Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

The more I read TAM CWI, the more I notice that few people have good stories about MC. Is this because all of the happy, reconciled couples don't post here? Or is it because MC, especially in cases of infidelity - is very much hit and miss?

My stbxw and I did 3 different rounds of MC. My reasons: because I felt our marriage was slipping and my stbxw seemed to be distancing herself from me and from our family more and more. So I pushed for it.

Round 1 (just as she was beginning her infatuation and EA): The MC was part of my wife's company EAP. The MC listened to my stbxw explain how she believed the problem was that I was insecure with a successful, professional woman, and that I was even resentful of her success. When I explained that not only did I get her into the business, my entire family and friends moved money over to her to get her a jump start. I often drove her to evening appointments because she didn't have a license, then taught her how to drive and got her driving lessons so that she could be more independent. Helped her buy her first car. The MC looked at me and asked why I was so upset? WTF? This is how it went for about 5 sessions. MC did not pick up any of the bullsh!t and concluded that my poor wife needed to decide what made her happy. "sh!t or get off the pot" was the MC's expression. (in hindsight, her EA began at that point).

Round 2 (1 year later, when my stbxw's EA had morphed into a PA - all still hidden from me. Different MC): This MC thought that we needed to learn how to communicate better. So we were given communications exercises, which we did. This MC was not interested in the past because the past didn't matter. In hindsight, my stbxw took this to mean that her affair should remain hidden. So during our "communication exercises" she honed her skill at lying. The one thing this MC did say - is that she feared my wife was moving towards a path that wasn't healthy. She was right, except my wife was already well down that path.

Round 3 (1 year later. After DDay 1 where I had discovered the relationship with the POSOM, but my stbxw led me to believe it was "just" an EA). This was online counselling. First exercise was for us both to write our history, from our perspective. I went through the lies and deceptions of the past two years. My stbxw didn't mention it at all - sticking to her "I am independent and successful - my husband hates all of my friends". When asked by the virtual counsellor why she didn't mention her "EA" (which had become a PA - still hidden) - my stbxw gets upset - says that the MC is "opening up old wounds" and sulks for the next 4 or 5 exchanges. Anything to do with the past is off limits as far as my wife is concerned - she uses MC #2 as validation for not going into the past. (hindsight - she was hiding her PA). Virtual counsellor gives us more "communication exercises". LOL!


I have nothing against counselling - and my current IC has helped me tremendously (my stbxw on the other hand is getting IC from the same MC who did round 1 - above, totally useless).

In short - MC did not help us at all - and actually hurt our relationship because it always brought out strife and and caused tension and in the end didn't help us get to the meat of the problem.

Anybody have better results?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

MC's have an 84% failure rate because they don't know how to save a marriage as you had to find out the hard way.

When picking a MC ask them if the follow Dr Harley and his books. If they do then you will have a competent MC.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

MC has help us in the sense of how to reconnect, bidding for connections, how to be mindful of each other and learning how to fight fair and have exit ramps when the discussion gets too heated.

MC has failed in getting my spouse to dig any deeper as to "why" he needed external validation. MC also stresses not trying to "fix" him and just work on myself. Sometimes that seems counter intuitive. MY spouse views this as an excuse to just plow past his reasons why he cheated and rush ahead to the "new and improved" marriage.

I look at it comparatively to weight loss. I am roughly 45 lbs overweight. I use to always say...."I just love to eat, that's why I'm fat" when in reality, I'm eating out of some emotional comfort and until I figure out what that is, no diet in the world will help me keep the weight off. Weight is my security blanket.

Counseling has inspired me to look at that in myself...... but that's only because i WANT to do it...spouse doesn't yet.

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Old 01-09-2013, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

I am of the opinion that both parties have to be willing to go to MC , the fact that your spouse was still in the fog on sessions 1 and 2 really didnt help your cause any. My wife and I have 3 1/2 years post dday and like any other marriage their are ups and downs or miscommunication about things, however that being said the last 3 1/2 years have also been awesome as a whole. we have been married 13 1/2 years so far.
We attended MC and at first I was still in an affair however after a couple of sessions i decided to end the affair and get serious with my marriage that is when mc seemed to be benefical to me we went for about 6 months and were finally released and have done great ever since that is my experience
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

We've been in MC for almost 3 years, since May of 2009, and it's helped us tremendously.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

I would agree that MC is hit and miss, from my limited experience. I would also agree that it has ZERO chance of having any significant influence if the affair is still alive and breathing. It requires both parties being truly committed to the sessions, not one committed party and one willing party.

Our MC has been helpful in giving us some tools, and facilating some of the discussions. Specifically as it relates to strengthening our communication skills and building a stronger marriage.

Our MC has not been all that helpful with dealing with the affair itself. At times, she almost seems uncomfortable with it. But my wife and I have been able to use some of the tools from our MC to tackle aspects of the affair itself.

I sometimes wonder if the challenge is because MC is, by defination, about the marriage. That means it is about both spouses, their relationship etc.

An affair is a VERY singular and selfish thing, and perhaps needs more of an IC? In other words, the MC can help us build a stronger relationship and communicate more clearly as a unit. But working on one person's shortcoming and selfishness as a group of three may be more dificult. I don't know, just my rambling thoughts . . . .

But I say a good MC can indeed help strengthen a marriage.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Both parties have to be willing and 100% open.

Even so, our MC was a total disaster. In a strange way, the fact that it *was* a disaster brought us closer together at the time.

Things haven't worked out for us in the long run; I don't think the MC could have saved it but I guess we'll never know...
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

MC -or any type of counseling -can only be helpful if the clients involved are being honest. Counselors aren't magicians or mind readers; they can only go on what is told to them. Good ones can dig deep and pull some information out, but as any BS can attest to, waywards can lie quite well.

There are bad therapists, no question, but I suspect that the main reason MC didn't help in your situation is because your wife was lying during it.

MC, on a whole, is a challenging area to work in -which is a main reason why it was never an area I wanted to specialized in. When people come to MC, the relationship is almost always in a very precarious place. MC has the ability to pull some couples back from the brink of divorce, but oftentimes couples do not come in until one or both has already made a decision to end the marriage. It's hard to be successful if that's the case.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris989 View Post
Both parties have to be willing and 100% open.
Absolutely.
My STBXW told our MC (later her IC) the same lies she told me. No good can come of that.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No better results, but I'll commiserate. We're on our 3rd MC since DDay1 5.5 years ago.

MC1 was reputedly one of the best in town, however through some twist of fate DW baffled him with deflection to the point that our joint sessions became little more than
support sessions for her fog. I eventually stopped pushing DW to attend more sessions, and MC1fell off our grid.

About a year later, I started with IC1. After a dozen sessions, he asked if he could meet DW. The session in which they met was terrible for me. Right out of the gate he attacked DW too harshly. I now recognize that he was just cutting through her layers of BS, but in the moment it was a bit much.

More than a year went by, and then I got hit with DDay2....and 3....and so on. I started seeing IC2 and then, simultaneously, IC3. When DW and I called off our divorce, IC2 became MC2. Unfortunately, while IC2 was a decent IC, she couldn't keep control of a heated MC session, and besides, she was too colored by a year's worth of IC.

On IC3's recommendation, we began see MC3. We're still with her after a year, but, DW continues to deflect in session, and MC3 is always ready for another rabbit hole. I feel a hard discussion or another change coming on.

IC3 is AWESOME. He's helped me with soooooo much. I've practically begged him to see us in a joint session, but he'll have nothing of it. /sigh. He probably knows best.

I haven't included our pastor in all of this. He's seen us a half-dozen times, individually and in joint session. He's a great pastor but I think our situation and personalities overwhelm him. He's definitely more interested in our walk than riding out to meet problems head-on.

Thanks for letting me share. Hope there's some commonality in our stories which is of use to you.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

We have been in MC about a year and my wife was still in the A the first three months. Of course I thought we were in a real R. The MC caught her in fact she call my wife out on it during one of our sessionss. She has a pretty good BS detector.

We are better about talking about our issues. I am less of a bottled up person. I am sure we would not have stayed married at this point if it was not for our MC
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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WW and I started MC 2 weeks after Dday. It became apparent after 2 months that both my WW and I had individual issues that were clouding the relationship issues. We stopped MC and started IC. My wife with the original MC therapist and myself with another therapist.

We have been in IC now for 5 months. I am ready to start MC again with a new therapist. My WW therapist says she is not ready yet.

I'll give it till May and decide then if I'll keep waiting. I'll let you know in May if it didn't work or in 20 years if it did.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

Thanks for the input. I guess where I have become skeptical was in our MC's inability to cut through the fog. Obviously, there is a script which many WS follow. Obviously, an expert in this field should be able to detect some of the signs - at least that's my belief. At the very least, I would think some probing lines of questioning, discussion would have revealed some of the necessary truths.

I guess where I'm getting at, is that if the lies have stopped, then more than half the battle is already done and MC would just help with the process. But I had hoped that MC would be helpful in discovering the underlying truths.

Maybe my expectations were too high. But yes, I do acknowledge that my wife was lying throughout - I suspected as much even during the sessions and had hoped that MC would help cut through whether I was just paranoid and I was the sole problem, or whether there was something deeper.

Anyway - I think TAM has been the best resource in helping me to understand what happened. Too bad I wasn't armed with this knowledge 3 years ago...
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

:

Our MC has been helpful in giving us some tools, and facilating some of the discussions. Specifically as it relates to strengthening our communication skills and building a stronger marriage.

Our MC has not been all that helpful with dealing with the affair itself. At times, she almost seems uncomfortable with it. But my wife and I have been able to use some of the tools from our MC to tackle aspects of the affair itself.

I sometimes wonder if the challenge is because MC is, by defination, about the marriage. That means it is about both spouses, their relationship etc.

An affair is a VERY singular and selfish thing, and perhaps needs more of an IC? In other words, the MC can help us build a stronger relationship and communicate more clearly as a unit. But working on one person's shortcoming and selfishness as a group of three may be more dificult. I don't know, just my rambling thoughts . . . .

But I say a good MC can indeed help strengthen a marriage.[/QUOTE]



Do we have the same counselor????? You took the words out of my mouth.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marriage Counselling after infidelity - did this work for anybody?

Want to know what stupid is? Letting your wife convince you that she needs to go in alone first in order to make sure she is "comfortable" with the counselor, and then insisting the counselor is saying that you aren't allowed to come yet.

So finally when you are fed up and barge in there anyway you learn that Surprise! She told the counselor she was there for depression, it was not for marriage counseling, not a word about what she was really there for. So when you stand up dumbfounded and explain to the counselor the hoax that has been perpetrated she looks at you as if you are crazy. Doesn't ask the wife if it is true. Refuses to answer when I ask "doesn't this even matter?!"

As I grew livid and demanded a response from the counselor she said that the wife was writing the checks (from our joint account). It was so shocking as to be surreal, but needless to say I walked out and that was the end of it for me.
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