UrbanExplorer
I came across this post by Tim, and it resonated:

http://www.affairhealing.com/fake-forgiveness.html

My BS didn't want to know many affair details (has since learned some of them), immediately said he forgave me on DDay, and continues to say he forgives me and tries to woo me. However, any time I attempt a serious discussion about our ongoing marital problems and whether or not our marriage should continue, he unleashes anger and says the most awful things to me about the affair. Thus, as I would expect after 4 months, he hasn't actually moved past it like he claims.

How do I handle this? I feel manipulated by him into staying in the home but also very guilty, like how could I possibly consider separating from someone who claims to forgive such a large offense? All along, our marriage has involved smoothing over problems and pretending they aren't there.
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Fionarob
UrbanExplorer - your situation seems all back-to-front!!  Usually it is the WS who wants to move on and not discuss, and the BS who want to continue to ask questions and know what is going to be done to heal the marriage. 

It does sound like your husband is using the affair as a way of not having to address other issues in the marriage.  If he is always throwing it back at you whenever you try to bring these issues up, then he is just using it to avoid looking any deeper into the marriage. 

Just because he claims to have forgiven you does not mean you are obliged to stay in an unhappy marriage.  From my own perspective as a BS, I wanted to learn from my husband's affair and use it to try and make our marriage stronger and better.  There would be no point in just going back to how things were.  I would not have expected to just say "I forgive you" but then do nothing else.  We would have been no better off than before.

Smoothing over problems and pretending they aren't there is how my husband also likes to operate, and I think I am guilty of it too.  I would be very surprised if your husband has totally forgiven you after 4 months - for me it is an ongoing process.  I am also surprised he doesn't really want any details - for me this was essential to my healing process, but I guess everyone is different.

I know I have read some of your posts before but can't remember if you have had marriage counselling? Is your husband open to that?  This would be a good chance for you to discuss all your issues and underlying problems still present in the marriage.  It will also help your husband to see that maybe he hasn't really forgiven you.  I am a BS, so I understand his pain.  But I also know that by taking the WS back you have to accept that you cannot throw the affair back at them whenever it suits you.  There eventually has to be a mutual agreement to work on the marriage and do what is best for both of you to move forward together.
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UrbanExplorer
We did marriage counseling for 6 weeks before the counselor suggested moving to individual psychotherapy (which we both do separately every week). The marriage counseling was not helpful at the time, as I was under so much pressure to recommit and was basically faking it myself out of guilt and shame because the affair had just come to light. I think we will start marriage counseling again but start at the point of ambivalence and a need to discuss what it would look like if we separated. I struggle with that conversation at home and feel like a third party would help sort it out. Otherwise, home life is pretending everything is OK or him crying and shouting when I mention we are not OK.
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Heidi
We waited for around 6 months before starting MC. It worked for us because I think until that point there was too much individual recovery and soul searching to do (for both of us). I think it's okay to be honest and say that you're not sure if you want this marriage. It hurts like hell, but not as much as an affair does.

Your home life sounds traumatic UE. I hope you can find a way through.
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UrbanExplorer
I just contacted a different marriage and family counselor than the first one we saw. He recommended discernment counseling since one if us is leaning in to the marriage while the other is leaning out. It sounds like a good idea. Has anyone done this kind of counseling?
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Fionarob
I hadn't heard of discernment counselling so I read up about it - it sounds like it could really help your situation.

I think it would have been very beneficial if my husband and I had received this sort of counselling.  I think my husband has also felt obliged to stay in the marriage because I was willing to forgive him, and it was the right thing to do etc.  Early on, he didn't really want to come back to me, he wanted to run off with his AP, he felt there was nothing left in our marriage.  But he didn't tell me that, he just pretended that he wanted to come back.

Now, two and a half years later, he has failed to let his AP go and I think he is still undecided about what he wants.  Sometimes I wonder if he was just honest and said "I don't want to be married to you anymore" we could have all moved on with our lives by now.  Instead, my life has been a constant nightmare of putting 100% into fixing the marriage and finding out he's still having his affair.  Every time I discover it he claims he doesn't want to leave. 

I think we are both now in the situation where we don't know what we want or what to do.
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snoopy08
UrbanExplorer, our situations are so similar, it makes me feel a little better than I'm not the only one going through this! I have never heard of discernment counseling. What is it?
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TimT
UrbanExplorer wrote:
I just contacted a different marriage and family counselor than the first one we saw. He recommended discernment counseling since one if us is leaning in to the marriage while the other is leaning out. It sounds like a good idea. Has anyone done this kind of counseling?

Discernment Counseling is an excellent option for couples in this situation (where one partner is "leaning out" of the marriage/relationship). Regular couples counseling is ineffective because the partners do not have a common goal. The goal of short-term Discernment Counseling is to help each individual move toward a healthy choice. At the end of the process (usually anywhere from 1-5 sessions), the hope is for a clear decision to be made: either to end the relationship, or to commit to a period (usually 6 months) of committed focus on the relationship and then re-evaluating. 

If you want to find a Discernment Counselor in your area, try searching here: DiscernmentCounseling.com/locate-a-professional
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UrbanExplorer
Our first session is in a week.
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