If My Husband Doesn’t Go To Counseling On His Own, Will He Cheat Again?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are trying to do everything in their power to keep their husbands from cheating again.  Many insist on joint marital counseling, and many husband’s reluctantly agree.  But some husband’s balk at the idea of individual counseling.  Going to counseling on their own is often encouraged for husbands who cheat because of individual or personal struggles.  It’s great to have counseling to help you deal with your joint issues that either preceded or came after the affair.  But husbands are often strongly encouraged to seek individual counseling also so they can deal with those internal issues that might have contributed to the cheating. I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had a six month affair last year.  We have been to counseling for the past four months and he hates going.  He only goes because I make him go.  Our counselor has strongly suggested that my husband go to individual counseling because of his tendency to self sabotage and to make impulsive decisions. He refuses to go.  This worries me.  While I can’t deny that we’ve made a lot of progress in joint counseling, I really want for him to work on his own issues.  I worry that if he doesn’t, he will end up cheating again.  But he says that he understands his issues and can change on his own. Who’s right?  Will he cheat again if he refuses individual counseling?” I will tell you my opinion on this in the following article.

What Is Really Important Is That Your Husband Identify And Work Through His Personal Issues.  And This Can Happen In More Than One Way: I will admit that I am an advocate of counseling.  But I also know that many husbands would rather do just about anything than sit in a counselor’s office.   There is often a difference between what is ideal and what is possible.  And sometimes, if you force him to go, he does so begrudgingly and with an attitude that ensures that he isn’t going to get all that much out of it. At the end of the day, what is going to keep your husband from cheating again is his commitment to you, his behavior modification, and his understanding and avoidance of what made him cheat in the first place.  I believe that counseling makes this easier, but I have also seen men who were able to educate themselves and rehabilitate themselves on their own.  It is not an easy process, especially for men who cheated to avoid this type of self introspection in the first place.

Try To Offer Compromises To Entice Him To Go: Sometimes, the husband doesn’t really like the joint marriage counselor, so the idea of seeing this person alone is not appealing.  If this is the case, consider allowing your husband to chose his own counselor.   And if he does go, don’t insist that he share all of the personal details with you.  Although the idea is to save your marriage, individual counseling is also about him discovering and healing things about himself.  You want for this to happen because when he is healed, it will benefit you and your marriage.

Place Your Focus On Rebuilding The Trust And Restoring The Communication If He Won’t Go To Individual Counseling: Sometimes, even when you offer compromises, he’s still just not agreeing to go to counseling on his own.  If this is the case, you are going to need to address your doubts.  Because if you are always worried or even expecting him to cheat again, then you increase the chances that he will.  Sometimes, if you focus very deeply on restoring the trust and improving the communication between you, then you encourage your husband to come to you if he should ever felt tempted to cheat again.

In this way, you are placing one more safeguard between him and the cheating.  Ideally, you want at least two safeguards.  You want for him to be able to discourage and limit himself.  (And this can come from counseling or from educating himself.)  But, you also want for him to feel safe and open enough to tell you if there is trouble on the horizon.  Isolation and secrecy are the two things that you absolutely can not afford if your husband cheated once.  And frankly, when you doubt your husband or you have trust issues, he is more likely to keep secrets from you and this makes repeat infidelity that much more likely.  That’s why it’s so important that you prioritize rebuilding the trust and insisting upon open communication in your marriage.   I really like Dr. Frank Gunzberg’s “Surviving The Affair” Course, but there are many out there.

So to answer the question posed, I don’t think a husband’s reluctance or refusal to go to individual counseling means that he absolutely will cheat again.  I do think that both joint and individual counseling are helpful.  But I also know that this is  not always realistic for some men.  However, if he forgoes individual counseling, it’s vital that he does the self work to make repeat cheating unlikely and that you both restore the trust and improve the communication. My husband refused to go to individual counseling as well.  And he loathed joint counseling also.  So we had a to do a good deal of healing on our own.  I think the process would have been easier with a really skilled counselor, but we were never able to find one.  We did recover, however.  If it helps you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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