My Husband Wants To Go To Counseling For His Affairs. Is It Really Worth It?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have serious doubts that their marriage stands a chance after their husband had an affair. Sometimes, the husband disagrees and thinks that the marriage can be saved. And he’s willing to do just about anything to prove to the wife that he’s right, including going to counseling. But the wife can have concerns as to whether or not this is all going to be a waste of time and money, especially when there is more than one instances of infidelity involved.

So, I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband recently admitted to an affair. He said that he is going to change his life dramatically and part of that is being honest and putting an immediate stop to any risky and destructive behavior. As we were talking about this behavior and he was telling me what he meant, it then slipped out that this was actually his second affair and not his first. I don’t know why, but this seems to make things so much worse for me. And I think the reason for that is that I’m worried that this is a character defect in my husband instead of it being a one time mistake. It makes me think that he is more likely to cheat again. He is begging me to not just make this assumption. He is asking me to commit to going to counseling with him for a few months before I make a decision about our marriage. My first inclination is to think that this is a waste of my time. I am not sure I want to invest any more time in a man who has already betrayed me once. Would it be worth it to try counseling?”

I can only give you my opinion as it relates to me. I can’t project how counseling might work for any one else. But, once I found a counselor that I liked (which wasn’t automatic) I did find it to be helpful. (I also found it very helpful to do my own research and to talk to other people who have successfully gone through this.) There was a combination of things that helped, to be honest. And what works for one person may not work for another. But I think that it is definitely worth it to seek out the combination that may work for you. I believe that one of the worst things that you can do is to isolate yourself and do nothing but remain stuck and angry. In my experience, you need an outlet and you need to hear from people who can reassure you that you can get through this. A counselor can fit that bill.

Some Other Benefits From Counseling: I don’t want to make it sound as if I think that counseling is the only thing that will help you. I don’t necessarily feel that way. I believe that anything that helps you is worthwhile to pursue. But I do believe that even if the counseling wasn’t necessarily the thing that saved our marriage, it did help me to identify patterns and things about myself that I might not have been able to notice or identify for myself. It made me a bit more comfortable talking honestly and openly about my feelings, my needs, and my wishes. And it also helped us identify habits in our marriage that might put us at risk again.  Also, it helps us to learn how to communicate much more effectively.

Plus, I think that in this case, there were probably personal issues that kept cropping up for the husband, which could why he had cheated more than once. More than that, he might have been vulnerable to cheating once again until he identified these problems and overcame them. This can be hard to do without any outside help.

Finally, I think that counseling can help you even if you can’t ultimately save your marriage. I believe that even if the marriage fails, the counselor can help you to navigate the process so that it is less awkward and painful. They can generally prompt both people to speak up and say what is on their mind rather than just continuing to be angry and silent. I don’t want to insinuate that the only path to these insights is counseling, but it is one way.

You probably can tell that my opinion is that anything that can get you to open up and begin to heal is worth pursuing. I know that it’s tempting to just throw up your hands and walk away. But if you do that, you miss the chance to at least transition in a healthier way. And frankly, a man who is willing to go to counseling is a good sign and it’s relatively rare.  Many wives contact me and ask how to convince their husband to go to counseling.  This husband is more than willing to go.  This is only my opinion, but I think it might be worth it consider taking him up on this offer, if only for a set amount of time before you make a more permanent decision.

I don’t want to imply that counseling is the only way, but it is an effective way. I did find some self help resources that helped me a great deal also.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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