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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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My husband is messaging women abroad, and flirtatious

Resolved Question:

My husband is messaging women abroad, sexual and flirtatious messages. Some of them say how being married to me is a service and going out with me still happens because he is on a short leash. Another isn't so sexual but looks as if he is about to meet up with this woman when he goes away to a football match. The problem is I know this because I have checked his messages and this is because we have discussed his contacting women before and he said he would stop. He loves sex and although we have an extremely healthy sex life he does want sex with other women, because it's different. He says that messaging distracts him from doing. Apart from this aspect our marriage is really really good, we get on well together, have a laugh and cry, have 2 great kids and we enjoy being together. I don't believe that it is just a service and if it is then he is a brilliant actor and needs an oscar. We have sex every day and sometimes 2 or 3 times. Our marriage to everyone looking in is so strong and we are so good together. I am devastated at the moment and have no idea what to do. I love him with every breath in me and really can't begin to contemplate not having him in my life. But, I am also terrified that he is making a total fool out of me, having his cake and not giving a damn about me. I don't want to hurt our kids by making a rash decision and if I confront him I have to tell him I checked his messages (which I am totally ashamed of) but I didn't know what else to do. I do believe he hasn't cheated on me, but I also think that yet is the word to use. I don't know how to make him realise that we are worth far more than him risking us on what he is doing. Am I a fool for thinking this out or should I just tell him that we are done even though no part of me wants that.  We are nearly 18 years married and together 24. He is also planning a surprise trip for the 2 of us for my birthday next month and has booked a surprise family holiday for us all in June. Surprise as in I don't know where he is taking me.  All of his actions towards me are of care and love, except for his contact with other women.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. L replied 2 years ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am sorry that this issue has come up in your marriage. From all that you posted, it does sound like your husband may have a sexual addiction. Having sex every day, multiple times certainly suggests a high need for sex. I encourage you to do some reading on the subject so that you are informed. I will provide some websites for you to look at.

Dr. L :

I would not believe one word about "service"...that is rubbish. And is only meant to justify his behavior.

Dr. L :

As his wife, you deserve to be loved, respected, and cared for and the bonds and promises of your marriage to be treated as sacred. His behavior does not honor that bond with you.

Dr. L :

I encourage you to consider couple's therapy as a way to address this issue with a neutral 3rd party who has training and experience in this area. Clearly, just talking to him about this matter has not ended it. And...if he truly believes that he needs to have sex with other women because it is "different" that clearly suggests that his thinking on this matter is off.

Dr. L :

http://www.medicinenet.com/sexual_addiction/article.htm

Dr. L :

http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/features/is-sex-addiction-real

Dr. L :

the above are 2 websites to read about this subject.

Dr. L :

I see you are online now.

Dr. L :

I will wait for you to read my posting and respond.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

Thank you for responding and I will take a look at the sites that you have suggested. I have asked my husband to go to counselling tha last time we spoke and he said no that he would cop on and deal with it. Said he didn't want to hurt me and did want us to be together. I had given him an out, amicably, told him that I couldn't cope with this but that we had a huge amount together, children, friendship etc and I wasn't interested in giving it all up and iffour physical and emotional relationship were to end that I wanted us still to be a family and friends. He chose to stay but less than a month later he is back doing this. If I bring up counselling again he weill want to know why and do I then tell him I checked his messages? I know he is not honouring our marriage but I do still believe that he loves me aside from this which is what is so upsetting.

Dr. L :

You are in a very difficult situation. You love your husband, but you do not "love" this behavior of flirting/chasing other women. And, perhaps, the pressure of having sex daily leaves you feeling that he is unsatisfied sexually. I'm very sorry. And yes...you do not want to end the marriage because of all the good things...and they are numerous and important. Yes..I do not doubt that he loves you. Yet if he has a sexual addiction that issue is NOT about you...but about him and it needs to be addressed by a competent professional. If all of this is about the addiction, then there are steps that the two of you - as a couple. If he fails to take this seriously...well then he must deal with the consequences...and inevitably so will you.

Dr. L :

As a clinical psychologist of some 30 years, I often have a spouse come for marital therapy all alone. Their partner refuses for one reason or another - typically the reason is fear and an unwillingness to face what ever is going on. But we soldier on without the other person and we can be successful in helping to repair the relationship.

Dr. L :

So..if he is unwilling to go to therapy...please consider going on your own as you will benefit greatly from the insight of the therapist and your own process of looking at what is going on in your marriage. You need the strength and support!

Dr. L :

From what you have posted, your husband is likely afraid to face a therapist and talk about his sexual life. It takes courage to go to therapy! Yet it is often the most important thing you can do for your self and your family!

Dr. L :

Do you have to tell him that you saw his messages?....I believe that honesty is always the best policy. But it is up to you. It would seem that his behavior is not a new topic and so to say that you are re-visiting it is reasonable.

Dr. L :

I see you are typing....I will wait for your response.

Customer:

I do think he is terrified of therapy. Can a sexual addiction occur because of a childhood sexual abuse which to my knowledge happened only twice but coupled with feeling unloved/unwanted at home I think is a lot to do with how he deals with emotion? I didn't think it would work on my own so thank you. I need my husband back and I will do whatever it takes on my own or with him. Is it a clinical psychologist I need to look for?

Customer:

I didn't think counselling would work on my own, sorry i clicked enter by accident, typing through tears is not easy

Dr. L :

I'm so sorry that you are feeling so distraught. I can only imagine how painful this is for you.

Dr. L :

I would certainly say that there childhood sexual abuse could play a part here as well as the feeling of being unwanted/unloved at home. These are very difficult things to understand as a child and then to deal with as an adult especially if they were never addressed.

Dr. L :

And yes...I would say a clinical psychologist with training in sex abuse and marital therapy.

Dr. L :

And I think we can both understand why he would be afraid of therapy...he has some terrible childhood wounds and likely believes that if he continues to bury them they will go away.

Dr. L :

Think of going to therapy alone like this:

Dr. L :

If there is a wind chime hanging in your doorway and the wind - even if slightly - blows one of the chimes, what happens?

Dr. L :

The entire set of chimes moves...doesn't it?

Dr. L :

Your family is like that wind chime. If you go to therapy and begin to make changes in how you see yourself, your husband, your marriage....then those changes will change everyone in the family.

Dr. L :

Does this make sense?

Customer:

Yes it does maake sense. I have tried to address some of his issues with him, show him that he is loved unconditionally by me and our children and that I won't hurt him like he was by his upbringing. I never have hurt him and I won't ever, but he is the most stubborn man ever and if he feels his back is up against a wall he fights and forgets how and when to stop.

Customer:

I do need help because I really can't cope with the behaviour and feeling like I am losing him and us. He really is a loving, caring man but he tends not to be able to see that. Finds it hard to care or more is afraid to show he cares.

Customer:

Thank you for listening and the advice. I know what I have to do now, I just hope that it goes the way I want it to. The other consequences are not something I want to have to deal with.

Dr. L :

You are very welcome! I am glad that you had the courage to reach out today.

Dr. L :

Yes...it would seem that the abuse he suffered as a child has him believing that he is unlovable and so he acts out in ways to protect himself from further harm. Telling him that you would ever hurt him and showing him consistent love is what he needs...but he may not have the ability to truly that this into his own heart.

Dr. L :

I wish you the best!

Dr. L :

Please know that you can reach out to me again any time you want. Just ask for me by name.

Dr. L :

Take care!

Dr. L :

*sorry I meant that you would never hurt him...

Dr. L :

*sorry...I meant...truly take this into his own heart

Customer:

I know, typos are a nuisance. Thanks again, you have helped me make a decision at least. Now I have to pluck up courage and speak to him again.

Customer:

I will seek therapy even if it's on my own and hopefully we can save our relationship.

Customer:

I won't hesitate to contact you in the future if things change.

Customer:

Goodbye

Dr. L :

Good bye!

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience: Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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