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What to talk about in MC

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LearningToFly posted 6/27/2013 23:16 PM

In March and beginning of April I learned the reason why my h had been so emotionally distant from me. He was having an EA with a highschool girlfriend. At first he said he wanted to move out to think, then he decided he wanted to work on our marriage. I have asked for him to stop emailing her, to write a NC letter, to take her off FB, and to give me his passwords. With every one of those things he has protested and acted like I was asking too much. He did end up doing them but the way he protested gave me no comfort and I had to fight my usual tendency of feeling guilty for asking for something from him. He seems to think that since he knows he isn't cheating anymore, I should believe him and stop worrying about it.

He is putting out effort now. Its not as much as I would like and he is still not taking complete responsibility for what he did. My IC says to let him know what he is doing right and not to pick apart his efforts. (which is so hard for me not to since its so far from what I want right now.)

The question I have today is that we started with a new MC last week. I have talked to my IC and she thinks that the new counselors approach sounds like a good one for us. She hasn't met my H, she just knows him from what I have told her.

My H went to his IC also. This C use to be our MC AND my H's IC. Now he is going to work with just H. They are going through the emails that were sent during the affair. They went through the ones when the affair just started. My H told me that the C said they didn't look too bad but were definitely too much. (Just wait until he sees notebooks full for every month that are still to come). He also told my H that when we go to MC we need to focus on the atmosphere that led to the affair not the affair itself. That should be set aside. I don't think that I can move forward unless we can talk about everything in our marriage without avoiding elephants in the room. My H could be saying this because he wanted to hear that we shouldn't talk about it. He does tend to hear what he wants.

I had been thinking that maybe he was serious about working things out. I do think he is serious. I just don't think he wants to acknowledge that it is going to be a lot of hard work and that he is going to have to pull his own weight. It doesnt help me when he goes to his default of defensiveness and claiming bad communication. (he does this a lot even though he is the one who is out of control much of the time in our conversations). I believe if anything I did led to his cheating, it was that I was too deep in grief over the death of my younger brother and his son, my own sons drug addiction and expulsion from High school, my daughters life changing brain injury, and my other daughters coping by drinking. I usually put out so much effort to take care of my H and I just couldn't do it. I could barely breathe during some of the stuff that was happening. Yet, my husband just saw that his needs weren't' getting met, someone came along willing to meet them, and the rest is history.

I have invested 30 years of my life into this man and our family. I can't just throw it away. He isn't in contact with OW now but he is still selfish and prideful. I am really mad right now so maybe I'm just venting. Thanks for listening.

TheAgonyOfIt posted 6/28/2013 03:19 AM

Hi..its 4am and im trying to sleep but just saw your post and wanted to respond

Most MCs see affair as the symptom of other things which are actually much more important to resolve in R. Besides if the MC spends too much time on the affair,especially initially when wayward are foggy,defensive etc, its quite counterproductive to true goals.

catlover50 posted 6/28/2013 06:01 AM

I agree there tend to be deeper issues, but they often are the WSs. He needs to completely own his actions and, IMO, the MC should insist that he do that. Cheating is never the proper response to marital problems. And it sounds as if you needed a lot of support from him!

We actually did not discuss the A a lot in MC, but did discuss my H's underlying issues and how he was helping me heal. He said straight out to the MC that I was a fantastic wife and was happy with the M and it had nothing to do with me, so we dispensed with blame shifting right off. We did talk about ways for me to move forward, but our MC said repeatedly that it would be there for years and would come up again and again and that the roller coaster was normal.

Keep trying until you feel that you have a MC that understands.

Good luck.

LearningToFly posted 6/28/2013 15:20 PM

I really wanted his support during the past 5 years, first with my health problems (going blind with a brain tumor), then with losing my brother, our kids rebellion, and my sisters illness and death. He told his AP that he had considered divorce for the past 5 years. In the last 3 he has just been miserable. It appears that he started thinking about D when I had brain surgery and it was on low until our kids rebelled and we had the family deaths. I know I was fighting to just get out of bed each day and do what needed to be done. I haven't been "fun" but I have made sure that I was functional. I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and die. So he jumped at the chance to be with someone who built him up, joked around, and admired him. His emotional support has never been a strong point but it was completely gone for at least a year before I found out what he was doing.

His IC did tell him he took the easy way out. He also sees the communication problems we had before the A. He has been trying to work with those things. I feel like I have grown a lot but fail often because I am so angry, hurt, and sad. My H is quick to point out where I mess up in communication but he is not even able to see what he is doing.

The new MC seems like she might focus on something different. She does something called Attachment Therapy. Even my H says I am the "connecter" in our family. It is hard to be with someone who doesn't care to connect when its such a strong part of who you are. i always believed that Marriage was for best friends and lovers facing the world together. He seems to believe that it is important to be "independent of the other person" That led to our relationship being an empty shell for me and for him to actually try to connect with someone else during an affair. I think that he will wake up, it could help us. I know I need to continue to practice the things I've learned about communication. He needs to be willing to open up and start putting his "words" and what is "in his heart" into action because they sure don't match right now.

Thank you for the different look at why his IC may have told him to focus on the atmosphere before the affair. I think he blames me for this because I wasn't meeting his needs. He wasn't there for me either and I was trying to survive but he doesn't seem to see that part. I am hoping this wont be a finger pointing "you need to change more before I can love you" game with him again. I honestly do feel that he WILL have to change and take responsibility for his behavior and attitudes if we are to have a chance of a safe and healthy marriage.

catlover50 posted 6/28/2013 15:54 PM

I would recommend a book called "Hold Me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson.
She talks about how critical the emotional bond is between spouses, and the chase/ retreat pattern that we can get into. One point I took from it is how we need to feel safe in our M in our spouses love. I know I often did not before, but I do now. I suspect you do not at this time, and that's not a good feeling.

Lucky posted 6/28/2013 16:11 PM

He also told my H that when we go to MC we need to focus on the atmosphere that led to the affair not the affair itself. That should be set aside.

I agree with the MC. You both need to learn what happened and why. Why he made the choices he did. It can also lead to new coping skills for both of you. Since you have so many many issues with family and kids he can't just bail on you every time there is a disaster. And with kids who are drug/alcohol dependant you will have more crises happen down the road. Been there, done that.


I don't think that I can move forward unless we can talk about everything in our marriage without avoiding elephants in the room

You can't move forward anyways until you get to the root of the real problems happening with both of you.

You will eventually talk about the A. Probably not as soon as you would like - the A is really a very small part of the problem in your marriage and coping skills.

LearningToFly posted 6/28/2013 16:24 PM


This is the book she told us to buy when we met her this week! I have begun to read it and it is all about us.

The emotional connection is so important to me. When we got married, I thought my husband would slow down and connect, but he has found something or another to distance from me throughout our marriage. i have been so lonely and depressed because of this.

To him, he has stated that his parents had no emotional connection so when he married me, he wasn't even thinking about it. When I have brought it up over the years he has gotten defensive and angry. Yet, the thing he constantly praised his OW about was their ability to emotionally connect. I can see his foggy brain in his emails but he really loved feeling connected to her. (Which was devastating to me since I was his wife and he constantly pushed me away from connection).

Even after our first meeting with her this week, when I asked him how he feels about learning to share an emotional connection with me, he started saying he didn't want to have to give up himself, his happy go lucky personality, or his routines. I am not asking him to give these up. I don't understand why he is so defensive about them. I do want him to be honest with me and especially himself (I think he lies to himself before he lies to me), to put me as a top priority in his life (my IC says I should ask to be first after God but I would at least like to be in the top 3), and I want him to try to understand me by listening when I talk to him instead of pointing out every "communication rule" I break (I think this is a defense mechanism for him). I am having a hard time with him wanting to go to a concert of his favorite band but there are circumstances surrounding that desire that triggers me.

I'm excited to see that you thought the book helped. We go to our next appointment on Tuesday. Maybe this will really help us. I hope so.

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