Our Therapist Is Telling Me To Back Off On Pushing My Husband For Details About The Affair. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are seeing a counselor to help them heal after a spouse’s affair and who are confused about the counselor’s strategies. Before I go any further, I have to tell you that for the most part I find counseling to be quite helpful and I can’t possibly speculate on someone else’s methods. Usually, counselors have a long term plan and, assuming that they specialize in marital or infidelity counseling, they likely know what they are doing. So while their methods may seem frustrating and confusing, they are in place to help you.

I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband and I have been going to counseling for a short time because he had a four month affair. I don’t think we have the ability to fix this ourselves and I’m relieved that he agreed to counseling. But one thing that she does really bugs me. I look forward to our sessions all week because I’m always hopeful that when I go, I’m going to get more answers about the affair. I try not to press my husband too much for details during the week, but during our sessions, I want answers. But every time I try to bring this up, the therapist says that we’re not going to push for all of the answers right now. She says that at this time, she wants to back off on pressuring my husband for answers so much. This angers me. How are we supposed to save our marriage if I don’t know what I’m dealing with? It’s like she’s expecting me to solve a puzzle without giving me all of the pieces of it. I know that we need counseling but I question her methods. Why would she tell me to back off from getting the details?”

Again, I can’t possibly know what the therapist is thinking. I would only be speculating and I could be wrong. Plus, I am not a therapist. But I would suspect that she is pacing the process. She could possibly be trying to get you to a stable place before you have to deal with difficult answers.

Or, she doesn’t want for you to have to deal with so much all at once. And, she might know that in order for your husband to really be truthful and forthcoming about the details of the affair, he has to be comfortable and feel somewhat safe in doing that. Otherwise, he may just lie or downplay things.

So in order for him to feel like he wants or needs to make that disclosure in an honest way, a foundation needs to be laid first. Both people need to be used to the counseling and feel safe within in. That could be what your therapist is trying to accomplish before the details come out.

It sounds like you are still early in the process. She could be trying to establish comfort levels and build on that as you are ready. You will likely see her introduce difficult topics after she’s seen you make progress or become more receptive and open. Again, these are only guesses on my part. I would not think that she expects you to never get the answers. But she might be trying to control the timing of them so that they come at an optimal place in your progress.

If something that she is doing doesn’t make sense to you, then I’d suggest asking her about it. You don’t want to sound like you’re questioning her methods or abilities, but you might try something like this: “I’m wondering why you’re wanting to delay us exploring details about the affair. I understand that you probably have your reasons, but I want to let you know that the details are important to me. I don’t feel that I’m going to be able to completely move on until I get them because otherwise, this is always going to be in the back of my head and it’s always going to make me wonder if I have all of the information that I need. Can you reassure me that at some point, you’re going to guide us through disclosing the details?”

This way, you might get more insight into her timeline and methods and you may also get the reassurance that you need to plow forward. I can tell you that few people agree with everything their therapist does. But in the long run, you can usually look back and realize that even though her methods were confusing at the time, they turned out to be advantageous in the end.

I know that none of this is easy but try to be open to her professional opinion until she gives you a reason not to be.   If it helps,  you can read more about my own healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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