[This message edited by shatteredapart at 11:03 AM, January 11th (Saturday)]
1. The counselor has to be good, and have a good understanding of how to help people going through whatever their situation is, so in this case one that has tons of experience dealing with infidelity.
2. Participant have to be willing to work on themselves and acknowledge the fact that they are broken, and need guidance in healing things.
3. The counselor and individuals all have to work together to come to a point of "being independently able to heal". Meaning these folks earn their living by seeing you again and again and again....Some really don't urge you to fledge from the nest.
Can it be done without therapy you bet. It takes hard work from both of you. Your Spouse has to acknowledge that he made the choices he did because he is broken, and he has to do the work to figure out what is broken, and why, and from there to do the work to fix it.
We personally attended 3 MC sessions that were not really productive since H was breaking NC multiple times still. I also saw and IC one time. IT was silly to me, I knew what I had to do, I had to heal, find my own level of happiness without him, not find my happiness through him, I had to make myself strong enough and happy enough to survive with or without him. So quit talking about it and just do it was my motto.
We both read a fair amount to foster our healing. For us as a couple 7 principles was a big one, for me codependent no more. For him, it was more on books about self worth, and acceptance of your current situation.
Hey it worked for us, but that was because we both did the work, and he was ultimately remorseful, eventually (read profile for more on that).
If you live near a university you can contact them as well for students needing to work on their skills as therapist, this is usually offered at a deeply discounted price. If not then look into support groups as well.
I never had the chance to R, but I've been hanging around SI a long time and I've learned a lot.
An analogy you can use is that a marriage is a patient being held up by 2 crutches. But both the crutches are broken. One by whatever caused him (or her) to stray, one by the damage from the A.
Before you can fix the marriage, you have to fix the people who make up the marriage (Patch the crutches).
After you (and your WS) have achieved that, you can address the broader marriage issues. And I'm pretty sure there are always broader marriage issues; that's just the reality of 2 people living together. Add in the history of infidelity, and you need to learn how to deal with the whole package. MC might help there.
So I started reading books recommended by friends I know who are BS, and some of the material on here, etc. It's helped me more than IC in my opinion.
My WW is trying other means, and far as I'm concerned it's her business how she heals, as long as she does and does it on the double. There is one book I'm insisting we go through together as a requirement for R (Relationship Rescue).
I think a WS is a dead-beat parent anyway for stepping out on their kids to satisfy some delusional idea of how things are between them and some coward OP. They put their emotions and sex drive for some superficial relationship cloaked as something real as a means to fill a void their faithful BS supposedly isn't doing.
But hey, I only support my wife, our kids, give her my heart and love, encourage her to pursue her dreams (except being WW), and would protect her with my life if somebody broke into our house. Unfortunately I'm not perfect, so that's where the coward comes in who writes love emails and is pretty good at solving a Rubiks cube. Who'd think that's what a woman really wants in a man?
If I was looking for maximum $ value, I'd spend it on the WS getting IC; you can't effectively right and bail out a boat if one of the two people in it is hellbent on drilling holes through the hull (with affairs or other damaging behavior).
Not Just Friends should be mandatory reading, IMO.
If your WS expects it all to magically go away, or for you to do all the heavy lifting in regard to healing, he may as well be on the pipe. It just won't happen. HE created the damage, HIS behavior precipitated the crisis. HE has to shoulder the yoke and carry the yeoman's load on the healing....and surprise, surprise (in the immortal words of Gomer Pyle...), it's NOT easy, it's NOT quick, and it's NOT a linear improvement...under the best of circumstances.
Ultimately, the biggest part of therapy comes from "audience participation", so in that regard it most definitely is do-able w/o an actual therapist....but it takes both parties to be actively engaged in information-seeking and working on not only repair but also getting to the root of the relationship and personal dynamics that preceded the current issue.
I am NOT saying that it does not work or that one should not attend sessions; I am only saying that some WS will go to any lengths to get the BS off their back and they will do anything just to shut them up.
Dr. Huizenga, a leading marriage counselor, recommends against therapy for the reasons I stated. When I first read his views I thought he was nuts esp. since he makes his living by helping couples. But after 4 years reading posts on SI and other sites and seeing what posters say about their spouses attending them, I do tend to agree with the Dr. And as the Dr. says, once the WS attends a few sessions the moment he/she stops going, his/her excuse is: " I told you it is not going to work."
Couples do need to heal and certainly there are good and bad counselors out there, but both MUST truly want to do attend. If one spouse drags the other to therapy for whatever reason, then it is a losing battle..
The bottom line is: do whatever you think is good for you and the two of you. Healing can happen without counselors as other posters said, but it is harder and takes more time.
Good luck to you.
...but WH felt he was being attacked...
...He felt it was all negative.
He originally wanted us to "fix it ourselves.
He spoke about looking into online help/counseling.
and am attempting to have him commit to reading them too. He has always hated reading.
he would rather never talk about it again like most WS
Look – We can make all sorts of suggestions for alternative treatments. But as long as your husband does not see:
a) The infidelity was caused by him and him alone. You don’t need to “fix” anything in yourself to deal with the infidelity. YES – granted you two probably need to make changes in the marriage to cope with the fallout and to improve the marriage but HE needs to “fix” whatever made him think having an affair was a neat idea.
b) Being attacked, all negative… Well… MC does that… MC isn’t like taking an antibiotic. Unfortunately there isn’t a “never cheat again” pill followed by a “great husband” pill. The MC is like an umpire at a hockey match. The players have to agree to some base rules (the marriage) and the umpire tells them off if they break the rules and explains any misunderstandings. If however the players decide to punch it out and ignore the umpire… Well there is little the umpire can do. Sometimes MC’s will gradually phase into the real issues; spend 2-3 sessions getting everyone comfy and safe-feeling before lurching into the real issues. However that costs money.
c) “looking into online”, you “attempting”, him not wanting to read… Look – if he was there googling for the ideal solution then I would take a milder tone. But he isn’t… He’s all talk and no action. I guess you would get better results beating him over the head with a book if he isn’t willing to make the effort.
So… what would I suggest?
Well… You already have suggestions on how to get support. Look at your local church. Very many of them offer guidance. But then… I guess WH will tell you that he’s not into religion or that he doesn’t agree with that branch or whatever... Many localities provide family guidance… Look for local or online support groups. Look around at your local community; is there anyone you know that would accept a payment plan? How about Retrouvaille (www. Retrouvaille.org)? I think it still might be a little early for you but it only costs what you can contribute.
But then… Anything we suggest is a waste of time UNTIL and UNLESS your WH is willing to change. You have to get him to that point before you will see ANY improvement.
How? Well… are you willing to accept living like this? A divorce will cost immensely more than MC. You have to be willing to NOT accept what he’s offering and willing to move on from the marriage rather than accept his tid-bits.
Do this simple test: Find ONE book that you think might help the situation. Get that book. Suggest you and husband now spend 2 hours every Saturday morning (or Monday evening or whatever time you select) reading this book together and doing the exercises. Then see if he participates. If not then it’s up to you to put on the pressure. He has to realize that he stands to lose a lot more by being a stubborn ass than he’s “gaining” by ignoring the problems he brought home.