strength1
H is committed to going to a psychologist in 3 days’ time with the aim of finding a way out of his turmoil and deciding if to stay and work on the marriage, as I would like, or if to go to the affair partner.  He says he is genuinely undecided.  I’m not so sure.  Surely deep down he knows.

 I’d be interested in hearing the experience of people here who were in the same situation - emotional  affair, going to a psychologist.  What happened in the end?
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EasyAsABC
The attached man I was involved with did that. 
Just be warned that he used is at a tool in his manipulation. I tried to end thing prior to DDay, because he was refusing to take action and I never intended to be the other woman. He started seeing a therapist so his decision would be “easier”. Every time I tried to end things he threw it in my face “I’m seeing a therapist for you, what makes you think I’m not serious about being with you?”. 
Then when his gf found out, it was “I’m already seeing a therapist” (because he was doing it in secret), so she’d think he was serious about working in himself so he’d never do this again. 
Im not sure he got anything from it, in fact, his therapist recommended against telling his gf about all the other affairs he had had. “It’s in the past, why hurt her more with inconsequential facts?”. Then she insisted on couple therapy in conjunction with their individual therapy, and he lied the entire time to both of them about still being in contact with me, and about me being the only one. 
Liars lie. 
BS to an abusive H 2009-2018
OW 2018-2019
I wear many hats.
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ThrivenotSurvive
Therapy is like everything else in life - you get out of it what you put into it.  

Some people do it because they are at their wits end with themselves and the life they are leading.  They don't understand why they have made the self-destructive choices they have.  They want to stop hurting themselves and those they love (this isn't necessarily infidelity-exclusive - it can be drugs, anger management, food addictions, workaholism, being emotionally unavailable, etc.) 

There are others who do it as a way of getting people off their back - of manipulation as EasyasABC just gave an excellent example of.  

The million dollar question is which one do you have on your hands? 

On this site, we have both WSs and APs who CLEARLY saw their affair as a wake-up call - a manifestation of something broken inside that they needed to find and heal - and did so.  I would say that in some ways these people are more safe to be trusted now than the average person who has never been tested.  Because even though they failed the test once before, they now know their demons and weak spots - and have consciously chosen to learn how to conquer them.  They understand firsthand the consequences of their action to themselves and others and don't wish to ever experience it again.  Some people have lived blameless lives because they are emotionally strong and have a clear vision of who they want to be in life, what values they want to embody.  But many others just haven't been tested. 

However, for every WS or AP here that has owned their mess and worked to clean it up, there are a LOT who avidly rug-sweep and refuse to deal with their issues - always seeing it as something caused by circumstances outside of themselves (the partner, the situation, etc.)  These typically become serial cheaters with a ready list of handy justifications.

Which one of these your WS embodies - I doubt any of us will be able to tell you.  You know him and the circumstances of your marriage up to this point far better than anyone else.  Try to find some emotional separation and look back at your life together including now, with as much objectivity as you possibly can.  It is natural at times like these to rewrite history - either making it better or worse than it really was.  Try not to do that and it will likely reveal plenty about your spouse and your potential for a future together after this mess.   
  
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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jasmine
Sorry. I realised we’re all in different countries so what I originally posted may have been irrelevant to Strength1. 

Please bear in mind that one appointment is not necessarily going to result in a clear decision for him. Please don’t pin your hopes on him reaching a moment of clarity  just yet. No therapist can make his decision for him. Ultimately it’s down to him, and as to when that will be it’s like asking “how long is a piece of string?”
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hurting
I was going to say exactly what Jasmine said. The therapist isn’t going to provide an answer. And he certainly isn’t going to find it in one session. 

The answer has to come from him. They will merely ask him questions to try to guide his thought process. He will get out of it as much as he puts into it. 

While it is nice that he is willing to see a psychologist, I would not take this as a sign that he is committed to working on the marriage. Cheaters are top notch liars. He could lie to the psychologist if he was so inclined. Watch and take note of only his actions. Watch for the ongoing patterns rather than the one off actions. Still seeing the OW is as clear as it gets right now. 

I believe someone has mentioned the 180 to you before. I do honestly believe it would be beneficial to you, because it will allow you to focus on yourself and your needs, rather than what he is or is not doing.

In all honesty (and I am very obviously a BS), I don’t think ‘giving him one month to decide’ is going to change anything except for keeping you in limbo for one more month. I could maybe see it happening IF he was no contact with the OW and was spending that time focusing on himself, but certainly not if the affair is ongoing. Of course, this is my opinion only and things are going to be different for each person. I just do not see how his choice is going to be any different in one month’s time. It feels like he is taking your willingness to even let him try to salvage the marriage for granted. IMO, a cheater has NO RIGHT to expect an opportunity to salvage their marriage. Any chance that they are given is an UNUSUAL show of grace by their BS (rather than kicking them out ASAP). This whole ‘I can’t choose’ rubbish is like rubbing salt into the wounds he has chosen to inflict on you. 

Being ‘unable to choose’ is not something I would have tolerated. I walked out in d-day and didn’t speak to him for a week. I didn’t ask who he was choosing. I removed myself from the equation. It was horrible and I was in a terrible state... but I was not going to compete for his affections. He didn’t deserve me. He got the message about what he stood to lose. One of my conditions about even agreeing to see him face to face again was that he go NC with the OW. He claimed he had already done that by ‘blocking and deleting her number’ (LOL). I said I would not meet him without PROOF that he had ended things and to not bother with meeting me till he had it. Took his phone that meeting, broke the SIM card in half and went to get a new number that day as well as deleting all back ups. 
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anthro
Ask yourself: does man of fifty really need a psychologist to help him decide something like this? Clearly he doesn't. He only needs to actually want to make a choice. Nobody who is a grown-up actually needs help deciding this very obvious kind of thing. He doesn't want to make a choice, or rather, he is making a choice to have things exactly as they are now. He finds the current situation satisfactory. 

For all our problems post d-day my wife was insistent that she wanted to stay with me. If she had been acting or speaking as though it was some kind of dilemma, then she'd have come home from her psychologist session to find her keys didn't work in our locks. 

Your husband is NOT in turmoil and does not have any meaningful dilemma. He is simply prolonging the time in which he gets to mess with both of you. It may be unrewarding for you but it's very rewarding for him; he is dominating every moment's thoughts of two people. A psychologist will be just one more person feeding his belief that his feelings are terribly important and worthy of a huge amount of attention. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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strength1
anthro wrote:
Ask yourself: does man of fifty really need a psychologist to help him decide something like this? Clearly he doesn't. He only needs to actually want to make a choice. Nobody who is a grown-up actually needs help deciding this very obvious kind of thing. He doesn't want to make a choice, or rather, he is making a choice to have things exactly as they are now. He finds the current situation satisfactory. 

For all our problems post d-day my wife was insistent that she wanted to stay with me. If she had been acting or speaking as though it was some kind of dilemma, then she'd have come home from her psychologist session to find her keys didn't work in our locks. 

Your husband is NOT in turmoil and does not have any meaningful dilemma. He is simply prolonging the time in which he gets to mess with both of you. It may be unrewarding for you but it's very rewarding for him; he is dominating every moment's thoughts of two people. A psychologist will be just one more person feeding his belief that his feelings are terribly important and worthy of a huge amount of attention. 


I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree on 2 points today, Anthro: 
- I have come to realise that many people would benefit through sessions with a psychologist. Not just relationship issues, but to work on themselves. I saw one some time ago and  I certainly wish I had had the possibility to do it earlier.  
- My husband is most certainly in a turmoil.  Even disregarding what he says to me (because I agree I can't trust him to not put on a show at this moment in time), I can see that he's not sleeping, he's drinking, not eating well and crying a lot. 

This situation is not as simple as an "affair". While I do not wish to go into them here, there are elements in his past which are coming back to haunt him, just before he turns 50 and just at the age his father was when he died, leaving a 9-year-old boy to fend for himself with a mother too busy to grieve with him, then put in boarding school.  It may seem like I'm trying to excuse him, but no. What he did was bad and extremely hurtful. But it's not helpful if I try to see it in isolation. 
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strength1
hurting wrote:


While it is nice that he is willing to see a psychologist, I would not take this as a sign that he is committed to working on the marriage. Cheaters are top notch liars. He could lie to the psychologist if he was so inclined. Watch and take note of only his actions. Watch for the ongoing patterns rather than the one off actions. Still seeing the OW is as clear as it gets right now. 

I believe someone has mentioned the 180 to you before. I do honestly believe it would be beneficial to you, because it will allow you to focus on yourself and your needs, rather than what he is or is not doing.

In all honesty (and I am very obviously a BS), I don’t think ‘giving him one month to decide’ is going to change anything except for keeping you in limbo for one more month. I could maybe see it happening IF he was no contact with the OW and was spending that time focusing on himself, but certainly not if the affair is ongoing. Of course, this is my opinion only and things are going to be different for each person. 


Indeed I'm not taking his seeing a psychologist as a sign that he is comitteed to working on the marriage - for me it is a sign that he is committed to finding a way for himself out of the mess he's in. Deciding what he wants to do. 

I am aware that in 1 session I can't expect him to reach a decision. But in 2 weeks I MUST be able to see him take SERIOUS steps towards me and away from OW.  
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jasmine
Strength1, I would also agree that sometimes there are very complex issues that are rooted in early life experiences and that these issues can manifest either later in life or, more commonly, affect someone’s ability to form healthy attachments from adolescence onwards. 

My husband fell into porn addiction which progressed further along the sexual addiction spectrum. He was exceptionally skilled at concealing not only his behaviour but even his interest eg in live sexual entertainment. This is the ‘skill’ of compartmentalisation. That there was a whole aspect of himself (his sexuality) that he was ultimately able to wall off and keep separate from the relationship. Just to make it clear, once upon a time we’d had a very healthy, mutually satisfying sexual relationship. As far as I could tell, it couldn’t be better. Nothing else was ever going to come close. And I was right. But, my husband couldn’t see that. The exact point when it started going wrong is difficult for me to pinpoint because I don’t know what was going on in his head. I would have said that it was having 24 hour access to free pornography on the internet that changed everything big time, because that was when the porn addiction proper began BUT as I later found out, he had been going to topless bars and strip shows on and off right from the beginning, and buying porn in the days before it was free. There was also a sexual infidelity early on which I didn’t learn about for some time and which I’d never have expected. My gut alerted me to ‘something’ and I’d had a hunch that he’d not been faithful, but I really didn’t suspect who and when. 

The fact is, I would have said the same as you. Best friends, soulmates etc, and that I knew him so well that I’d “just know” if something was going on. But guess what? I didn’t. More fool me. He was so expert in compartmentalisation and I trusted him absolutely. After the porn habit became ingrained he no longer was interested in having sex with me. So the compartmentalisation became even stronger, after which he could potentially “hide” a lot more from me. We had a totally sexless marriage that went on for years, so go figure. To this day I don’t know the whole story. 

Going back to his early life, his family background was one of alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide and child sexual abuse.  He wasn’t able to develop meaningful attachments. He didn’t learn the skills of good communication — not surprising as his family had ‘secrets’ especially due to the stigma of psychiatric illness in those days. He’s very good at presenting a good impression of the nice guy, the smart guy etc but he doesn’t want anyone to really know him well. If I asked him a question after d day about something personal, he’d try and work out what I wanted to hear and give me a politician’s answer— carefully chosen words that say the ‘right’ thing but don’t answer the question properly. He would employ any strategy to avoid being honest, from “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know what you’re talking about” to a full on tantrum if I was persistent. Anything to avoid telling the truth. 

It was only after d day that I learned that my husband wasn’t who I thought he was. It wasn’t just his behaviour — that was the easy part to come to terms with. It was the shock of learning he had a double life (by that I mean I gained insight into what he had compartmentalised), and all the lies and deception that went with it. As I said, I thought I knew him inside out. I didn’t know him very well at all in some respects. That’s why I advise you to ask him whether there have been any other infidelities of any kind. Someone who can compartmentalise as well as your husband can, and have an affair with another woman for two years before telling you, does not learn this skill overnight.
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hurting
I hope for your sake and the sake of your marriage that he is wanting to see the psychologist in order to find himself again. 

What I fear is that he sees it as a way to win back your trust. You mentioned you had suggested some psychologists to him. I worry that this is another way for him to ‘show’ you (as you have said) that he wants to work in the marriage. Showing you he wants to work on the marriage is a good thing. But WS who are still involved in an affair are proving by definition that they AREN’T working on the marriage period. They’re still invested in someone else. That is where it becomes more of a gesture that he knows he can use to buy some more time (by doing the ‘right’ thing in doing as you suggested and finding a psychologist). As opposed to doing the only thing that can truly help salvage your marriage and ending the affair and ongoing contact.

In the end, I truly hope you are right and my suspicions are wrong, and he is just going about the start of the reconciliation process in a very poor way. 

Each of our situations are different. I know my WS saw a psychologist sure, partly to deal with his issues, but certainly a large part of the reason was it was something I wanted to see him do and it was a means to try to regain my trust (more this than for his own benefit). He persisted and went for about a year. I don’t think it is necessarily one way or the other, but it would not have mattered if he had seen a psychologist if he was still continuing the affair. THAT is the most telling thing of all, and the one thing that must cease for any hope of reconciliation to occur.

like Jasmine, I too thought I knew my WS better than anyone else in the world. I do. But it STILL turns out that I didn’t know him well at all. He is an expert at compartmentalisation (a skill that I am no stranger to myself), but I do not lose sight of who I am in order to create an entirely new persona in the midst of compartmentalising! My WS created a double life for himself (as I’m sure many WS do) where our life together was totally seperate and didn’t exist in that little deranged fantasy world. I would’ve sworn he would never do something like this. Ever. Clearly I was very very wrong...
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strength1
Hurting,

he has been wanting to go to a psychologist for some time but didn’t. My understanding is that he wasn’t ready to hear what he might say.  For the same reason, he has been unwilling to seek online help through reading, although he usually reads up about EVERYTHING before he does or buys anything.  I also sent him, on his request, an Esther Perel podcast on relationships and infidelity, and it took him a couple of weeks to listen to it because, by his own admission he “couldn’t face it”.

i don’t hope that his decision to see a psychologist is because he wants to reconcile. No not at all.  My hope is that the psychologist will be a first step for him to get out of the deep hole he’s dug himself (his words).
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hurting
In that case, I truly hope this will be the opportunity for him to face his demons and deal with his issues. Certainly why he went down such a path needs to be addressed in order to move forward, and to gain some measure of understanding of why he has chosen to make such poor decisions.

IMO this is a separate issue to continuing an affair. I can see however, how this might be all hopelessly tangled in his head. Perhaps he cannot even understand himself. That does not mean he doesn’t know what the ‘right’ choice to make is (really, this isn’t rocket science). Only that he is reticent for whatever reason to make that choice.

Hopefully this will be enlightening for him.

In the meantime, his ongoing poor choices takes their toll on you, and you and this marriage continue to pay the price for his affair..

look after yourself, and guard your heart closely. He has yet to show you he is safe for you 🙁 hopefully he will one day.
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strength1
Correct.  He thinks she’s the love of his life, I suppose. Limerence, true love, who knows. He did tell me a couple of times that he has his doubts, but I suppose she makes him feel good about himself, a new him.

no, he doesn’t understand himself - he told me this.  He looks at himself and asks what the hell am I doing? He is completely lost in his head.  And if you knew him, how stable he has been in every sense ever since I know him, you really would wonder what chemicals are working in his head.
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UrbanExplorer
Yes, I did three kinds of therapy in the space between D-day and going no contact with my AP six months later. First was couples counseling, which was a total disaster. I wasn't able to repair my marriage when I didn't even know if I wanted it, and the pressure to do so made me feel trapped. Next was individual counseling with a psychologist, which was somewhat helpful in starting to pull myself out of shame and panic. However, the therapist will not tell someone to stay in a marriage or to go. It's about figuring out what you want, and I didn't know what I wanted. The third kind of therapy was discernment counseling with my BS, and it was very helpful. I'll admit that I went into it sort of hoping it would help my BS get on board with a separation, but it ended up really putting our marriage into a life history context and my affair into a life and marriage history context and seeing things from a macro perspective that was very helpful to both of us. We ended up starting over as friends almost, taking it slow but deciding jointly and clearly that we were in fact going to stay married.
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strength1
"Next was individual counseling with a psychologist, which was somewhat helpful in starting to pull myself out of shame and panic. However, the therapist will not tell someone to stay in a marriage or to go. It's about figuring out what you want, and I didn't know what I wanted." 

Thank you UrbanExplorer. So I take it that by the time you went to discernment couseling you knew you wanted to stay in the marriage? Or else, what moved you from individual counseling to discernment counseling?
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