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How to know you have the right MC?

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notanavrageangel posted 7/31/2014 19:41 PM

WH and I have just had our second MC session (and he has also had his first IC session since DDAY). I have a question, how do you know you have the right MC that will help you heal? Will healing for me come mostly from IC rather than MC? Is MC meant to just work on rebuilding communication and trust with each other rather than revisit the A?

WH and I have been doing a lot of self work over the past few weeks and reading Not Just Friends and How to help your spouse heal from your affair... maybe our MC is right to focus mostly on communication skills and rebuilding goodwill in our marriage, rather than focusing on A.

What was MC like for you in the beginning?

BtraydWife posted 7/31/2014 23:28 PM

Typically MCs don't address or handle the affair. And that's one if the reasons why MC so soon after dday isn't the best idea.

You need support for you and your position in your marriage. Doing work on the relationship and somehow NOT including the affair is out of balance and can damage a BS. It's like going to the hospital for a paper cut on one arm while not acknowledging or addressing that the other arm was ripped completely off. You're going to bleed out and die from that. Ripped off arm? Who cares? Thank goodness we got that paper cut fixed up though.

For your original question on if this is the right MC for you-that takes time. If you start to feel upset about what does and doesn't go on in your sessions then it might be time to find another.

Again, I believe you both should be in IC right now. He needs to get healthier mentally before you can be partners in MC and you need help processing all this pain from the affair. That's why you signed up for MC in the first place isn't it? Yeah but guess what, it pretty typical that they don't address it like you hoped would happen.

Wait until your MC starts telling you that you aren't being fair to your WH or that you should trust him more than you do. MC assumes your on a level playing field and right now you are not.

iwillNOT posted 8/1/2014 02:33 AM

I am not sure it is correct to say that "typically", MC's don't address the affair. I would think the bad ones don't address the affair. Ours spent the first couple sessions getting history and getting a feel for us, but even so it was clear from the get-go that the affair was the immediate issue, and that is indeed how it has played out. She had us read After the Affair and her approach lines up with the philosophy of the book. After 10 months of working mainly on the affair related pain, the anger and the what/when/why of it all, we are working more and more on our marriage dynamics, building our relationship, etc. she has been a fantastic guide, interpretor and facilitator. She has called both of us out, has managed to be very clear about my husbands actions causing this damage and making sure he sees it yet not alienating him. We are so lucky to have found her. I wish you the same good fortune - there are good ones out there!

jjsr posted 8/1/2014 06:42 AM

Our MC did address fwh ONS and his EA. He also addressed FOO issues and other non infidelity issues that were in our marriage long before the ONS and Ea. We were in MC for 2 and a half years.
I knew we had the right MC when he held us BOTH accountable for the issues in our marriage.

steadychevy posted 8/1/2014 08:30 AM

The IC that I went to immediately after DDay 1 said after having met with him several times that he did not think we needed marriage counselling because MC dealt mostly with communication and he thought we had good communication. He does mostly marriage counselling. I needed IC because I was suicidal. It took my WW quite a while start IC and she is on her third one now. I wanted to do considerable IC before MC. My IC only had my side of the story. Maybe hers would have had a different opinion.

Even though my IC indicated he didn't think we needed MC I think we do and we do because of adultery and what it has done to our relationship. I do not think we are ready for that yet because of the stage my WW is at with her IC, FOO, CSA, abandonment (physical and emotional), rape. Too many things to deal with and, IMO, need to be dealt with before MC.

I have also been somewhat concerned about finding a good MC. It seems hit and miss. I am heartened by the comments by iwillNOT and jjsr that there are MCs out there who will deal with the issues that I think are important. The comments by BtrayedWife are spot on.

Arden posted 8/1/2014 09:59 AM

Our first MC was not a good fit. I actually felt worse leaving our sessions than better. Though we had specifically told him that we were there because of the affair, he would not address it, or "us" at all, only my WBF's addiction and FOO issues. He rarely spoke directly to me. I initially felt guilty because I knew these were important, but still we needed something more. If he did speak to me, I would bring up the affair and he told me that I just needed to make a decision about whether I could trust him or not. I took this as "you just need to suck it up and figure it out yourself." Needless to say, we began looking for another counselor.

We were much more selective the second time around. The next MC was an experienced marriage and family counselor who was writing his dissertation on forgiveness after an affair. Though we too mainly focus on communication and trust building, he is much more respectful of my feelings and does not avoid the subject if I bring it up.

I think that I expected MC to be a quick fix, or to give me the satisfaction of knowing the MC is on my side and allow me to vent. These were not realistic expectations. I would recommend journaling, or speaking to someone other than your WH before the sessions, and try to identify specific issues to bring up in MC. If you go to a doctor and tell them "it just hurts" they likely will not know how to help you. You should have a say too in what types of things you discuss, but keep in mind they generally have a plan they follow already in place and generally see the affair as a symptom to a larger problem. Make sure it is someone you feel comfortable talking to (this might not happen in the first session), and that they are respectful to you and your feelings. I like to ask for "homework" in between sessions to keep us on track.

sudra posted 8/1/2014 10:06 AM

Our MC absolutely addressed the affair.

He told my husband that we had to heal me from the affair before we could ever begin to work on anything else. He told him he had to answer all my questions. He gently guided my husband through realizing all of his wrong foggy thinking and helped me to deal with the affair. We would never have made it this far without him guiding us through this minefield.

He mediated our conversations about he affair weekly for the better part of three years. We are just last week four years out and have started addressing some marital issues just this year.

I do hear differently here that MC is for later and I think that is wrong. Someone needs to guide a couple through dealing with the affair. If the MC isn't willing or able to do that, find one who is.

unfound posted 8/1/2014 10:07 AM

A good MC (especially after an affair) will help you with whatever issues are going on in your M, and also be able to triage which issues should be addressed first as well as concurrently in order to heal the M.

not an easy task.

We did IC (specializing in specific FOO) for Mr. Unfound, and a different MC for the both of us who acted as my IC as well.

What made it work, imo, was that both IC's had our permission and encouragement to communicate with each other (at same office), as well as allowing me to attend "update" visits with Mr Unfounds IC. It kept us all on the same page, even though at times we were working on vastly different things individually, while at the same time bringing us together on the M issues and how our individual issues contributed to it. kind of a checks and balances if you will, as well as accountability for both of us.

a good MC will be one that "fits" with you and your H. one that doesn't solve your issues, but helps you develop tools to solve them yourself, and calling either of you on your shit. During our second visit (the first was before dday), our MC said "I have to ask you if you feel suicidal.. I can tell already you feel homicidal"... a good fit for me .

His IC helped with his FOO crap in the past and how it affected his present (actions), and my IC/MC helped me with my, at the time, dealing with the after effects of the A. during our MC time, we brought it all together and how we could heal together. kind of like mixing your dried ingredients in one bowl and wet ones in another, then bringing them together to try to make a cake.

If your goal with MC is to deal with the affair first in conjunction with communication and rebuilding good will, then that's what they should address. The right MC won't dismiss any issue/feeling/situation you might have.

BtraydWife posted 8/1/2014 10:16 AM

I'm sorry for the generalization. There have been thread after thread about people in MC not addressing the affair at all. I'd say we had a good MC, but he didn't address the affair because the affair isn't a marriage problem, it's a personal one. We touched on it and had a book assignment but he didn't hold WH accountable they way I needed someone to. It seemed like the therapist was a way to have a professional assist him in gas lighting and rugsweeping.

It's a big part of the reason many people advise against MC this early.

Maybe what you need to do then is to call around and ask to briefly talk to a potential therapist. Ask how they'd handle the affair and the fallout from it. Then you can decide if that will fit your needs. It's exhausting to start over with therapists so the calls will find out before you commit to one.

Badhurt posted 8/1/2014 10:25 AM


Any MC that refuses to address the affair needs to be fired asap. This MC therapy in NOT an exact science. it is TOTALLY subjective, not measureable or quantitative. if you hire ten difference therapists and tell them the exact same things, you will not get the exact same advice.

You may own 50% of marriage, but your H owns 100% of the affair. Your MC needs to make sure your H understands that and does not allow or stand for rug sweeping or blame shifting.

An example of how idiotic some of these therapists can be, there is a thread here where the WW had a friend who was a MC therapist certified who herself was using Ashley Madison to fuck other men, and recommended it to the wife of the BS. That has resulted in a divorce.

if you are not comfortable as the BS find a new therapist no matter how many you go through.

bionicgal posted 8/1/2014 10:26 AM

A good MC looks at your marriage as a system, helps with communication, working together, and dealing with stresses. An affair is a big stressor in a marriage, so of course they deal with it. Sometimes people wish they dealt exclusively with it, but that isn't really effective or reasonable.

MC has been a godsend for us. We have gone since the week of dday. Some people swear IC is a must first, but I don't know how we'd have gotten through this without having support for the marriage as well. Our MC has helped us see the affair as a bad chapter in an otherwise good, and even improving, book. It is great to have a cheerleader in your corner, and someone to kick your butt when you need it as well.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 10:28 AM, August 1st (Friday)]

notanavrageangel posted 8/1/2014 11:35 AM

Thank you everyone for your replies! I know that I am a "fixer" and like to solve problems as quick as possible, but I also know this healing will not be overnight. Its a tough pill to swallow, but I definitely do not was to rug sweep. My WH IC advised that I should seek IC myself because I have FOO issues (was abandoned by my father when I was in 6th grade, then he came back into my life a few years later, only to move away again without saying goodbye) so my issues are mostly with abandonment. I know I am codependent also, and even though I am hurting from the affair, I find myself hurting for my WH too because of all of his FOO issues. I know that IC will be beneficial to me, and today in fact I am searching out someone for me to talk to.

We are thinking of postponing MC for a little while to really focus on our issues so he can get clarity on WHY the affair happened so he has tools to prevent him from going this route again, and I need to work on my fear of abandonment and rebuild my self esteem. Do you guys think we should give MC one more chance? We have our next session scheduled for next Friday. We have only been twice so I would hate to give up if it will get better. Man I wish there was a checklist on how to find the perfect MC for your particular situation.

BtraydWife posted 8/1/2014 22:37 PM

I think you both working in IC is an excellent idea. Good for you for being open to it. When things get more balanced individually for the both of you MC is going to be much more productive.

sudra posted 8/2/2014 06:21 AM

I think MC and IC are both great ideas. Why wait on MC if a good MC can help you with your talks about the affair. Who would want to put that off? That's the crisis in your marriage right now and should be dealt with right now. With a professional. Just my opinion, but a strong one.

Questioningall posted 8/2/2014 09:36 AM

We see one counselor for both MC and IC. For MC she's helping us learn to communicate better and spend time together, building new memories. She pointed out that one of the goals is for my WH to tell me how he feels, so when he does, I shouldn't be hostile to him or he'll shut down. Lesson learned. In IC, she reassures me that I'm sane and emphasizes that I really need to take care of myself. She works with WH on the whys of his affairs and how to work through FOO and other issues. I think we lucked out and got a good one.

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