The Phase 1 questions are more about getting the details of the story, such as when, where, how. The therapist should be aware that the betrayed partner is struggling with PTSD symptoms such as nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and triggers. It is important that the betrayed partner be able to share their feelings, but to do so without attacking their partner. Most people will find that a very difficult task, so the therapist needs to be quick to intervene if the conversation becomes critical or contemptuous. In some cases, several sessions are required to get through this atoning conversation and it’s recommended that the couple refrain from having this conversation at home.

Edit: I've bolded some of the conflicting guidance, which wasn't applicable in my case, so maybe that's how I missed it in practice. I think your counselor may have been over zealous when picking between what is a necessary detail and what only increases trauma without delivering information that changes the ability to forgive.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 8:34 PM, Thursday, November 11th]

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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HowCouldSheDoIt ( member #78431) posted at 10:36 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

I would be glad to.

But understand I agree with you; I thought the Gottman way to handle the affair is the right way. I never got to go through it because even though my horrible MC prescribed the book and we started down the path, she sure didn't adhere to the principles.

My MC was a terrible experience. My take is that the MC wasn't just overzealous, she was a witch who totally identified with my WW feelings of hating to answer any details. I feel the MC took her side, I didn't get any validation from the sessions, and it made things worse because the MC thought I should "yield to win" and so I'm just a few weeks after D-Day and we're talking about her hurt from snow and mice. I never got a turn to talk about the adultery. The MC totally emboldened by WW to stop answering any questions I had.

But that's in the past. The MC made her $595/week for I think 6 weeks, and I came away much, much wiser.

Ok. Back to my comments. I offer two examples. The first is from their book "What Makes Love Last" page 163:

"There is a crucial exception to the tell-all approach. The therapist must guide these discussions so that the cheater does not describe any aspect of the actual sexual activity. Knowing what happened on the other side of the bedroom door can lead the betrayed partner to obsessive rumination that retriggers of exacerbates the posttraumatic stress. My experience in therapeutic work indicates that the therapist must gain the trust of the betrayed partner so that he or she is comfortable with not knowing any of those details."


The other example is this you tube video. It won't let me post a link, but remove the stars and it should work:
h*t*t*p*s*:*//youtu.be/7ZdMI9ZZE2A

It starts around 2:45 in the video, where they caution the client to not ask any questions about the type of sex.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 276   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8698009
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