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My husband had a 3 month affair with a long time friend of mine. It has been 4 months, we've studied Dr. Harley's material and are going to counselling. My husband, to my knowledge, has not had contact with the lover; however he is still complimentary, caring and protective when we discuss her. I feel he is more concerned about her than about me and my pain. Is this normal. I filed for divorce when I discovered the affair because he's had a long history of this kind of secretive behavior, but I've never had 100% proof up until now. He wanted to reconcile and my lawyer suggested I put the separation agreement on hold and go to counselling because we've been married for 29 years, and she felt I was too emotional to make a decision that was best for me.

We have done the emotional needs exercises, talked alot about them and he agrees that it should have been me, rather than him having the affair because most of my needs were not being met, nor had they for many years. His only complaint was not enough sex and not enough affection. I pointed out to him that you cannot show affection or have sex with someone who is never home and spends no time with you.

In an attempt to come to grips with the "why" I read a book which identified 7 types of affairs, the key points in each type and the characteristics of a person who would have such an affair. One in particular seemed 99% bang on.
I typed out the key points and characteristics and asked my husband to answer them honestly. He rated them on a scale of 1 - 10 (10 being definitely applied to him). What's frightening for me is the points he applied an 8 or 9 to:

* Sex takes on an inflated role or value. Sex, sexual conquest, sexual release becomes a powerful force. Thinking about sex consumes an inordinate amount of time. Multiple way of acting out sexually (i.e. porn) are common.

* The person seeks quality - someone who is perceived to be beautiful, attractive, alluring.

* The person usually experiences a degree of guilt and conflict. He is often married to a good person and the desire to find that loving feeling seems selfish (which it is) and immature (which it is). Intuitively he knows on another level that he is not on the right path, but disregards this because he selfishly wants what he wants.

* This person may use the phrase, "I love you" (but I'm not "in-love" with you). He may truly like you and depend on your stability, goodness, contribution to the marriage and your understanding. The thought of losing that may keep him connected with you. He may feel very badly about this "inability" to love you and his "inability" NOT to love the other person. He may profess sadness for hurting you, but as you know he has no control. His feelings drive him. This concern for you indicates his superficial understanding of relationships.

* His feelings of being "in love" with the other person will fade quickly if the heat is on and his spouse might suspect something is going on because reality sets in and he doesn't want to lose everything he's got at home.

* This person cannot effectively deal with confrontation in a marriage. He is unable to express himself fully and wants more but doesn't know how to get more.

* One part of him feels pulled toward the marriage where he finds familiarity and stability. Another part feels pulled toward the other person where he believes he can find excitement.

* He says he wants to stay married, but wants to be able to be her (the lover's) friend to.

* exhibits secretive behaviors

* Experiences internal guilt which may emerge as remorse after being found out (promises never to do that again).

* Can talk his way out of any situation. Has the charisma and charm and comes across as totally believable.

* Can be very seductive, flirtatious and a tease. Likes to be around those of the opposit sex.

NOW ... knowing these things does not give me any confidence in our future. I have asked him to discuss this with his counsellor and he's told me it is his business and he will do it in his own good time -- I'm not a therapist. Being in counselling with him, it is obvious to me that he does not want to go there. He is quite different with the counsellor than he is at home with me. My fear is that he does not want help but is just going because it was one of the conditions of reconciliation. He has in the past lied about everything and anything to protect himself.
Is it even possible that any of these characteristics/tendencies can change? He says this will never happen again because he doesn't want to go through this kind of trauma again, but what about down the road, once he's smoothed things over? Any advice. Can he change? Would you stay in this marriage knowing the above things about your spouse?

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Every BS fears that the WS will have another A. I too was in your position, and some of the listed characteristics fit my H. I finally had to come to a place where I turned it over to the Lord. If he has another A, it WILL come out. But in the meantime, my girls will have a "stable" family unit for a bit longer, whereas if I had jumped into a divorce after his A based on what I see as character weaknesses, my children would be emotional messes right now. Once I made the decision not to worry over his character flaws so much, I was able to let go of what the "experts" say and turn it over to the true expert, the expert that can mold my FWH, the expert that can place my FWH in situations that can modify his character, and of course that expert it God Almighty.

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You can paranoid yourself to death trying to figure out the chances of a future affair.

If you want to do comparisons then some authors say up 60% of all married men have or will have an affair....but then again they say as high 45% of women will too.

Men are more likely to have affairs period. In large part because of the shallow nature an affair represents for many men...sex, ego and excitement.

However women are more likely to leave for an affair partner than men.

So you could say he is more likely to have an affair but less likely to leave.

Thing is all those books whether describing characteristics or quoting numbers are describing wayward husbands as a group. They are painting with a very broad brush. Each person is different. Each affair is different. How each couple responds to the affair is different and so on.

How your husband, you and your marriage handle the affair is totally unique from any other marriage.

Many wayward spouse (men and women) find the reality of the affair once exposed akin to a splash of cold water. It wakes them up. They realize many things. One that there marriage is what they wanted all along. Two that they love their betrayed spouse. Three that affairs are fantasy not reality. Four that the cost of the affair in terms of pain, guilt, shame, family upheaval and more is not worth it. Five that by working on the marriage they can have a truly stronger happier marriage.

Others don't get it.

Impossible to predict how you husband will deal with it.

But it is possible to recognize that when both spouse recommitt to making the marriage work the odds of a marriage being happy and affair proof are pretty good.

The key word is both.

Read up on all the many books on dealing with affairs and surviving them. Then read up on how to affair proof your marriage.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> he agrees that it should have been me, rather than him having the affair because most of my needs were not being met, nor had they for many years. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Ironically its pretty common for the betrayed spouse to have more "reasons" to have an affair than the wayward spouse. So when he tells you it was not about you....he is pretty close to being accurate.

You are very early in recovery...but doing great if you are working on each others needs.

Brace yourself for the bumps that are certain to lay ahead but keep doing what you are doing.

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Thank you for your input. I do realize that there will be lots of ups and downs in this reconciliation process and I am prepared to go the distance. My husband says he is, as well, but continues to have little angry outbursts when I ask him questions about the affair. He just wants to put it in the past and focus on the future, which is also what our marriage counsellor wants us to do. I am consciously working on this, but find certain things trigger the feelings (i.e. seeing the lover at a business meeting or her e-mailing me with quotations from the bible or quotations about forgiveness and friendship .. or even her phone calls to me which I do not respond to).

In several message board submissions I have read something about the affair being exposed and that this advice comes from Dr. Harley. I have not read anything in his books that talk specifically about the affair being exposed to other people, just the recognition and acknowledgement of the affair by the WS. Have I missed something? In a situation where the BS and OW see each other or interact during the course of business (where no contact is impossible), should the affair be exposed and for what reasons? My WS and the OW both insist that nobody need know, that it would hurt everyone. The OW even begged me not to tell her children (all over 22 yrs), even though my kids (22 and 34)know and have been extremely hurt and confused by it all.

Besides my WS admission and rating of the key points and characteristics (as pointed out in the first message), he has said on several occasions certain things which lead me to believe that he really doesn't "get it". For instance:

"Most of the men I know are either having an affair or have had affairs and they're happily married". When I ask him if their spouses know, he says "probably not".

"I hate this holier-than-thou" attitude that people have. (refering to certain members of our family that know).

The day after I served him with the affidavit for divorce he called me from his office and said: "I can't believe this. You know what bothers me the most? I work all my life to build an image and I f--- up one time and everything I worked so hard for is gone". The fact is there has been a history of lies and secretive "affairs" (perhaps not sexual), but this is the only time he has not been able to deny it because of the concrete evidence.

"Lots of people have affairs ... both men and women .. look at the stats" "It's not like I murdered someone!"

When I asked him if at any time during the affair, he ever thought about consequences, or what if his spouse found out or what would the kids think if they knew, he said: "No ... NEVER!
It didn't cross my mind."

"I NEVER thought you would do this!" (file for divorce.

He told the OW a week after they were caught: "Just give me a few months. I'll talk to her (me) and she'll calm down. Don't worry about it."

He told the OW when she was worried about someone seeing them together. "Don't worry, I can always explain it away as business".

We are going to see the marriage counsellor tomorrow morning. To give you some history, this marriage counsellor is supposed to be the top one in the City. A month after the affair was exposed, he saw Fred once for an hour, then me once for an hour. The third visit with us both he told Fred that I wanted a divorce and he should cooperate fully, then went about divorce mediation (in terms of establishing property settlement, terms of agreement (business), etc.) He never once had any words of encouragement or hope about reconciling or repairing our marriage. When I confronted him about this, he said he doesn't tell people what to do, because if it doesn't work it comes back on him. It was actually my divorce lawyer who prepared the separation agreement that recommended we both take a time out, go to counselling and see what might happen, rather than throw 27 years of marriage down the drain. She recommended that we stay in marriage counselling if my WS agreed to no contact with the OW and that he get counselling for his personal issues around his compulsive lying, etc. Doesn't this seem backwards?

I am frustrated with the counselor because in one hour every 3 - 4 weeks, we never realy seems to accomplish anything. Last time he told me I didn't really need to know "why" the affair happened ... it doesn't matter --- it only matters what we do from here forward. I believe my husband can't honestly know in his heart and convince me that another affair won't happen unless he knows "why". Does this make any sense?
If this were just about ONE affair or ONE secret liaison or ONE instance of deceipt in our marriage, I believe I could move forward and put this behind us more easily.

My trust and faith in God has been there through the years of our marriage. If it had not been, I would not have hung in there this long. At one point my children were a huge factor in my decision to stay, but my kids are gone now. I tried many times (at least a dozen) during the course of our marriage to get my husband to go to marriage counselling or couples retreats, but he refused, saying he didn't have a problem, but if I did, then I should go.

I want more from my marriage than a "good life" (as my husband talks about). I want and deserve a marriage with a man who truly loves me, is faithful to me, cares and protects me, supports me and puts me as a priority in his life. Dr. Harley refers to couples he has worked with that are happy because both of their LB's are full and they are meeting each other's needs, yet the man can still go back to the OW or have another A two or even five years after the reconciliation. Based on this and all of the above, can you see why I'm worried? I never want to go through this kind of pain and family devastation again.
TAWA

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I am frustrated with the counselor because in one hour every 3 - 4 weeks, we never realy seems to accomplish anything. Last time he told me I didn't really need to know "why" the affair happened ... it doesn't matter --- it only matters what we do from here forward. I believe my husband can't honestly know in his heart and convince me that another affair won't happen unless he knows "why". Does this make any sense?
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">This makes perfect sense. Your H needs to learn the why's of the A or other secretive behavior and you need to know why and be able to discuss the A openly and honestly.

IMO, you need to get another counselor. I would not go back to him.

Take care.

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Ditto getting another counselor. The two of you cannot move forward until you have throughly dealt with the past.

Beau

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">"Lots of people have affairs ... both men and women .. look at the stats" "It's not like I murdered someone!"

</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Okay your husband needs to get his head out of his [censored].

His statement is one of entitlement. Lots of people do drugs its no big deal. Lots of people cheat on their tax returns. Lots of people shoplift......sounds pretty stupid doesn't when phrased with committing a crime.

Lots of people get divorced too...maybe he needs to make that connection.

You need a pro marriage counselor or none at all. Also since your marriage is in crisis (divorce) you need to go once a week not every 3 or 4 weeks.

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I'm the BS in a long-term M. My WH had a PA and an EA 15 years ago. He never figured out why he had done it, so he had another A, lasting almost 2 years, which (supposedly) just ended last week. You are right to be concerned about your H when he tries to justify his A, and when he protects the OW instead of you. He doesn't get it.

Is your H in a power position at his job? If so, he may have a hard time talking about the A because he might have to admit he's wrong. Also, from the statements he made to OW about being able to talk to you and get you to "calm down", I'm wondering if you feel like he controls you in some way.

I agree with the other posters who have suggested you get another counselor, one that is pro-marriage. His actions have hurt you, and his continued reluctance to examine his reasons for having an A will not help with recovery.

I'm curious about the book you referred to in your first post - could you give us the name and author of it? Thanks.

There are some very helpful, wise people on these boards, keep posting.

Lablady

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Thank you all again for your responses. I am going to speak to the counselor about how I feel and what my expectations/needs are. After tomorrow will make a decision on whether or not to change.

Our situation is different than most in that we have our own business and within that business are independent owner/operators (much like a franchise). However all meet twice a week. Because this is not a "job" situation it is not possible to "transfer to another location" or "quit & find another job". My husband is not in a position of authority or control over the OW. My feeling is that other people involved in our business knowing about the affair would hurt the OW more than us. Has anyone ever found advice from Dr. Harley on total exposure of the affair? Do you think this would hurt our reconciliation or help it? It would probably force the OW out of the picture entirely, but if my WS is still in love or attached to her it could also swing him in her direction.

The book I referred to was called Break Free From the Affair.
www.break-free-from-the-affair.com
It was a very interesting read.

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You are right to be concerned.

Why? Because what you are dealing with (In my own opinion) is more than "just" an affair.

Have you read anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

I too have been married 25 years, my husband too has said things such as:

"You won't find a man out there who hasnt' done what I've done"

"I could be worse- I could be like so and so's husband and go out every night and drink etc. etc."

I am finally coming to the conclusion that my husband is not of the "normal" variety- hence nothing seems to work to "change" things.

Your situation sounds so much like my own- lots of EA's over the years- lots of secrecy- lying. the idea that "you" are the one with a problem and you are welcome to go "fix" yourself.

AND the only reason I knew of the PA (lasting 4 months with a bar sl**) was because of concrete proof. Other than that, well, what the old wife doesn't know won't hurt her attitude.

The characteristics shown by the test also match my own husbands. AMD the "I make one mistake blah, blah, blah"

Let me know what you find out about NPD- I am very curious whether or not your husband too fits the profile.

PS lying, manipulation, lack of empathy, seeing no wrong in their behavior are all indicators of NPD- ALSO and this is important- is the ability to con a counselor- these people have a skill that is unsurpassed by the "normal" population.

Best wishes- and yes, I agree you have a long hard road ahead- regardless of where it leads.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by tawa:
<strong> My fear is that he does not want help but is just going because it was one of the conditions of reconciliation. He has in the past lied about everything and anything to protect himself.
</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I'd say that was a valid fear. It doesn't sound like he believes there is anything wrong with your marriage or himself - the only problem was his getting caught in this last affair.

<strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">
He says this will never happen again because he doesn't want to go through this kind of trauma again, but what about down the road, once he's smoothed things over?
</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">So he doesn't want to improve your marriage, meet your needs, rekindle your love - he just wants to make sure he doesn't get caught and thrown into the maelstrom again? Ugh!

<strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Can he change? Would you stay in this marriage knowing the above things about your spouse? </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I believe he absolutely can change. Just like an alcoholic can stop drinking. He needs to recognize the problem, and want to fix it. Without those two ingredients, then no - I don't believe he can change. What you've described is a man who seems to have no understanding of the problem, and no intentions of changing anything.

Would I stay in my own marriage if my H did not seem fully committed to the recovery, self-discovery, and constant attention to our relationship? No, I do not believe I would.

I do encourage you to give it some time though. I'd say it took a full year after our last D-Day for him to really come to grips with his issues in a "gut-feeling" kind of way, and to address them.

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Well, thank you again for your comments. Validation of the way I'm feeling is comforting -- "I'm not crazy afterall!"

The counselor did an about-face in several ways this morning and I actually came away feeling like we're getting somewhere. Next session he wants only my WS, to deal with his personal issues & I think that's a good thing. He said my WS just doesn't "get it" and until that happens, there's no point proceeding with marriage counselling. The counsellor was able to get him to admit to recent dishonesty -- one being his "no feelings or thoughts of anykind" when he saw or spoke to the OW. That was huge for me, and it gives me hope that he is not going to be able to lie to this counselor. The counselor also acknowledged my need to know why -- a my WS's need to know why as well.

Regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Funny you should mention that. My lawyer gave me a book on the first day I went to see her called "Why Is It Always About You?" and suggested to me that my WS was a classic Narcissist. My WS took the book and I found him reading it and making notes before he went to the counsellor. He was able to prepare his own case as to why he wasn't a N, and the counsellor bought in. I did more research & know healthy narcissism is okay, in fact most successful people are healthy N. However the personality disorder goes way beyond healthy. I think my WS is somewhere in the middle. I also know what the prognosis for change is with Narcissists - not good. It will be interesting to see what the counselor concludes.

At least I feel I was clear on what my expectations are of the counselor and what my needs are in terms of deciding whether or not I stay in this marriage.

Again, has anyone read anything in Dr. Harley's material about advice concerning more public exposure of the affair?
TAWA

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TAWA, the purpose of exposure is to help END the affair. If his affair has already ended, it would serve no purpose.

That being said, recovery will not start until ALL CONTACT has ended. No contact is absolutely imperative. Affairs are addictions and as long as there is any contact, recovery cannot begin. Every time he sees her, he goes right back to square 1 and so do you.

And to your original question, I do think that people can change if they really want to and try very hard.

However, honesty is the first step in that process. I don't see a demonstration of honesty in your H's behavior. I see that he wants the heat to go away so he doesn't lose his home, but I don't see evidence of remorse or a committment to change, do you?

Don't you suspect that he has had previous affairs? The prospect of recovery is absolutely hopeless until he quits lying about his past. A marriage cannot be built on a foundation of lies and deceit. And unless he comes clean about all that, I would have to believe that he intends on continuing that lifestyle.

I really wish you could contact the Harley's for counseling. They are absolute geniuses at cutting through the BS. They can often do in 2 sessions what most others can't do in 20. They are well worth the money from what I hear. If I were in your shoes, I would contact them for at least 2 sessions and let them assess your situation and guide you in the right direction.

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Tawa, this link might be very helpful in your situation. It also addresses the importance of Radical Honesty to recovery:

"Never see or communicate with a former lover

Once an affair is first revealed, whether it's discovered or admitted, the victimized spouse is usually in a state of shock. The first reaction is usually panic, but it's quickly followed by anger. Divorce and sometimes even murder are contemplated. But after some time passes (usually about three weeks), most couples decide that they will try to pull together and save their marriage.

The one having an affair is in no position to bargain, but he or she usually tries anyway. The bargaining effort usually boils down to somehow keeping the lover in the loop. You'd think that the unfaithful spouse would be so aware of his or her weaknesses, and so aware of the pain inflicted, that every effort would be made to avoid further contact with the lover as an act of thoughtfulness to the stunned spouse. But instead, the unfaithful spouse argues that the relationship was "only sexual" or was "emotional but not sexual" or some other peculiar description to prove that continued contact with the lover would be okay.

Most victimized spouses intuitively understand that all contact with a lover must end for life. Permanent separation not only helps prevent a renewal of the affair, but it is also a crucial gesture of consideration to someone who has been through hell. What victimized spouse would ever want to know that his or her spouse is seeing or communicating with a former lover at work or in some other activity?

In spite of career sacrifices, friendships, and issues relating to children's schooling, I am adamant in recommending that there be no contact with a former lover for life. For many, that means a move to another state. But to do otherwise fails to recognize the nature of addiction and its cure. "

continued at: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5060_qa.html

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I've read the book Why is it Always About You?- to be honest it only skims the surface of a narcissist-

There are numerous web sites that give a much broader definition and tell tale signs-

I am very curious as to what your counselor says- also, like you, I am curious as to "why" she gave you the book to start with- Do you think she "felt" he might fit the description?

I am not trying to "scare" you- only give you insight as to the "nuts and bolts" of what this personality disorder is.

And yes, it is a disorder that is (presently) non-curable- not something anyone wants to hear-

BUT it never hurts to arm yourself with as much knowledge as to "what may make this man tick"

As far as revealing the affair- ask yourself "what do I gain or hope to accomplish by doing so?"

I never felt my spouse had the "right" of protection so quite frankly cared less if the whole world knew what a louse he was. I felt I had protected him for years before the affair with his lies and deceit to others- always making excuses as to why he wouldn't accompany me here or whatever....

He on the other hand cared, deeply. Ya see, he didn't want anyone to think "badly" of him.

Whether or not "exposure" will aide you in recovery is something only you can answer.

Hopefully you will find the answers you are needing.


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