Dear Dr. Romance:
I have been married for 15 years. At the present time we are seeing a Marriage counselor for our really rocky marriage. I know its going to take some time. We are working on trust, understanding, caring, appreciation, and a few others, all the essentials of a marriage. But a new problem surfaced. I am having a really hard time with the fact that my husband has been hanging out with a female coworker and I caught him at the movies with her. She is also married, and I think they they became emotionally attached. Is there such thing as an emotional affair? How do I bring this up to the counselor. Does it sound like the marriage and counseling is working for us?
Since my husband did deny being at the movies, but he couldn't get out of this one since I caught him there. He confessed the rest. But he swears nothing sexual happened, at this point it is hard to take anything he says at face value. Should I confront the other woman? I mean in a civil way of course. Maybe she may be aware of it through my husband, but would she back off if I told her
where she stands? My husband is willing to drop her as a friend. He promised me, but I've read enough stories on this, and I'm scared to loose this battle we have been fighting for 5 years now with his alcohol addiction. He says the only reason he accepted her as friend is because both of them were going through problems in their marriage. But I don't believe that either. How can two people of the opposite sex and married become close friends? I think this women has different intentions. And is my husband lying to me? Please help me out.
Turning to his family for emotional support is not an option, they stopped talking to me 4 months ago, since he went into detox for his alcoholism plus he was telling them that he was very unhappy in our marriage. His sister and mom only call him at work or on his cell phone, the one his dad got for him. They constantly want to know what is going on in our lives now. I asked him not to confide in them about our problems. But he blabbers all our problems to them and keeps them up to date. My family is supportive and my parents don't get involved. If I want them to know anything, I tell them, sure they ask how I'm doing but never ask how is everything between my husband and I. Its up to me not to let them know everything. Only when I'm feeling really depressed and down on the dumps.
It's difficult for me to tell, when I don't know you or your husband, how serious this problem is, or if it's a problem at all. You say your marriage has been really rocky, and that is the type of situation that tempts a man to stray. His going to the movies with this other woman is not so bad in itself, but lying to you about it is a very bad sign. I would definitely tell the counselor what you found out. How did you catch him? If you were suspicious, and trying to catch him, that says something about what your intuition is telling you. Listen to it.
Addiction usually involves a lot of lying, so if your husband is addicted, he may be very practiced at it, and he may also be lying to himself. Hopefully, your counselor is familiar with the problems of addiction, and has encouraged your husband to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. You would greatly benefit from attending Al-Anon, for spouses of Alcoholics. You'll learn a lot about all these issues, and what to do about them. I'm not sure how your husband could really break off his friendship with this woman, if she is a co-worker. In addition to marriage counseling, I think you could use the support and guidance of therapy for yourself. Ask your counselor for an individual appointment, or a referral. It seems that you have set yourself against his family, which is not a good idea. You need them to support your marriage, not help it disintegrate. "Mirrors and Teachers" will help you interact better with his family members.
The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs has the exercises and information you and your husband need to deal with the fallout effects of addiction and recovery.
For low-cost counseling, email me at email@example.com
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.