Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

So tonight at Counseling session # 19, my wife brings up the fact we keep arguing about her feeling like I am controlling her and that some man from work asked her out for a drink the other night and she felt like she couldn’t go, much less call me and ask if it was allright.

The discussion went onto explain to the background of the situation to the counselor…

(read background here: Ladies, whats the right rules for guy friends? )

… at first the counselor agreed that these kind of situations are how most affairs start and that most spouses would be upset with this kind of behavior. Neither of us could get my wife to see that sharing emotional information about her and my situation with a stanger is an emotional connection (the term EA was not even used.) For about an hour my wife and I both stood our ground that I felt like she was not respecting my insecurities by continuing the behavior and she stood her ground saying she was respecting me not going to lunch with these guys anymore and that the emails are innocent. She continued to tell the counselor that she just thought it was being controlling and that she had no intention of things getting out of hand with any of her guy friends and if they did she wasn’t interested in that and would thwart off any attempts by these men to move in on her!

At that point the counselor told me that she thinks we needed to set some rules about what we can do and what we cant. I told her my wife and I had already had that discussion and that my wife was clear that she didn’t want rules imposed on her and frankly I didn’t want to set rules because I am not trying to be controlling and I don’t want to pick and choose who my wife can see or talk to and I don’t want to commit to something that I change my mind about later or that didn’t include some new guy she meets or some old friend I didn’t know about. I explained that I didn’t like rules like this because 15 years ago my wife imposed a rule on me that I was never allowed to see or talk to my ex-gf again.)

Finally the counselor suggested that the only solution is for my wife to assure me she is in love with me and that she is adult enough to make the right decisions and that I need to let go and allow her to make any decision she wants about who she can email and who she wants to go out with and quit digging around her cell phone bills, etc.

I told the counselor that my wife had already assured me a few weeks ago by saying “I love you. I want to be with you. I need you to believe me. I need you to love me.”

At that point the counselor said, in not so many words, ‘so whats the problem, maybe you need some anxiety medication.’ BULL CRAP I don’t need any anxiety meds, I need my wife to leave this other guy alone and concentrate on our marriage!!!

What I didn’t tell the counselor (because my wife was in the room) is that I am still reading her email messages from the guy she met in the bar and that the day after she told me “I love you. I want to be with you. I need you to believe me. I need you to love me.” the guy from the bar emailed her to say he and his wife were getting a divorce. My wifes reply to him was something to the effect of ‘sorry to hear that, I know how it is, I am not happy with my husband and don’t think I ever will be.”

Unfortunately the counseling session ended and when we went home my wife wouldn’t speak to me. I finally brought it all up again and we talked for a good hour or two about this and I finally gave in and said “I’ll try what the counselor suggests, the new rule is you have the freedom to email and go out with whomever you want whenever you want but you cant intentionally hide it from me.” I told her that maybe with this ‘rule’ in place I will feel better and think that my wife is not doing something she shouldn’t be since there was no rule before I couldn’t judge upon it but I was anyway. Now there is a rule – albeit a loose one that gives my wife the freedom she wants.

After I said all this, I kind of got somewhat bitter inside and told her to go make some lunch plans with these guy friends. And she said that’s not what it’s all about – she said that all she wanted was to not feel like I had taken her freedom away and that she now felt relieved. She even went so far as to say, I was now allowed to talk to or see my ex-gf from back in college (someone that my wife explicitly 15 years ago forbid me to see or talk to ever again.)

We’ll see how it works. I kind of felt relieved when the conversation was over and we both seemed more relaxed around one another.

Is the counselor crazy for suggesting this, and am I crazy for tyring it? The only advice I have ever read on here or other places is to tell the spouse to cut off all contact with the other men and if she wont to leave her. Will this work? Any comments are welcome, encouraging comments are preferred!
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

You need a new counselor.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

I can see why you are taken aback by what the counselor said. The only thing I can think of is that the counselor thinks that your wife needs the chance to prove herself to you. The problem is that your counselor doesn't know what your wife and the other guy are emailing to each other. If you didn't know about the emails, you would probably see it differently, too.

I am in no way as qualified as a professional counselor, so take what I have to say here with a grain of salt. I just think it really comes down to what you can live with, and what you expect in a marriage and wife. A counselor can't just tell you to stop feeling what you're feeling and "boom" you do.

In remembering your other post, it looks to me like your wife is in some ways, wanting to act like she's single. Of course that bothers you.

Now, I'm not trying to take a jab at a counselor here, and I really don't know how the counseling things works or how long it takes, but it seems to me, that after 19 sessions, there should be some improvement.

Souldn't it be like you and your wife both discussing your expectations of your marriage and each other, and working on making this marriage something that both of you are happy with? It doesn't sound to me like your wife is being completely honest with the counselor.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

This sounds a lot like my situation, except that my wife and I are doing a "trial" separation.

We have the same argument about control versus freedom.

The idea your counselor is going with is that if you love something, set it free. We've all heard it before. If she comes back, great.

I go back and forth with myself over looking at the phone bill. A lot of calls and texts don't PROVE anything, but it can drive me crazy. Sometimes I find I do better when I'm not trying to figure out what she's doing.

Maybe - when all else fails - the advice your therapist is giving is correct. If you can truly back off, then your wife can no longer say you are too controlling. Plus - you might feel better if you quit trying to figure out what she's doing.

I don't know. Looking forward to seeing what other advice you get.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

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Originally Posted by scarletblue View Post
Now, I'm not trying to take a jab at a counselor here, and I really don't know how the counseling things works or how long it takes, but it seems to me, that after 19 sessions, there should be some improvement.
Thanks for your comments, you hit the nail on the head with some things. As for the part above... yes its been 19 sessions but each one has focused on 'the issue of the day' instead of the reason we went to counseling. Frankly, I feel like the counsleing has helped us identify issues that we didnt go to the counselor for. Yet, at this point my wife and I are both sick of counseling because each week we are starting to get along well and all of the sudded on Monday were forced to talk about something that is bothering us.

As for the other info from the emails that I have priviy to... honestly I have to admit that I love my wife and want to be with her too, and I supposed I could go so far as to say I am afraid I might never be happy with her either. I hope not, but I sometimes feel it and thats no different that what she said.

I dont know what to think of this and I dont want to turn into cuckold husband that has to give in everything he turns around to what ever his wife wants, but I dont want her to be afraid me either.

I guess I am just asking if the advice the counselor has given is normal, since I have never heard other people give the same advice before.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

Although seems a bit nuts ( the counselor) not as nuts as you.
(sorry just kidding....a bit)

How do you expect to get things resolved if there are secrets?
Why didn tyou expose to your wife AND the counselor the nature of the emails?

In the end, if she does not respect you enough OR feels there is something, a void or whatever you're not filling for her and she insists on the outside contacts which you dont like... She's not a kid. Make sure she knows where you stand and then tell her to do what she likes... Just be clear on your actions thereto.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

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The idea your counselor is going with is that if you love something, set it free. We've all heard it before. If she comes back, great.
I didnt equate it to this - but you are right. This now seems like sound advice that may work.

I am sorry that so many people are in these situations and I hope things work out with your trial seperation. As for looking at the phone bill and looking at her emails... she would never do that to me, she respects my privacy and I love her for that. I just wish I could stop doing it to her. The bad part is I read so much into things. One of the guys she communicates with, textd her "Happy Valentines Day" last month and it pissed me off. One text she told him she and I were going out to dinner and she needed to go find something to wear - he replied back "someting 'Hot' I hope" and she replied "of course" - its just creative banter that I fell in love with about her when I met her, but becasue so I read too much into it when its going on with someone else. I know what you mean that things seem much better when youre not looking for something wrong or something going on. Wish me luck.

Thanks for the feedback - everyone, keep the comments coming.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

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How do you expect to get things resolved if there are secrets? Why didn tyou expose to your wife AND the counselor the nature of the emails?
My wife knows what she wrote - she may not remember and she may not realize what she is saying or that it could be misinterpreted or hurtful if I read it - but she knows what she is sending this guy!

As for not mentioning it in the counsleing session, if I mention it in the counseling session then my wife knows I have access to read her email messages. At which point she will take steps to change her password even more often. While it may sound like a trust issue, its not, but until I know what my future holds I am not willing to have her lock things down further so I can't read something someday if I absolutely feel the need to.

Believe me, I have come so close to letting it all loose and telling her what I have read and that I can read her messages, but I know that until you have hard evidence that there is some real cheating going on you never let someone know you are reading their stuff - period.

Shoot me now for feeling this way, but based on everything else I have just given into, i feel like I am entitled to have access to this and I know if I asked for access I would be told no. Am I wrong?
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

Counseling is almost never a cure. It's triage.
Counseling enables the two of you to determine if the issues can be resolved. It creates an environment for communicating where otherwise you simply wouldn't talk, or things would deteriorate into a fight.

And as has been pointed out; your counselor isn't nuts ... she doesn't have all the information.

When it comes down to it, you have two options to try and recapture a dying relationship:

1. Change your behavior in an effort to reestablish attraction and rebuild your bond. This is about making you the one she is drawn to once again, and threats, pleading, or smothering and demanding behavior isn't going to make that happen. This is about letting her do her thing - and you focus on you. Being a better you. More confident, more positive, more loving, more active, social, physically fit - you get to decide.

2. Set a hard limit and harsh consequences. Generally people fixate upon and then feed the negative aspects of their relationship or attributes of their partner. Her wanting freedom and insisting that you are controlling is classic. She is making it about how YOU want her to behave.
But, were you to make it clear that your feeling is the marriage is coming apart, and her 'connecting' with other men at this point in time only serves to further deteriorate your bond, and you can't understand why she would want to do that unless she doesn't value the marriage.

So, you need to make it about HER choice. If she chooses that behavior, you will move out, file for divorce, whatever.
The crucial part here is that you follow through with the consequence. This completely throws the negative feedback loop out of whack. She can't focus on your being controlling if you aren't there. 'Presence' contributes to the negative feedback loop. So ... you gotta go. No discussions, no 'one more chance', no negotiating. You leave, whether it's for two weeks or two years.

Worst thing you can do in #2 is not follow through. Doing this means you have just proven how weak and easily manipulated you are. If you don't have any backbone, she can't possibly respect you or value the marriage.

Doing the right thing isn't going to feel right. I think most people here would acknowledge that the steps needed to recover your relationship go in tandem with being prepared to dissolve your relationship.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

Anyway, so now I have to follow this up with... I am still reading my wifes emails and text messages. Is it anxeity?

And, since I have said I am reading the messages > what did I find? The very next day after establishing the rules that she communicate and go out to lunch or drinks with whomever she decided she wanted to, the very next morning not 30 minutes after she woke up she texts one of the guys that I am uncomfortable with and invites him to lunch! Should this bother me? So soon? Why?

That said, I am considering going back to the counselor (DR)and talking about the suggestion of anxiety meds and may tell her the rest of the information. (Assuming the doctor has a doctor patient obligation not to tell my wife something I divulge, even though she is seeing us as a couple.)

Comments?
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is our counselor nuts - she said to let my wife see and email the other men?

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Anyway, so now I have to follow this up with... I am still reading my wifes emails and text messages. Is it anxeity?

And, since I have said I am reading the messages > what did I find? The very next day after establishing the rules that she communicate and go out to lunch or drinks with whomever she decided she wanted to, the very next morning not 30 minutes after she woke up she texts one of the guys that I am uncomfortable with and invites him to lunch! Should this bother me? So soon? Why?

That said, I am considering going back to the counselor (DR)and talking about the suggestion of anxiety meds and may tell her the rest of the information. (Assuming the doctor has a doctor patient obligation not to tell my wife something I divulge, even though she is seeing us as a couple.)

Comments?
Sure I have a comment.

#1--It sounds like you are expecting your counselor to be a referee. The feeling I get is that you'd like the counselor to say to your wife "You can not do this or that" and probably you wish the counselor would agree with you and tell her to do things your way.

I bring this up because counselors are there to offer counsel...not to be a law enforcement officer. They do not WRITE the laws of your marriage or for you or for your wife--nor do they ENFORCE the laws. And if your wife 100% did not listen to the laws, it is not the counselor's job to "make her" do anything. So my #1 comment is that I think your vision of counseling may not be utterly accurate.

So let me help you clarify okay?

Counselors can not magically "tell what is true." If you come and say "she does this" and she says " I do not" your counselor has no way of knowing what is true or is not. Thus, it's not realistic to go to counseling and expect the counselor to have some sort of god-like ability to divine truth from lie. And it's not the counselor's job to do investigative reporting and find out who's telling the truth either! So that's one expectation that's not precisely realistic. We have to deal with what we are told and do the best we can with the info presented.

Next, our client in marital counseling is not YOU or HER but "the marriage." Thus let's pretend that you were 100% in the wrong in the marriage, and she was 100% right (and it's never that way)--our goal is not to vindicate her right position by crucifying you. Our goal is to help the marriage relationship be stronger...and that is often through helping the individuals to see their issues and deal with them but it's also often through identifying issues in the marriage. Thus it's entirely possible to have one partner who's up and down bipolar (but in therapy and on meds) and another that's codependent but working on it... and the counselor FOR THE MARRIAGE would focus on how they relate, reach agreements, honor agreements, communicate, respect each other etc. Make sense? I wouldn't say "Well the bipolar one is wrong so you codependent one can skate and we're fixing the bipolar one." Nope! That would be individual counseling. Got it?


#2--Your counselor isn't nuts because your wife is free to see and email other men. She is a grown adult and absolutely free to make that choice (AND experience the consequences of that choice). From what I can see, all along you've been trying to manipulate your wife into stopping that, and then manipulate the counselor into telling her to stop it, and then manipulate the counselor into "making her" stop it. Well... no one can "make" another person do anything. (See comment #1 above.)

If your wife is bound and determined to email and see other men, she will. What I'm trying to say is that you can not make her and neither can the counselor make her do anything. The only person you have control over is YOU. You can control YOU.

So rather than saying "Wife, you have to stop emailing other men" that is control. See how you are trying to make a person outside of yourself do something your way? Now many people may agree that emailing other men is "wrong" but if she's determined trying to stop her is controlling her and making her do what she is determined to do. A much wise approach is for you to control YOU! So you'd say, "Wife, you are completely free to do exactly as you please. I would like to request that you stop emailing other men and when you want to email a man you email me! I would like that! I would like to request that you go out to lunch with me! I would like that too! But if you choose to do otherwise, that is your choice and I will then make choices about me and what I will and will not allow and have in my intimate, personal life. I want you."

This is called "Setting Boundaries." See what you want to do is to set up a fence around her "You can come to this fence and no further" and set up boundaries on her. You can't do that because you can't control another person. She's free to march into the gates of Hades if that's her choice! Now you may think it's not a wise idea, and you may say "I choose not to go there" but you can not stop her! So "Setting Boundaries" is when you put a fence around YOU! It might be like this "If you choose to march into the gates of Hades, I choose to not follow you there" or "I choose to not allow the gates of Hades into my intimate, personal space." Making sense?

So in this instance, she's free to email other men and go to lunch with them. But there is a cost for choosing that. So for example, setting a boundary might sound something like this: "I do not tolerate infidelity in my intimate personal life, not lying or half-truths." If she chooses to continue to turn to him rather than you (her husband, the man to whom she promised to turn), then you can move to another bedroom, move your paycheck to an account only in your name, stop paying her phone bill for her, etc. In other words, why should you work hard and pay the bill for the cell phone she uses to contact her other man? If she chooses that, she pays for it.

Now...is this making sense?
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