Hi Dr. Love….Thank you for having this forum available for advice I sure appreciate it and could use it right now.My husband and I have been married a year in June and been together for 3 years total. I am the second relationship he’s had both emotionally and physically/sexually. He’s 37 and I’m 34. I continue to find questionable numbers or e-mail chats that have a sexual tone in them. This breaks my heart and at the same time I truly understand that he may have this need to experience other women (not so much for love but more for the sexual experience.)I’ve had my share and have absolutely no interest to wander from my guy. In fact, I wish I had only been with two people my whole life it probably would have saved my feeling less about myself because I know now I was only a fxxx (sorry).It has not happened only once. He refuses to admit or discuss my feelings about what has happened. I feel totally unwanted, unsexy and not the person he is sharing the best part of himself with. (These feelings of mine began about a year a ago and I find myself almost obsessed with the fact I’m not what he wants right now or whom he thinks about and this breaks my heart.)We’re waiting to get our first counseling appointment but he’s been clear that past issues such as these should not be the focus. Once again this only makes me feel I have to fight for the right of my feelings being understood.Please give my anything you can…help me understand more of his (and a man’s side) as well as maybe some alternatives for resolution.I sincerely thank you for your time and response.JJ
I understand that your heart has been broken by your husband’s behavior. He is symbolically cheating on you. No wonder you’re hurt. You asked me to help you understand him. In order to understand him and his actions, we need to understand you better. When we understand you, his actions will make sense and we will know what needs to be done to solve this problem.First, I want you to realize that you are sending him mixed messages. On the one hand you are heartbroken by his outside involvement, however, you say in your letter,’it’s absolutely normal that he experiences other women…not so much for love but for the sexual experience.’ Can you see that your tolerant attitude on this subject sends your hubbie green lights to behave as he’s been behaving?You need to examine why you are so willing to give him permission to cheat on you. You said you have a low self-esteem and, I suspect guilt feelings, over your previous sexual involvements.Is it possible that you are unconsciously trying to atone for your ‘sins’ by allowing him to catch up with you? Or, are you arranging to get punished by him for whatever you did before?If you do nothing else, find out why you would encourage your husband to explore with other women? If guilt and shame are fueling your permissive attitude, then you need to work these feelings through, not encourage him to engage in an enactment through which you get emotionally tortured by him.Until you understand why you are giving him the green lights to ‘cheat’ on you, he will never stop doing so.Not only has your husband received the message that he may indulge his sexual fantasies, he also seems to have the idea that he can gag your emotions.–he told you may not discuss how you feel about his behavior in the joint sessions.Where does he get off telling you what you may and may not feel and what you may and may not talk about? This man is psychologically torturing you and then tells you to shut up!Here me now. No matter how guilty you feel over your past behavior, no one has the right to mistreat you and gag your feelings. Having an internet affair with another women and then telling you to eat your feelings is mistreatment. No ifs ands or buts.I want you to memorize what I call your Emotional Bill of Rights. You should feel like your husband’s number one girl. Your feelings should be welcomed, respected and understood. Your mate should be interested in the effect his behavior has on you.You are a kind and generous women. Even in your pain you want to reach out to him and understand his point of view. He is hurting you and refusing to hear you out, and still you want to give to him. You are a pearl.But, keep in mind, that your generosity to him reads like you are wiping yourself out. Until you entitle yourself to receive your God given Emotional Bill of Rights, he will continue to dump on you. As long as you give him the message that you condone his behavior, he will continue to dump on you. As long as you put his feelings ahead of yours, he will continue to dump on you.Even though you said you want to understand him, I think that your solution to this mess is to understand yourself better (examine your own guilt and watch for ways in which you encourage or condone his mistreatment). You don’t need to worry so much about taking care of his feelings. He seems quite capable of seeing that his own needs and feelings are tended to.As for the plan of action for you both. The focus of your joint sessions should be:1) helping you to entitle yourself to be treated better;2) teaching him to listen to your feelings;3) helping him understand the effect his behavior has on you;4) telling him that enacting his sexual urges in the way he is is destructive of you and the marriage and that it must stop. (You can only take this firm stand when you have worked through the feelings inside yourself that have caused you to encourage his behavior. Don’t put a limit on him unless you mean it 100%.);5) His behavior is a symbolic communication to you and you both need to explore what he is telling you. (Ask him how he wants you to feel about what he’s doing, and how he wants you to interpret his actions);6) Examine what his actions are saying about how he feels about you and the marriage. (He must learn to put his feelings into words not destructive actions.);7) And, finally, you both need to find a nondestructive way to resolve what is missing for him in the marriage. If a lack of sexual experience or variety is one of the missing elements for him, then you must work to find a way to satisfy his urge for sexual variety within the relationship with you (videos, role playing, whatever.)My best wishes to you. Please let me know what happens.