Chrissie
My husband and I are currently living in-house separated. We have our 2 babies at home (a 6 month old and a 2 year old) so he is here for them, and had made that very clear, although he has recently said his sincere hope is that our marriage survives, which is an improvement on a coupe of weeks back when he said he sees no value in our relationship. He is still in a very self centered state of mind. Whilst he says he's sorry for hurting me, and admits the situation is unfair on me, his focus is on his dissatisfaction in the marriage, and what I need to do to change that. His attitude is one of "you win, I'm here, you should be happy". We have been going to therapy individually but just last week he suggested couples therapy. I agreed initially as it feels like a step in the right direction, but considering the way he currently is I'm worried is just going to be more painful attacks on me. How can I keep myself safe while not holding up the healing process? He still sees his AP everyday at work, so I think he's still well and truly in the fog. She's leaving in about 6 weeks.
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TimT
Chrissie wrote:
...We have been going to therapy individually but just last week he suggested couples therapy. I agreed initially as it feels like a step in the right direction, but considering the way he currently is I'm worried is just going to be more painful attacks on me. How can I keep myself safe while not holding up the healing process?...

Are you going to see his therapist for joint counseling? I would be cautious about that. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, but you need to have confidence that the counselor has a strong relationship perspective and isn't just coming at your problem from your husband's point of view. I would encourage you to either see a different counselor for your couples therapy, or ask to see his counselor individually once before you go together.

And if you haven't seen it already, take a look at this guide (attached) to finding an affair recovery specialist.
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Chrissie
Hi Tim,

Thank you for your excellent response.

We are using the same counsellor individually and we will see her as a couple, so she knows me well.  She is very good, but I will see her before we begin joint therapy and discuss my concerns with her.  I am also interested to know what she thinks couples therapy looks like and what she feels we should be focussing on.  From what I have read here on this website as well as others, the moving on part of the marriage; looking at what went wrong, reasons for my husbands dissatisfaction etc should come after working through the betrayal of the affair.  Currently we do not talk about the affair as my husband can't handle my negative emotion, e.g. crying or getting angry.  He refers to this as drama, and so we have avoided all conversations specifically about the affair.  When we talk about us, it is more about where to from here, and what I will need to change for my husband to feel our marriage is worth working on.  Am I right in believing that until he can accept my honest reaction to the affair, and offer me support for my healing from the betrayal, we can not move onto the next step of fixing what went wrong?

Like I said earlier I do not want to hold the process up and I am grateful my husband is prepared to start couples therapy, but I'm just not sure he's ready.  I have a feeling he wants to skip over step one, helping me deal with the betrayal and jump straight to step two - I hope I am making sense.

Would love your feedback on this.

Thank you.
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TimT
Chrissie wrote:
...Am I right in believing that until he can accept my honest reaction to the affair, and offer me support for my healing from the betrayal, we can not move onto the next step of fixing what went wrong?

In my opinion, this is correct. But I don't know your husband's history of openness to difficult emotions. If he has already struggled with this in the past, it is still going to be difficult now. So maybe he'll need a lot of help with it. But you need him to figure this out because if you are left alone to heal this wound, it will become a barrier to intimacy. He needs to be your partner in healing.

Linda MacDonald, a therapist who also focuses on affair recovery work, gives a rather no-holds-barred description of what a betrayed spouse needs to do in her book for unfaithful spouses. Worth reading for him (and for you). I've copied the info here:

How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda MacDonald
This short book is an excellent resource for helping guide an unfaithful spouse toward becoming a "successful rebuilder." It provides a great overview of the attitudes and actions that should be a focus of any spouse who has had an affair but wants to see healing come to his/her partner and marriage.
View: Amazon link | Kindle link
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Chrissie
Thank you again Tim for taking the time to respond and for all the very practical help. The book looks great. He hates me pushing things on him but I'll try to gently ask if he's interested in the link. I suppose if he says no, I'll know he's not yet ready and will back off again. I probably have to be patient and wait until the AP is out of the picture. Again I'm very grateful. You are a very kind person Tim.
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