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Counselor-Don't bring it up

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ptsdrecon posted 2/26/2014 09:12 AM

My W and I have had difficulty discussing the A. She gets defensive and angry and says hurtful things. We agreed to ask our D's counselor for advice as to who we could speak to about our problems. I was hoping to find a safe place for us to communicate about my fears and my W was hoping to find help communicating without anger.

So we asked. What we got was:

1.Don't bring it up. She doesn't want to talk about it. It makes her feel bad, and reminds her of a bad choice
2.I will never get enough answers. By wanting to talk about it I am bringing up the past and I need to close my mouth
3.If I have a bad dream, keep it to myself
4.I will gain nothing by a timeline
5.We have a great family, we are a great couple, move on. Never bring it up again

So, this leaves me feeling alone and isolated. I don't feel safe. I can't talk to my partner about it and work it out.

So I should get my own counselor? I've done that. According to this lady, we should focus on date night and never discuss the A, which happened a long time ago. (DD 2-8-2012)

So when my W asks me, "Are you ok?" I'm supposed to lie? When I can't sleep I'm supposed to say, "Oh, I'm fine." or "My problems are none of your business?"

My W's "Why?" is "I was trying to escape from a painful relationship." That's it. Other than that it's "I don't know."

So I feel like it was not only my fault, but in order to move on I need to shut up. My attempting to communicate is wrong because it hurts W's feelings. It's my fault we aren't intimate because I bring up the A.

Choices. Stay and not feel safe. Leave and know the answer.


Sparkle0504 posted 2/26/2014 09:16 AM

Of course I'm no expert, but sounds to me like she's in need of...err...retraining.

Or simply being sacked.

rachelc posted 2/26/2014 09:18 AM

1.Don't bring it up. She doesn't want to talk about it. It makes her feel bad, and reminds her of a bad choice
2.I will never get enough answers. By wanting to talk about it I am bringing up the past and I need to close my mouth
3.If I have a bad dream, keep it to myself
4.I will gain nothing by a timeline
5.We have a great family, we are a great couple, move on. Never bring it up again

in other words, let your wife off the hook.
I can't believe the plethora of poor advice lately by MC....

sisoon posted 2/26/2014 09:39 AM

Bro, I'm really sorry you're here, and I'm even sorrier that your W isn't stepping up.

What is this C's preparation and experience WRT helping couples heal from infidelity? What's her success rate? Is she a WS herself? - this is basically the result of a survey of people who have recovered from infidelity. There are a number of data points that illustrate the importance of coming clean. Send your W & your D's IC a link to it. Also this: (Sorry, I don't remember which member posted that.)

There's no R unless the WS accepts responsibility for the A. It's hard to say when they do that, but I think it's fair to say that a WS who won't talk about te A and who gets angry when it's brought up has not accepted responsibility.

I hope your W reads one or both of the things above and steps up.

ptsdrecon posted 2/26/2014 10:06 AM

I looked it up. It's called "Goal focused Therapy"

I'm pretty sure my W has accepted that she has a responsibility in regards to the affair. I'm also pretty certain she will accept this counselor's advice and then be upset if I deviate from the course proscribed.

I pulled up dearpeggy a couple of days ago. That resulted in the latest defensive blow up from W, resulting in our question for this therapist.

I think I should just ride this out and see what happens... I don't know what else to do, other than pack my stuff.

Joanh posted 2/26/2014 10:14 AM

ptsdrecon. Ihope you don't mind.

As WW I expect it to be brought up, I expect our relationship is still affected by what I have done, and I am responsible for that part of the healing.

I do agree that if its been used for everything then it may be enough. IE fights over the garbage or who forgot what and then it about the A. At some point we have to discuss the issue not the past

HOWEVER. you do not sound like you have had a true chance to heal and your WW has not given you what you need. I think C are great , however again, My BH works a little different and everyone time to heal take a different road.

If you need a timeline, tell your wife, what you need it for. If you need to talk, tell her. If she can't then either she is not remorseful, or stuck in shame or guilt and needs to work on that in IC, It can get in the way too.

In our circumstance my BH will not going to any counselling, and has said he does not want to talk about it. Yet I do. I know he has bad dreams but will not express them, he will tell me has them though, so atleast I can do is hold him, I can only guess what they are . Yes we have date nights and yes my counsellor has said to try and move forward but never has she told me we shouldn't talk about it.

I know there is a huge conflict in having to explain the why you need to talk about it your wife, reality is she should get that by now. And I would be angry all the time too. Maybe another angle would be to explain, because you never are able totalk when it finally comes out it has built so much its like an explosion and all the resentment and hate comes through. Where as if you could deal with as it happens you might feel more in control?

Sorry if I have overstepped. I am replying as a WW and as a person who really wishes she had made better choices. Maybe let your wife read this , Is she on SI. Even print it out perhaps another WW opnion might help.

I am so sorry you are hurting.

SorrowBhindSmile posted 2/26/2014 10:20 AM

Here's a story.

There once was a woman who had an A. She and her BH followed all that same advice you just got. Fast forward 2 years....that woman sought out and had an A WITH MY HUSBAND!!!! perhaps if she and her BH had worked thru everything (what was her 2nd husband was her 3rd) things might be different now.

IMO, that is really horrible, terrible awful advice from someone who clearly has no clue. In order to have true have to figure out what lead to that path to begin with. You have to dissect your marriage and you as individuals to see what contributing factors there were....and work to change them.

You both have to have a safe place to talk about your fears, questions and needs. If you never bring it up...nothing changes. Everything stays the same.....and then it just happens again.

so sorry you find yourself in this place. I truly hope you find a better counselor that can help you build an environment that promotes open communication, honesty and transparency. Its only with those things in place can true healing begin.

Undefinabl3 posted 2/26/2014 10:22 AM

another fWW here...

1. Get into another MC now.


My W's "Why?" is "I was trying to escape from a painful relationship." That's it. Other than that it's "I don't know."

This is bullshit. Your WW is not trying to help you or heal herself. I fear that her inablity to actually change herself will lead to her "trying to escape from a painful relationship" in the future. Real change needs to happen.

3. You are only a year out - talking and going through it needs to happen. Your WW only wants to sweep this under the rug, but that is not going to fix anything at all.

craig2001 posted 2/26/2014 10:24 AM

I would say get another therapist or counselor as fast as you can. You arenít supposed to talk about it because it reminds your wife of the wrongs she did, to that I say TS. How easy it is to simply forget, you are the one also hurting inside. You donít know the answers to your questions that changed your life completely. And now you are being told to not bring it up. That is total nonsense.

This is far too easy for your wife; she made the choice and knew it would hurt you. Sugar coat the affair is the same as sweeping it under the rug, which is an invitation to do it all over again. If your wife cannot discuss this like an adult and with total honesty and without having these types of consequences, than it would be far easier for her to do this again.

That being said, I donít think you should make snide comments to your wife all the time to make her feel low, but that is not the same as you needing to talk to her about this.

I have heard the need for the BS to discuss this many times compared to people who survived a devastating tornado. They need to talk about the terrible things that happened.

And in an affair for the BS, it is much worse than that. At least in a tornado, you know what the hell happened and the entire truth. In an affair, the BS is sitting wondering about everything under the sun.

Being told not to bring it up is total nonsense. If your wife cannot discuss this with you without her making defensive, angry cut down remarks, then you and her need to certainly find a therapist that understand the BS point of view and hurt.

ptsdrecon posted 2/26/2014 10:26 AM


I appreciate ANY input. Yours is quite welcome! I even accept 2x4's! (Yesterday felt like one..)

We went in seeking a mediator, a communications guide, someone who was on both sides. I'm not saying we didn't get that, but it wasn't what I needed.

I've worn myself out trying to explain my needs to my W. I'm tired, just tired.

I feel, (FEEL) like the only one working on the relationship. W doesn't read, doesn't IC, doesn't talk to me about her feelings. Intimacy sucks on every level. We can talk about the weather, the kids, and anything superficial, but we can't talk honestly and safely about us.

I get that it's a slow boat to China, but the last conversation we had about the physical intimacy in the A, she told me that while they were together several times, neither of them ever had an orgasm. I told her I was throwing the bullshit flag and she flipped out. We have never gone back to that subject. It's her inability to speak calmly and factually that causes me to go into a downward spiral. Then she gets angry and defensive. (And says nice things like, "If I was fucking you every night we wouldn't be having these conversations. It all comes down to my libido.") I understand defensive response, but hey, that hurts. Obviously that keeps me from feeling like trying to be intimate.

Just venting... This would be the only place to vent!

craig2001 posted 2/26/2014 10:39 AM

I have been there myself, trying to ask legitimate questions and ended up getting ridiculous answers.

About the sex question, well any man would ask, WHY didn't he. Why didn't this guy have an orgasm, was something wrong with him. That is a very logical and common sense question. What guy would not have one?

As for your wife, I think it is completely believable that she did not have an orgasm.

whattheh posted 2/26/2014 10:55 AM

Whenever I hear counselors spew the philosophy of "never bring it up" it makes me think they themselves have been unfaithful. Why does the MC have so much more empathy for your unfaithful spouse than you the betrayed. The other thing that comes to mind is this failed strategy of the MC's will keep you in counselling longer which means more dollars for the MC.

Sounds like you should find an MC with more experience with infidelity and well who's smarter. For one thing timelines are extremely important to the healing process for both. Also enabling and supporting your wife in rugsweeping seems odd. Your wife will also benefit greatly in being encouraged to face her demons and bear witness to your pain.

[This message edited by whattheh at 10:59 AM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

atsenaotie posted 2/26/2014 10:55 AM


1.Don't bring it up. She doesn't want to talk about it. It makes her feel bad, and reminds her of a bad choice
2.I will never get enough answers. By wanting to talk about it I am bringing up the past and I need to close my mouth
3.If I have a bad dream, keep it to myself
4.I will gain nothing by a timeline
5.We have a great family, we are a great couple, move on. Never bring it up again

Statement #1:
FWW did not want to talk about it either for the first year or more after dday. Our IC/MC, who I have a great deal of faith in, told her to expect questions. He told us that I had the right to ask any question I wanted, and FWW had the right to answer or not as she wanted. That said, it was also clear that I was not going to stay and try to R with a WS who was not willing to face what she did by telling me, and I was not going to be in a M with this huge issue being held and hidden by FWW.

Statement #2:
You will never get enough answers. This is partially true. I thought if I asked enough questions and got enough answers that somehow I would begin to understand why she had her A, lied, and cheated. That answer was never there. Ultimately I did get enough answers. I do not know everything, but I know enough. I know who FWW had sex with, where they had sex, how it was arranged. I know, within an order of magnitude, how many times they had sex. I know, in general, the dynamics of their relationships, who said what to whom and why. I know who knew about the A.

Statement #3:
I do not put much stock in dreams, so no strong feelings on this.

Statement #4:
I got a 4 page timeline about 7 months after dday. It was not complete (see statement #2 above), but it had enough. Most important, there was information in the timeline I would never have thought to ask about. While it hurt deeply for a few weeks and took me back to dday, it was once of the real steps in my healing and eventually our R.

Statement #5:
Yea, as long as you ignore the lack of emotional intimacy and honesty between your WW and you right now.

As time as gone on and FWW has worked on her A-related crap, she is now the one most likely to bring up her A and talk about it. I am pretty well healed and at acceptance, but FWW is still healing. She still needs to talk things through, just as I did a couple of years ago, to process them.

There was never any just moving on for us. FWW had to identify, own, and then work to address the FOO and personality issues that facilitated her starting and then sustaining her affairs. Her misperceptions about the M and me had to be addressed before we could begin to work together as co-equals on the M. I had to get to the point of acceptance and mostly healed before I could accept her as a co-equal.

What worked for me? I had an IC to help process my emotions, to help with clarifying what I wanted a future relationship to look like. I detached from FWW, even moving out of the house for a while. I expanded my social networks. I went back to hobbies and activities I gave up when I got M. I focused on my career and re-created it into a better paying and much more rewarding career. I took steps to reduce debt and increase cash flow in case D became the option. I practiced confrontation with FWW and communicating my needs and expectations. I did all of this for 3-4 years while FWW worked on her stuff and herself. We did some MC off and on in this time, but I worked on fixing me while watching to see what FWW did.

Honesty and intimacy (and sex) have been the last things to come from FWW's IC and other work. Our M has been much better than pre-dday for years, but it is only in the last 6 months or so we have really begun an authentic relationship, and the work continues.

I've worn myself out trying to explain my needs to my W. I'm tired, just tired.

So stop. Spend the next 6 - 12 months working on the things to improve and heal you like I described above. At the end of the 6 - 12 months look at where your WW is and where she is headed with her own life and then decide if you want her to be a part of yours or not. The 180 can be your friend. I often employed a "180-Lite" when FWW got into a fuss or upset with me, with her work, whatever. The more open, honest, and desiring of time with me that she was, the more connected I would be with her. The more she withdrew or got pissy, the more I detached and focused back to my life and the kids.

If you have not, try reading Not Just Friends by Glass and Sexual Detours by Hines. Invite your WW to read them too and to discuss with you how they apply to her A and your M. If she is not willing to do such a simple thing as this, there is not much hope she can accomplish the hard work to R.

ETA: MC was not particularly successful for us until FWW had begun to work on her issues. She had(s) a problem with regulating her emotions, she believed she was happy or angry because people made her happy or angry; she was unable to open up and be emotionally intimate and honest. In the early months we spent a lot of MC time talking about issues that only existed in her head. Identifying and owning her FOO and personality things was really prerequisites for being able to work with me on the M. YMMV, but that was our reality.

[This message edited by atsenaotie at 11:03 AM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

somethingremorse posted 2/26/2014 10:58 AM

As a WH who is just a few months in, I wanted to give a little different perspective. When we started MC, we spent 75% of the time talking about how to strengthen the M, and 25% about the A. It's just kind of the way our conversations went. Now after a couple of months, it's 75% the A, 25% our M moving forward.

I was nervous that we didn't talk enough about the A. Now I think the MC did us, in our very individual dynamic, a favor. BW needed to see the possibility of a marriage it the future. Plus, she hadn't come to grips with the post DDay emotions. Finally, I get the feeling that MC just didn't know us very well to safely mediate those kinds of discussions.

That being said, BW has always been free to bring up whatever she wants, and our MC has never said don't bring it up. So now, she brings it up and we talk about it. MC is harder now, but I think it's good.

SpotlessMind posted 2/26/2014 11:15 AM

This is so hard, and I'm sorry for your pain.

I think your MC is not working for you. It sounds like he is promoting rug-sweeping. That's a great tactic if you'd like to experience a repeat A in the future.

Get a new MC. If you WW won't agree, then at least find yourself a new IC.

You can't control her behavior, can't make her talk if she doesn't want to. What you can do is tell her what YOU need to remain in the relationship. And one of those needs can be "answering questions about the A."

If she struggles, what about having a designated question session every week? That way, you aren't springing things on her, which could lead to a defensive reaction.

Also, for optimal results, try to remain calm. No harsh starts ups to conversations about the A---trust me, I know from experience that those backfire. Create a safe environment for truth telling--which means, you feel how you feel when she shares, but you control your reactions to how you feel. If you punish her for telling the truth or react in a really negative way, chances are that she's less likely to open up next time. I know it doesn't seem fair, but for many, it's reality.

ptsdrecon posted 2/26/2014 11:51 AM

Thanks to all of you for helping! I am listening and reading, and will probably read this thread again. (and again.)

I have read every affair book you can imagine. I am a voracious reader, and have a hyper vigilant personality by nature of FOO issues. (I'm working on that!)

I accept that her choices are hers. I think there is a part of me that trusted her completely and never believed her capable. (I know, I know..) Feeling played and manipulated and feeling like a fool is probably at the root of my issue. Telling me lies, and then telling them again, such as the orgasm discussion, doesn't make me feel as though she is truthful now. Ok, you lied. Ok, you had an affair. This is not new news. I understand, I can forgive. I can't forget, and I struggle forgiving a lie that hasn't been corrected.

She came home for lunch and we talked about the weather, the kids, and school stuff. Then she said, "I know you are angry with me. I could feel your pain yesterday." I told her, "I'm not angry with you. I wasn't angry with you when we went into the meeting. I'm not angry now. Yes, I have pain. I can deal with it myself. I don't want to talk about it." She said, "You're just doing that to pay me back." I said, "No, if this is the way we are going to handle it, ok." Then we talked about books and kids and other happy stuff.

I'm just taking some time for me. I can heal myself. I currently don't see the our relationship getting any closer without trust and honest, loving communication. Yes, I understand that I am shutting her out. There is a part of me that says, "I can do that too."

I'm done with trying to work on the relationship by myself. I can be patient, loving, honest and forgiving. I've spent two years doing it. I love her and my family and I can suck it up. Can I trust her? How would I know? We still have lies that are out there and haven't been updated.

I don't believe the guy never had an orgasm. She used the morning after pill for Pete's sake. So I get to wait around to find out if the woman I love and trusted before can be honest and trustworthy. Or wait until she finds another exciting adventure to make her feel worthwhile, ignoring the loving husband sitting there
waiting. I don't rant and scream. Snide comments and sarcasm were a part of our communication before and during the affair. Now I know where part of that came from. I don't get angry. Heck, I'm not safe to get angry.

Woo saaaa....

traditoperanni posted 2/26/2014 13:07 PM

Are you kidding? Get a new MC. Total rugsweeping. How are you suppose to heal if you can't talk about it or ask questions.
Demand timeline. If she is uncomfortable-too bad. She just does not want to face what she has done to you and your M.
You play -you pay. You need to find another MC asap, this one is poison. Maybe she was/is a WS and this is how she handled herbad behavior. You never know.
You definitely need someone to listen to both of you and help you both begin to communicate with each other. If you feel uncomfortable in your MC sessions and you are not able to
discuss your feelings- there is something very wrong-you might as well just send the check and stay home.
You need to take control and let your WW know that this will need to be done where you are comfortable and you get your questions answered, timeline etc. And that you are NOT OKAY and will not be okay until you get some answers.
I use to feel tha way - that I would upset my wh and make him uncomfortable and then I kicked myself and said "Really?"
Was he uncomfortable when he was lying to me for years? So,
too bad - it's time to face the music.
And that's the attitude I have had since. It works for me.
Please find another MC that will work with the both of you. Make sure you let them know right away what you expect from their sessions.

ptsdrecon posted 2/28/2014 08:04 AM

W and I had a good talk yesterday. :) She even read this entire thread. She got a little upset when we were talking, but she was great!

We were able to talk about so many things. Really talk. Like the old days talk.

I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to post such thorough replies to these particular posts. When she hit points she didn't agree with, (My posts) she was able to say, "We talked about this" and I was able to do two things in particular:

1. Ask for clarification without feeling attacked

2. Express that this series of posts was me being honest and expressing my feelings in a safe environment and I was sharing myself and my thoughts with her.

The FEELING of her accepting my feelings without anger is like a weight being lifted.

We were able to talk about a lot of things in a constructive way.

It was a good day. Thank you all for helping us!

sisoon posted 2/28/2014 11:16 AM

That's really great!

A couple of things for you and your W to consider:

1) Reasons for asking the same question multiple times:

the answer seems so horrendous that it can't be taken all in at once.

checking for truth - the same answer multiple times indicates truth

we listen for different aspects of the answer each time

2) The benefits of answering include

each truthful answer builds trust

the answers often uncover feelings that need to be processed

the answers help identify issues that need to be resolved.

My point is that answering questions isn't a punishment for a remorseful WS - it's a really useful part of the process of R.

spond posted 2/28/2014 11:47 AM

That is an awesome step!

You might consider reading the following book.(I would get the book, and not the audio book as I did, because there are exercises to do, and it's easier that way.) This will help you process the pain of the affair and moving past it.

Living and Loving after Betrayal: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity, and Chronic Resentment
by Steven Stosny

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