Being True To Yourself – The Ultimate Life Change

QUESTION

My husband of 11 years is in counseling and recently revealed that he has been doing what everyone (mother, father, me, etc.) had wanted him to and it was time for him to start being himself. I said this is great but I’m left feeling betrayed (numb is more like it), like I don’t know who I married – I’m a work in progress but I’ve always been true to myself. What do I do now, things hadn’t been going that well between us for a number of reasons but I feel like he’s just finished us off.

ANSWER

VICKI:
Stop and take a deep breath. I understand that you feel betrayed and that is because you perceive your husband as having lied to you through your marriage. This is not the case. I doubt his intentions were to deceive; he was doing what he thought, at the time, to be the right thing. I believe he was acting in a way he felt was morally and ethically right; working at being the best husband and son that he could be.

It’s not uncommon for people to follow the belief system and teachings they were raised with and then in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s discover that it isn’t working for them and they’re not happy. Believe it or not he’s in the majority of the population. As a psychotherapist I hear it all the time.

You need to consider that the reasons things haven’t been going well between your husband and yourself may have been due to his unhappiness with his life. It’s difficult to be supportive to the one you love when you have no clue as to how to be supportive to yourself. It’s also not uncommon for someone in this situation to become paralyzed and not function productively, therefore letting things slide. The good news is that the changes he makes may make all the difference in your relationship.

You are an articulate and intelligent woman and you need to realize that your husband’s past actions were born out of love not malice. The person that you married is still the same in his heart and soul; he is only looking to find the congruency with his actions. He is presently being very honest with you and most importantly himself.

If you have completely given up due to his past lack of support then there may be nothing left for you to salvage on your end. That is for you to acknowledge and claim responsibility for if it is true. Yet you must understand that if that is the case then this time it is your negativity of the situation that is finishing you off and not his.

To make this decision stop listening to the story you are telling yourself in your head and listen to your heart; the truth lies there.

JILL:
When we are in a relationship, somewhere along the way we tend to forget that we are not our roles/titles but are in fact an individual that is living, sharing & loving with another individual. I must therefore echo Vicki’s words, it was not your ‘husbands’ intention to deceive, he probably sincerely believed that he was being himself. But he is human, so time and life’s experiences have come together in such a way that he now realizes that he is not the person that he wants to be.

Let him take his journey and I would encourage you to give a lot of thought to your own, not as a wife but also as a woman. What do you want at this point in your life and where do you want to be as the years progress?

As you both discover the persons that you are now, you will be able to see if those two individuals can re-connect in your marriage or if you need to go in different directions.

Dealing With Adultery & The Loss Of A Mother

QUESTION

I was reading your site about adultery. My husband has had personal ads on sex websites for a couple of years now. I keep forgiving him, and he keeps doing it. He even carries condoms in his work bag. He knows I know they are there, but won’t get rid of them. I even confronted him about them; at first, there were six and now there are three. Did he use three? I confronted him again, and he says he masturbates with them. At work? I feel he is cheating on me, and doesn’t care what I think. Also, I think he wants me around financially and to help take care of his 14 yr son. I am so hurt and tired of trying. Emotionally I’m exhausted.

On top of all this, I just lost my mom to cancer a few months ago and I’m trying to heal from this. I know you can’t tell me what to do, but can you tell me what you think? Thank you for listening.

ANSWER

VICKI:
My condolences on your loss.

So much has taken place in your life that it’s no wonder you are exhausted. You have a lot on your mind.

You are a a place where you need to make many decisions about what is good for you at this time.

You need to be the priority in your own life presently – you must take care of you. Please do find a therapist to work this out with. After the loss of your mother and all the emotions that go with that, you need someone to help you sort through your thoughts and emotions, so you can make the right decisions for yourself, including when it comes to your marriage. It’s too big to do alone.

If you’re not ready for that step yet then please do some journaling to get your thoughts and feelings out. Holding all that in your body can only lead to a compromised immune system and illness.

Make your first step a commitment to your health and well-being.

JILL:
As a life coach, I would first like to address your emotional exhaustion that has been exacerbated by the death of your mother. You should not try to work through your marital situation while you are in that condition.

Here are some suggestions that are just for you & for your well being.

Try to get away for awhile, to give yourself some time to start both the process of healing and renewal. There are wonderful women’s retreats being offered, do you or a friend own a cabin that you can go to or is there someone that you can visit? Maybe there is a friend or family member with whom you feel safe and relaxed enough to stay with for a few days? If none of these suggestions are feasible, seek out a grief support group or counselor or if there is a spiritual or religious connection that strengthens you now is the time to reach out.

At life’s most difficult times our instincts usually tell us the truth before our hearts are willing to accept what is happening. As hard as it is, try to look at the facts objectively. A personal ad on a sex site is placed because someone is looking for a response. It has been two years & he continues to ignore your feelings. He takes condoms to work and (or) he masturbates at work. Neither is within the scope of what a married man should be doing.

You write ‘I keep forgiving him’, ‘I confronted him, again’ and ‘I am so tired of trying’. You deserve to be treated with love and respect. Marriage is not based on the money that you bring in or roles such as being a step mom. It is about how you are treated as a women and a wife and how you feel about yourself within the relationship. It is about your feelings for your partner. Do you still feel love, respect and trust for him?

I believe that you already have the truth inside yourself and what is needed is the enormous strength that it takes to do what is right for you. I hope that you find it, as well as the time & peace that you require to grieve the mother you have lost.