I have been separated for 1 1/2 years. My husband was unemployed during our marriage of 2 1/2 years. He left his last job in Los Angeles and relocated to be with me (San Francisco where we got married. )He is now employed – a good paying job. He wants to live with me and start over. Before the separation he was fantasizing about another women who was a friend.We went to marriage counseling and the counselor described it as an emotional affair. I even caught my husband with this women out togther 1 week after our separation. He claims they are just friends.It’s been 1 1/2 years. The other women has been out of the picture for 1 1/4 years. He has been great to me. Now he wants to live together. My question is: Is this an abusive relationship if I decide to live with him again?I still love him. I come from a family who would never put up with this type of behavior, well educated – doctors. I want to make sure I am not making another mistake. So many friends I have claim that things will not change. My self-esteem was hurt more than his, more deeply, than his.My counselor says I should do what I want. (of course) But deep down inside I don’t think this is right. I’m just asking for an objective opinion.I have been seeing someone 10 months. Casually. He travels a lot, which helps since we were both hurt in past relationships. We both find it diffulcult to get involve. Yet we are still dear friends, and with time I believe we could become better friends.But I feel that the marriage is the priority. I’m trying to do the right thing! Please help shed light on this subject. I have seen a counselor but she is too unopinionated. Regards
It sounds like you are suffering from what is called a superego (or conscience) resistance. This means that your conscience is pushing you to do what you think is right (give this marriage another chance) when your heart and your reason seems to be telling you to think more than twice about getting back with your ex. .We need to talk to the part of you that wants to act in your best interest. This is the part of your psyche that worries if this is an abusive relationship if you decide to live with him again. I think you are saying that you felt abused by him the last time around and you are fearful of setting yourself up for more abuse if you decide to resume a relationship with him.If this question comes to your mind, then we must assume that you sense that you would feel abused again. And that feeling needs to be heard and respected. So let’s clarify what made you feel abused the first time around.It is very important that you identify what specifically made you feel abused. To figure this out, stop asking your friends, which only confuses you, and simply examine your own feelings. Bottom line, it isn’t for anyone else but you to say whether you were abused by this man.What I am not clear on is why you felt abused. Was it his not working for so long when you felt that he was fully capable of doing so? Or did you feel abused by his ’emotional affair?’Let’s take a moment to talk about this ’emotional affair.’ We need to make a distinction here between feelings and actions. It is 100% normal to feel attracted to many people.Marriage doesn’t stop these natural feelings, and you can’t expect that a spouse would never feel attraction to anyone but you. What you can expect is complete faithfulness (unless you have an open marriage). That is, you can expect that your partner does not act on his feelings for someone else.It isn’t clear to me whether had a problem with your husband ‘s mere feelings of attraction for another woman or whether you were upset because you felt that his feelings went into action–by his having a sentimental or actual affair.It would be good to clarify exactly what you objected to. Mere feelings of attraction are quite different than an overt violation of the marital vows. In the end, I think you will simply conclude that your emotional needs weren’t being met by him, and as a result, you didn’t feel safe and secure in his love.So, in answer to your question, would you be setting yourself up for abuse if you were to take him back, yes you would unless you communicate what would need to change in order for you to feel cared for and safe with him this time around. You will need to also be assured that he understands what made you feel mistreated and he needs to give you a strong sense that he will be different this time around.In order to give you this kind of assurance, he will need to examine why he was so vulnerable to developing an attachment to someone else. Know that he will never be immune to the sex appeal of another attractive person.However, if there is something lacking in the marriage, from his point of view, he will be vulnerable to forming another extramarital emotional attachment. At this point, you need to focus away from finger pointing (he abused me) and start looking at what went wrong for both of you in this marriage.If you only focus on what he did and how he abused you, you will miss the bigger picture which is to find out what was missing in the marriage for both of you. Whenver one partner falls into an extramarital attachment, both partners need to honestly examine how each of you contributed to the break-down of your connection. If you both can ask this question and discover what made the relationship not work, then you have a chance to reestablish a bond that won’t be abusive to you or unfulfilling for him.I hope I have answered your question.