Infidelity is one of the most hurtful things that can develop in an unhealthy relationship. Can a Marriage Counselor help a couple get through and overcome such an upsetting event?
In most cases yes, but there are two ‘but’: first, the underlying causes and the unhealthy aspects of the relationship need to be addressed. Second, in the course of working through the Marriage Counseling process, the starting place usually is not with the marital relationship but the individual’s personal relationship with themselves.
K., a mother of two, had been in a relationship with her husband for 5 years; he had been unfaithful many times during the course of their relationship. Recently she discovered that he had a 1-month-old baby to another woman the result of one instance of his infidelital behavior. “We are still together but I am finding it difficult to deal with. I know he wants to see his son and he does so very often. I don’t have a problem with him seeing his son. It’s the lady I have a problem with. She had no respect for our marriage; neither did he come to think of it. I don’t trust her and after all he’s put me through I don’t trust him to be alone with her either.” K. started to explain.
K. was starting to open up and I’m certain, not-realizing it, that subconsciously she was telling me exactly what her problem was even though she didn’t fully realize it herself at the time. As K. continued the true underlying issue became more apparent. “Yesterday my husband came home with his hair done differently. When I questioned him about it, he told me his baby’s mother did it!” She exclaimed in obvious exasperation. “I'm not sure how to deal with this at all. They are obviously still friends I can only assume because of the baby but how can I be sure that’s all it is. I don’t think that he should allow her to do his hair. I already have enough reminders of his infidelity.”
K. finished off by expressing her concern for where his continued relationship with the baby’s mother would lead. “I know the problem is the mistrust I have for him. I wonder if I’m being unreasonable about this; it’s just a haircut.”
At this point K. stopped. I remember a childlike look of hope in her eyes as she sat there waiting for my response. It seemed she was trying to convince both herself and me that that’s all it really was, ‘just a haircut’. I knew as a Life Coach and Marriage Counselor that it was not just a ‘hair-cut’. There is unfortunately no easy way of telling someone that.
Being sympathetic and trying to make her realize what she already knew deep inside I answered her as kindly as the circumstances allowed. “No, I do not think that the mistrust issue between you and your husband is the real trouble here. The major issue is the disrespect that you have towards yourself. You do not see yourself as strong, independent and well deserving of a true relationship.”
Having approached the subject as conservatively as possible I continued. “You sound very immature and very insecure; possibly both. It sounds like you have an ‘Empowerment Issue’, lacking the capacity to challenge traditional forces (your husband’s marriage lifestyle) now that it has suppressed your personal belief system.”
As both a Psychologist and Life Coach my therapeutic recommendation therefore was that she absolutely needed to restructure the way choices are being made in her marriage life. “Be a model of a good leader and a responsible parent to your kids. Show them that they should not at any time accept to be treated as the second best.” I told her.
The art and the science here is to accomplish this restructuring in a way that the Relationship Advice not only occurs without harming the marital equilibrium but also strengthens it. Many husbands do enjoy an empowered partner. My advice to K. therefore followed my theoretical approach; I knew she needed to empower herself very quickly, in order to be able to create a loving happy relationship for herself. I found no better way than to say loud and clear: “Just grow up!” I then advised her further in very concrete terms: “this meant that within 24 hours you either force your husband to start Marriage Counseling process with you or kick him out with no delay. Either you or her! Do not now worry about visitation procedure, since they could be worked out, once the counseling process starts!”
Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Online Counseling on Behavioral issues and Small Business Advice Provider regarding efficiency and effectiveness. Online Counseling And Small Business Advice