Another Talking Session

I went to my appointment expecting another hypnotherapy session after the last amazing experience. Instead, we talked. I think I like this pattern. Hypnotherapy then talk therapy. They are both helpful in their own ways.

Here is what we discussed in the session to best of my recollection. Keep in mind that it’s one and a half hours of talking during which we went all over the place, so this is by no means complete and in order.

I talked about our sexual progress. HT (my hypnotherapist) provided some suggestions for getting to the next level, including hypnotherapy. I told her that I was happy with our progress and I think we are well on our way to sexual intercourse, which Carol very much expressed her desire to do. I’m not as excited for it. HT asked if it was a power thing and I said ‘no’. She asked on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is sexual intercourse to me. I answered ‘6’.

I explained that there still is fear of not performing but even more so, in our old relationship, it was a chore, something she wanted me to do and get it over with. I’m afraid that once intercourse enters the picture again, I will no longer get that special attention from Carol which is part of the whole sexual experience for me. Teasing, touching, and making each other cum in other ways has been really fun and fulfilling.

HT said I need to work on making sure I meet Carol’s sexual needs or she may go astray again. I strongly disagreed that her affair was a fulfilling of unmet sexual needs. It was occurring when our sex life was still relatively healthy, though unfulfilling for me. I explained that the logic of, ‘the person I keep rejecting sexually is not meeting my sexual needs, so I better go elsewhere’ is not going to fly with me.

That got us into the breakdown of the marriage, which I rightfully refuse to accept any responsibility for. I understand that Carol had a hard time accepting my health issues but that was something out of my control. I was caring, helpful, attentive, sexual, and I fought like hell to be as normal as possible while dealing with my illness. She knew I was there for her to help her deal with my health but she felt like she couldn’t talk about it, in spite of knowing otherwise. She did not get proper treatment for her postpartum issues, instead refusing to discuss it with me. She yelled at me and treated me poorly but refused to go to marriage counselling. She insisted that she’s not an affectionate person anymore. She insisted that she is not sexual anymore.

“When I’m fighting for my marriage and she is pushing me away and denying there are any problems, how the hell am I responsible for the breakdown? Our marriage counsellor tries to put blame on me and now you’re trying to. Sorry, I’m not buying what your selling and you won’t convince me otherwise,” I said.

“So you think you were the perfect husband?” HT asked.

“Of course not, that’s not possible. But I was just as good, maybe better, than in the many marriages that don’t lead to infidelity. I said it before and I’ll say it again: if anyone was pushed to the point of cheating, it was me. But I didn’t. She did what she did because of her damage, and her damage alone. I shouldn’t have put up with how she was treating me. So maybe my failure was not leaving her because I deserved better. I should’ve separated. But there were still these moments where everything was great, so I stuck with it.”

I talked about how I often have to make a conscious effort to continue in my marriage, telling myself to give it more time. HT said that’s not a good way to live and questioned my desire to be with her.

“Are you in love with her?” She asked.

“Of course,” I said without hesitation.

Not, ‘do you love her?’, ‘are you in love with her?’, there’s a difference.”

“Absolutely,” I said again without hesitation.

“Then why do you seem to be so on the fence?”

I explained that it no longer happens every day, but at least several days a week, I’ll think maybe it’s best to just leave her. It’s too much to get past, too big to forgive. I told her these thoughts mostly occur during my morning showers. HT says they’re ego and pride talking. I have a new relationship where Carol is treating me really well. So well, that I can’t believe I accepted so many years of her treating me like she did. HT said if things are going great and I love her and want to be with her, why think of leaving?

“What I have now is wonderful, but I fear the cost was too great. It’s still very early in our reconciliation, but if I can’t learn to forgive her, then I’ll have to move on.”

We discussed how I’m kind of guarded still. I’d like to see a future with her but I don’t really look too far forward as I expect more trauma.

“That negative thinking, expecting something to ruin things when all is well, is what we’re going to work on eliminating,” HT said.

“Do you trust her?” She asked.

“No,” I snorted like it was the most obvious answer in the world.

“Do you think she’ll do this again?”

“I don’t know but I think she’s easy to manipulate, so it could happen again.” I tried to explain how I believe that but I failed. I just get that impression. I guess it’s really just the fact that such an obviously shitty person can convince her that they are ‘best friends’. I imagine that someone who keeps his nastiness more well hidden than Rick did could manipulate her with ease compared to him.

“Well, you can’t spend your time worrying about her doing it again. If she does, she does. And if you find out, you can say, ‘Okay, I’m done. I did everything I could to meet your needs in this new relationship, and you still went outside the marriage. That’s on you.'” HT said.

We talked about techniques I can try to work through those intrusive negative thoughts in the shower, such as telling myself the opposite of what I’m thinking and washing with sea salt to cleanse my pores, making myself feel better. HT wondered if there was a traumatic experience related to the shower. All I could think of was crying in the shower when I got home after my experience with another woman during our separation. I have many good shower experiences with Carol. Sometimes we chat in there, sometimes we fool around, and sometimes we just hold each other as the warm water runs over us.

“What about the negative thoughts that I enjoy? Like revenge fantasies?” I asked.

“What do you want to do to her?” HT asked.

“Not her, him.” I said.

“Why do you want revenge on him? He didn’t cheat on you, she did.”

I explained how I believe the affair would not have occurred without him being a sexual predator.

“Are you sure about that?” She asked, skeptically.

“Absolutely. She wasn’t looking for an affair. She wasn’t thinking, ‘oh, I’m not getting sex at home, better go find some’. Look at how terribly that asshole treated her. She says, ‘I let him get in my head.’ That’s exactly what happened. A manipulative asshole used his authority to push and push and groom until she gave him what he wanted. If it weren’t for him, or someone equally abusive, It wouldn’t have happened. I’m sure of it.”

“Come on, you can’t know for sure.”

“I can be pretty certain,” I replied.

Yes, I know that Carol is responsible for having an affair. She’s an adult. She knew it was wrong. She could’ve said ‘no’. What I was talking about were the circumstances. That she is not responsible for the lies and abuse of power on his part. He deceived, hurt and controlled her in order to develop an affair with her. So yes, I’m fucking rightfully mad at him.

I provided further details about how I feel.

“That’s a lot of anger to carry,” HT replied.

I just shrugged in response.

I talked of getting away, maybe moving out of city. It was during this part of conversation that I realized HT didn’t even have the full discovery story. I told her in my usual story telling fashion and made her laugh several times.

“I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to laugh! It’s just the way you’re describing it.”

“I know, it’s okay. It’s how I deal with trauma, I tell the story in a funny way. You’re meant to laugh. You know, I actually made Carol laugh when we had our separation discussion.”

Describing the Incident in detail again undid some of the trauma reversal from an earlier session. HT said we’re going to continue working on reversing the trauma, but we will work more on the emotional response I had than the imagery next time.

Near the end of the session, I spoke about one thing that had been bothering me lately.

“When Carol and I got together, we both had an equal number of sex partners. Now she has one more than me. It pisses me off.”

“That’s ego again.” HT said. “What could you do to correct this? Would she give you carte blanche to go out and even the score? That would hurt her. Would you separate again and risk losing her? Would you go out and have an affair of your own?”

“Carte blanche. I highly doubt I would even go through with it. But I guess the gesture would be meaningful to help me get past it. If she gave me a free pass to go out and have sex and I decide against it, then it’s on me. I won’t be able complain about it anymore. I dunno.”

HT said that whatever I decide to stay or go, she is here to help me work through it but in her opinion, I clearly want to stay with Carol. I agreed with that but I remain concerned that I won’t be able to get past it. I acknowledged that I’m making great progress but it’s still so fresh, it can’t be expected of me to forgive yet. HT said I must learn that I can forgive Carol while not forgiving the act (hate the sin, love the sinner?).

I also said that as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t been married for a year yet. There’s no way I can accept that we are going on 13 years of marriage with what happened. HT suggested that when I feel I have forgiven, maybe I should ask her to marry me again and exchange new vows.

That actually sounds like a nice idea.

14 thoughts on “Another Talking Session

  1. This may be a cynical response. I apologize in advance.
    Why renew vows? Vows meant nothing to the cheater.

    I hear your anger at Rick, but do you know the truth? Are you sure Carole’s version of the relationship is factual? It kind of reminds me of my kids – when in trouble they love to make someone else look like the bully who made them behave badly. Regardless, Don’t do anything that might get you in trouble with the law. He is not worth it.

    I’m stewing in my own anger. I thought I might consider reconciling, but every day something else seems to pop up. I’m done. I would rather divorce than spend any more time on craig. He’s gotten enough from me. I need the rest of my energy for myself and my kids.

    Anyway, I love that you stood your ground to the counsellor. And that you are so honest. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why renew vows? Because they’re supposed to mean everything in the new relationship. What would be the point in reconciling if we can’t recommit to each other?

      Regarding Carol’s “version” of the relationship, it’s in my blog already but I may make a post to specifically address this kind of comment as it’s come up a few times before. I don’t know when I’ll try to write something about it though.

      I’m sorry you’ve been betrayed and I understand your anger. Reconciling takes a lot of time and effort and if it’s not worth further effort from you, that is quite alright. We all have our own unique circumstances and not all marriages are repairable. It is important to work on moving on from your anger, however. It’s a lot of work but I hope to free myself from it and I hope you do too.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m glad you stood up to the counselor about you playing a part in her affair! I can’t believe their are still counselors that go that route.

    I wonder what it is about the shower? The shower triggers me everyday! I have been trying to figure out for years why and I got nothing. I don’t know why it’s a trigger? If I could figure it out maybe I could work through it but there’s no reason I can think of that the shower should trigger me?

    I have revenge fantasies from time to time…I picture myself swinging a large sword at her and chopping her head off 😱😱😱🤪🤪🤪 Crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see what the counsellors are trying to get at when they talk about the breakdown of the marriage. They expect that the couple stopped communicating with each other and whatnot and that’s where they’re trying to start from.

      I think the shower is just a place where you’re alone with your thoughts so they can start to wander easily.

      You’re not alone in having pretty graphic revenge fantasies!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You held your ground with the counselor 😊

    My husband and I have talked about renewing our vows. I’m not quite there yet.

    Our church offers this vow renewal service once a year. I purposefully have been missing at those services. I’m not ready to marry him… again. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I told HT, “You helped boost my confidence and self esteem so now I’m more sure of myself when I answer. It’s your fault!” I was joking with her but it’s true that my confidence has made me more certain about what I do, feel, and believe.

      I still need to remain open, of course. “Whole life have balance,” as Mr. Miyagi said.

      I hope you get to the point where you feel you can renew your vows. Tell your husband that Jack says he’s got a great woman in his life, so he’s gotta keep putting in the work to help her heal and move forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your therapist needed to be put in their place about the blame for the affair. Far too many therapists do damage with that kind of nonsense. You don’t need that and if she recircles to that kind of statement be firm again- it doesn’t help you. Good job. When people make commitments to each other, they don’t promise to be perfect. Asking you if you were perfect is a shit question. You promised to try and be good with Carole and forsake all others and she made the same. You were doing your best, and as you say, you kept to that and have hindsight about communication or some things you are learning about yourself. But she made choices and had plenty of options. She could have been honest. She could have quit her job on the spot. Or gone to individual counselling or gone to her gp for low dose antidepressants… she could have done a million things which led to her not cheating. None of her steps leading to falling into someone else’s member is your fault. Were you perfect? No. But that’s not actually the deal. Therapists need to be very very careful with that. Their assumption that ‘it takes two to tango’ when you are the patient is dangerous. Good job for standing up to her. And take your time with intimacy. If you’re enjoying sexy time as it is now, let it build and let the time happen naturally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep in mind that it isn’t blame for the affair that they’re trying to put on us, it’s responsibility for our part in our marriage. They assume the couple needs to learn how to communicate, spend quality time, show affection, etc., that those parts are often missing in a marriage in crisis, and I’m sure they are in many cases. I’ve also come to realize HT doesn’t know my whole story. I’ve spoken and written about it so much, that I’ve made assumptions about what she knows and that has caused some confusion between us.

      I really like this therapist. She has said some things I don’t agree with and that’s okay. She knows I’m strong and I like to be challenged so she treats me accordingly. She’s awesome. I’m so glad I found her.

      Through these conversations, I am starting to see how I failed in the marriage. My failure was deciding I would tolerate her behaviour in hopes that it would get better. I should have separated a long time ago but I accepted less than I deserve because in my mind, having that version of her was better than not having her at all. I’m now a stronger person. I’m ready to let go if she doesn’t treat me like a man she wants to spend her life with.

      Like

      1. I definitely like a lot of the roads your therapist leads you down. I am not saying you shouldn’t see her or that she isn’t good- seriously she seems to have her head on straight in a lot of ways. Please don’t feel you have to defend her to me, that wasn’t the point of my response- I love that you are strong enough in your understanding of yourself to be able to differentiate between things you could have done better in your marriage rather than counting it as things that ‘contributed to’ or ‘allowed’ Carole to cheat. I honestly am very happy you have someone who challenges you and also you can stand up to. I think she actually may have said these things to ensure you can differentiate- she seems very smart and know you’re ready to be decisive about it. But many people after affairs aren’t prepared to see they have work to do, without it being full on shouldering the blame of pitfalls that somehow led to their partner needing to act out. Many therapists who aren’t well trained in this kind of trauma can be a bit detrimental because they don’t build up the individual, they sometimes allow the individual to shoulder blame about the relationship in an effort to save the relationship. This is obviously not your therapist and you’re also better prepared than many. That was really meant to be a good comment. I’m happy for you.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Carol actually did go to counselling and take antidepressants. She wouldn’t talk to me at all about any of it at the time. There was a big meltdown and argument over it where she told me about it then said it was none of my business. Now that she has a great counsellor, she sees that the one from many years ago was not very helpful at all. The antidepressants were no help either. She had a unique kind of callousness toward everyone while she was on them. When I finally learned she was taking them I told her, “You realize you’ve been treating us worse while you’ve been on them, right? I could’ve told you that weeks ago but it’s none of my business to know things, being just your husband and all.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oy! Yeh. Again, I noted those things without knowing your story, (maybe you did mention them I just forget) but they were just meant as- there are ways to tackle issues. and despite marriage issues being present, you didn’t go out and cheat. That was my point. Counsellors should never make infidelity a shared issue, that’s all. No matter the internal issues, you didn’t go cheat. And the issues were shared.

        And I’m sorry my phone keeps saying Carole not Carol it’s autocorrect I will make sure it doesn’t do that! Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I totally got what you were saying, I just thought I’d mention it since it reminded me. I only briefly mentioned the antidepressants before so I don’t blame you for missing it, and I don’t recall if I mentioned her previous counselling at all. It’s been a lot of years and sometimes these things just pop up in my memories. No worries about the spelling, it’s not her real name anyway. Sometimes I worry that I’m going to accidentally call her “Carol” to her face and she’s going to be wondering who the heck that is!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Also- my dad is a counsellor and he says that revenge fantasies are there so that you can act out, get out and deal with your urges mentally without actually doing them. So… fill your boots!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I felt the same way while reading this. I actually did the “clutch my pearls” stance when you said HT said you need to work on filling her desires or she might stray on you again. I was like “Is the HT a woman … she has to be to say some shit like this ….” and then I read further and realized it is a woman. Like, my husband has been down-and-out with a torn ACL and multiple surgeries since August. Sex is nonexistent for us – I would NEVER run outside of my marriage because of that. But, you say she is really helpful for you, and that’s a major positive. As long as what you take away from your sessions is thought-provoking and positive for you, then that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

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