Why Does the Unfaithful Spouse Withdraw during Communication about Infidelity?

Samuel answers a viewers question on why the unfaithful will often times withdraw in recovery work.

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Shame

As the betrayed spouse I am having a hard time seeing my husband as someone who did bad things rather than a bad person. His secret life has lasted for over 40 years and I struggle with this being who he is rather than what he did. Can you give me any advice to reconcile this? We both see exceptional therapists and are making progress toward wholeness. But I know this is a fundamental concept. I pray about it regularly and ask God for understanding. Thanks for your thoughts.

tough question...

hi Teri.  it's a tough, multi level question.  but i do think the best i can answer that with is that as you're able to work through layers of forgivness, it will help you see him differently.  now having said that, 40 years is a long time.  it's completely understandable you'd feel that way and have a tough time reconciling those two.   so go easy on yourself and give yourself lots of time.  grief work and trauma work is going to be key for you.  i hope you're getting some help like EMDR or ETT ???

Doesn't want to talk about him, wants to talk about me.

My husband doesn't like to dwell on what he did and wants to point out that I haven't been the perfect wife either. He wants to go to counseling so he can point out that I have issues too. I'm not denying I have issues, but his porn addiction, lusting & flirting with other women has been tremendously damaging to our marriage. How can I get him to see that what he did was really, really harmful? Is this a 50/50 everyone's done something wrong type of thing? He keeps wanting me to deal with my issues but doesn't want to talk about his issues.

good question.....

hi there.  thanks for the question Heidi. for starters, you won't be able to get him to see any of this.  there is no objectivity my friend when you both are dealing with it.  you'll need expert help for sure, that can help him see it.  and that expert help needs to be familiar in infidelity.   would he do the ems weekend as a way of helping BOTH of you heal?  the fact is, as soon as you surrender trying to get him to see things, it will get easier in your own heart and mind.  when i tried to get samantha to see things, i failed.  when i just worked on me and trusted the process of rick and the ems weekend, our lives changed and she changed and i changed tremendously.  without that type of approach, i fear you both will continue to get angry at each other and continue to live in frustration big time.  it's not a 50/50 thing, but he will continue to take that approach till you find a safe place (ems weekend etc) where an expert can take you both through a process of mutual understanding and ownership.  and that expert can say things you can't say as if you say them he's going to get defensive, angry and have his shame triggered.  does that make sense?  great question and i hope this sits well with you.

 

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