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?
"Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice." - Nelson Mandela
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)]
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.
Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.