Should I go to marriage counseling one last time?


#1

Hello,
My spouse and I have been having troubles for over a year and we went through Retrouvaille and marriage counseling. All throughout counseling I had to trust that she wasn't having an affair, but things never added up and she protected her cell phone like she was protecting the president. On Friday she rushed out of the house and left her phone and I went through her text messages and found out she was having sex with another guy. I confronted her and she said it was a different guy, so she is sleeping with two different guys. On Saturday, I told her it's time to admit everything because she needs help and a huge fight ensued over her phone (in front of the kids) and she was taken away in handcuffs. A few months ago she was also cited as the aggressor in a domestic disturbance but was not arrested. After she came back from jail she would not deny having affairs, but would not admit them; she would just say now is not the time. She has been begging me not to go for full custody because she loves the children. I think she loves them in a weird way, but her destructive behaviors and alcoholism definitely play into the relationship with the children. All she does is yell at them.

She now says she needs professional help and thinks she may be bipolar. As for me, I'm tired of all the lies, affairs and being made out to be someone who is so insecure with himself that I'm just looking for things. My suspicions were right all along and I can now see her for who she truly is - a horrible wife and mother. She says she will do anything to get well to be with her children, but that is where I'm torn. I don't trust her and I need to get full custody ASAP.

She asked me today if I would go to tomorrow's marriage counseling appointment so that we can talk like adults. I already called the counselor and told her that no progress was ever made because all she did was lie, but the counselor said some progress was made because she admitted that she has severe anger issues and destructive behaviors.

Should I go? I don't really know what we are going to talk about, but I'm assuming its the kids. I'm sorry, but I'm meeting with a lawyer tomorrow to discuss getting emergency full custody and getting her out of the house. Its really sad to see my spouse since she was arrested because she knows that her lifestyle has finally caught up with her and she's about to lose her family. To be honest, I'm expecting her at some point to want to work on the marriage, but its too late for that. I will forgive her and pray for her, but I can't go through life with no joy wondering if I can ever trust her again.

Thoughts?

Sorry this is so long, but I'm conflicted because I feel joy and pain. My only focus now is trying to get my children over this second episode of seeing things children should never see. I'm also going to see my parish priest to see if there are any resources or parish lawyers who can help since I'm broke and looking for better employment.


#2

You are right to want to protect your children and keep some sanity to their world. I would still go to counseling, but maybe not with the goal of working on your marriage, but instead to work on helping her to get some control on her life. I would work on baby steps. Let her get herself together first. It may not be a bad idea to still file for custody of the kids.


#3

Make these your priorities.

1 = God; 2 = Family; 3 = work

With this in mind, get your kids into a stable and peaceful environment. This means full custody and marriage separation. See the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19 verse 9 for some guidance. This means stay far away from anyone tempting you into a second marriage sometime down the road. Don't worry, it will happen.

Once your lives are separated and life is becoming more calm, start serious faith formation at home with reliable material from Ignatius Press, TAN Books, etc.

Help the kids to love their mom and avoid speaking negatively about her. The mother image is precious with children. The father image is just as important but in a different way. After a while they will know you are protecting them.

Most of all, find the best legal counsel you can - meaning lawyer. You will need it. It is not an offense against your spouse to get the greatest lawyers around, it is to protect the kids from a bad outcome.

Act with courage and spirit. God bless you!


#4

Good advice in the prior posts.

I would like to emphasize protection of the children...it's children first. At an absolute minimum, I would require the spouse to seek counseling to control her anger issues; if not, I would seek full custody and possibly an order of protection.

With regard to saving the marriage, it's really up to you. Cheating is incredibly difficult to get over, but it is possible when the guilty party truly repents, and the innocent spouse accepts the apology. It won't happen overnight, and it requires both parties to work together.


#5

You certainly have cause to separate immediately:
**Can. 1153 §1. **If either of the spouses causes grave mental or physical danger to the other spouse or to the offspring or otherwise renders common life too difficult, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for leaving, either by decree of the local ordinary or even on his or her own authority if there is danger in delay.

As the saying goes, insanity can be defined in doing the same thing over and over and yet expecting a different result. There is no reason to believe you will get a positive outcome by another round of counselling, whether it be one session or many.

She is currently not asking to reconcile with you, or at least she is not offering to change her behavior in order to begin the long work of re-gaining your trust.
She currently poses an immediate threat to your children, not to mention your own mental and emotional well-being. (Somebody has to take the intiative to get out of this burning structure, for the sake of the kids.)
She currently has neither integrity nor self-control, but rather is unpredictable and out of control in her behavior and willing to lie or obscure the truth in order to get what she wants. (It is not realistic to hope that she will be the person to get them out of this inferno.)

Unless I’m missing something, there is currently nothing to gain and very much to lose by continuing a dialogue under these same conditions.

Ask your attorney what is needed to protect your children. Do that. If her lying and relationship-destroying behaviors are both due to an addiction and/or a condition that could respond to appropriate medical care and cognitive treatments, then the day to talk to her is when she has done the individual work to face up to it, hand it over to God, get the help she needs, and start living a life of integrity. That is the day when giving her another chance might actually have a good outcome.

Pray for that day, but in the meantime get out of the fire.

Your priest (or more possibly the lawyer that you’re going to see) might be able to help you find legal resources that exist for the victims of domestic abuse, and particularly for the families of persons like your wife.


#6

Thank you for your advice. My spouse wanted to have a calm talk tonight about things and all it was about was her having things deprived as a child and her new found freedom. She only spoke of her being held down by her parents, children, etc… But not once did she speak of the destructive behaviors that she has had all along, basically I attended a pity party.

I don’t know what good counseling will do since my resolve after her talk is to use a lawyer to remove her from the household and gain full custody of the kids. And until she gets the help that she needs I will insist through the lawyer that we fight for very limited or supervised visits.

I keep telling my children that daddy will keep them safe. They keep saying “and mommy,” but I keep telling them that daddy will keep them safe. I’m not going to lie and pretend that mommy is fine; I will tell them mommy is sick and we need to pray for her.


#7

Thank You for posting your families great Problem. I’ll place you, her, your family in our Prayer group. Please visit There, with a brief request for Prayers!. [LIST] Never stop counseling or attending with her. She at least acknowledges she has major problem which is the Start of Cure, betterment. The Children’s well being is number One priority As you say. Ask your counselor and Pastor about sole custidy. You’re ideal husband; especially since you seem to avoid anger. Love is the Only cure, In Our Lord. God Bless each of you.
[/LIST]


#8

[quote="kodiak10, post:1, topic:249880"]
Hello,
My spouse and I have been having troubles for over a year and we went through Retrouvaille and marriage counseling. All throughout counseling I had to trust that she wasn't having an affair, but things never added up and she protected her cell phone like she was protecting the president. On Friday she rushed out of the house and left her phone and I went through her text messages and found out she was having sex with another guy. I confronted her and she said it was a different guy, so she is sleeping with two different guys. On Saturday, I told her it's time to admit everything because she needs help and a huge fight ensued over her phone (in front of the kids) and she was taken away in handcuffs. A few months ago she was also cited as the aggressor in a domestic disturbance but was not arrested. After she came back from jail she would not deny having affairs, but would not admit them; she would just say now is not the time. She has been begging me not to go for full custody because she loves the children. I think she loves them in a weird way, but her destructive behaviors and alcoholism definitely play into the relationship with the children. All she does is yell at them.

She now says she needs professional help and thinks she may be bipolar. As for me, I'm tired of all the lies, affairs and being made out to be someone who is so insecure with himself that I'm just looking for things. My suspicions were right all along and I can now see her for who she truly is - a horrible wife and mother. She says she will do anything to get well to be with her children, but that is where I'm torn. I don't trust her and I need to get full custody ASAP.

She asked me today if I would go to tomorrow's marriage counseling appointment so that we can talk like adults. I already called the counselor and told her that no progress was ever made because all she did was lie, but the counselor said some progress was made because she admitted that she has severe anger issues and destructive behaviors.

Should I go? I don't really know what we are going to talk about, but I'm assuming its the kids. I'm sorry, but I'm meeting with a lawyer tomorrow to discuss getting emergency full custody and getting her out of the house. Its really sad to see my spouse since she was arrested because she knows that her lifestyle has finally caught up with her and she's about to lose her family. To be honest, I'm expecting her at some point to want to work on the marriage, but its too late for that. I will forgive her and pray for her, but I can't go through life with no joy wondering if I can ever trust her again.

Thoughts?

Sorry this is so long, but I'm conflicted because I feel joy and pain. My only focus now is trying to get my children over this second episode of seeing things children should never see. I'm also going to see my parish priest to see if there are any resources or parish lawyers who can help since I'm broke and looking for better employment.

[/quote]

I 100% support you. You are doing the righ thing.

Separate ASAP and take kids with you. You can go to counselling as well, while you are separated. She needs to heal in order to be a mother and wife.

BTW..yelling is just as damaging to children as physical abuse; if not more damaging. Your children are being abused. They are in great danger of emotional ruin.


#9

Good for you! As long as she plays the victim, she will be sick and unfit to be a mother.

I was sexually beaten and abused by my father and I am a good mother and wife. I don’t yell at my children. Boo hoo…she had a bad childhood…so did millions of other women who are now functioning wives and mothers.

Sorry to sound cold and uncaring, but I do not respect her at all. Life is what you make of it, despite your upbringing and hardships.


#10

I agree with what previous posters have said about removing the kids from harms way, etc. But I would like to add that if she does in fact have bipolar disorder, it could explain a lot of this behavior and she will NEVER get better if not properly medicated (I have many family members and friends who struggle with this disease). In other words what she needs right now is a psychiatrist, not just a regular counselor.


#11

You children need positive role models and your wife isn’t able to supply them with that yet. She seems incapble of accepting culpability for her actions and is deflecting blame from herself. Typically, this indicates that she is unwilling or unable to assume to responsibilities of adulthood. At this point a strong dose of “tough love” is warranted. Hopefully, your wife will learn there are consequences for her actions and this understanding will motivate her to change her behaviour. You can attend counselling to support her but you need demostrate there are ramifications for her conduct.


#12

You are right to want to protect your children and keep some sanity to their world. I would still go to counseling, but maybe not with the goal of working on your marriage, but instead to work on helping her to get some control on her life*******/I]. I would work on baby steps

Sounds like you’re done w/ the marriage (as does she) and you just want to take care of your children. I’ve been in similar situations, I wouldn’t go to counseling w/ her. You’re not going to change her and as far as** ***"**helpinig" her … only if she wants it, can she help herself.

You might want to get counseling for yourself & children.

God Bless You.


#13

I second that children probably need counselling too.


#14

Update:

She is obviously going back and forth between saving the marriage and divorce, but I’m thinking its just a ploy to stay with the children. I told her even if we continued to go to marriage counseling, that I’m still contacting my attorney.

As I was about to leave for a job interview this Child Protective Services showed up at our door to interview us and the kids. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay and hear everything. My wife said that she only said positive things about me, but our problem is that we argue in front of the kids. When I go tomorrow I’m spilling the beans about her coming home drunk all the time, puking in front of the kids and wetting the bed while sleeping with my daughter.


#15

She dangerously in denial.

Protect your children, they are innocent and helpless.


#16

Your quite fortunate to have these things documented and evident…you have that going for you.


#17

[quote="Samson01, post:16, topic:249880"]
Your quite fortunate to have these things documented and evident...you have that going for you.

[/quote]

Yes, make sure you keep this thread open and use it to document things. You can then use this documentation to help you.


#18

I’ll pray for you.

Just so you know where I’m coming from… married 21 years, wife left 1.5 years ago, divorce was final almost exactly one year ago. I have full custody of my kids- 12 and 15 and my eldest daughter (20) lives with me. (Ex gave shared custody two weeks after moving out, then invited a ‘friend’ from high school to come room with her-- kids couldn’t handle being there even every other weekend. She wouldn’t change the situation which sent a strong message to the kids about her feelings for them and where they ranked in her priorities).

IMHO- Seperations is a must. You married her for better or worse, unfortunately its worse. However, that doesn’t mean you continue this way. As both of you have admitted, fighting in front of the kids is hurting them, seeing their mom this way is hurting them, seeing her hauled away is hurting them. Seperation is your best chance for saving your marriage, again IMHO, because it will force your wife to deal with the reality of what’s at risk if she doesn’t change. She needs to grow up and make a choice.

I agree you can only speak for yourself, you know how you feel about your kids and can’t speak for her. However, you can’t speak against her either. ALSO-- she is their mother. No matter your opinion of her, no matter how she acts, in their minds that’s the reality. She will always be Mom to them. They will want to think the best of her they can-- and no one else can or will take that spot in their lives. (Although I strongly encourage getting them around other family members including the folks on her side of the family). If you interfere in that relationship, even if you think you are acting in their best interests they may blame you down the road. I allow my ex to visit the kids in my home a couple nights a week and every other weekend, she comes over every school morning and takes them to school. Additionally, I pay her some child support so she (and hence they) can’t say she couldn’t afford to do things with them because of me and the divorce settlement. They see her on their terms, in their home where they’re comfortable. I always leave to allow her time alone with them, so they can say whatever they want without worrying about me hearing them.

I’m mentioning this because the temptation and rationale in your case is extremely strong to ‘shield’ your kids from her. You have very good reasons-- you have no control of who she’ll have around the kids when she has custody. That’s in addition to her anger and drinking issues. But again, your kids will want time with their Mom, if you’re seen as the obstacle they may blame you not just now, but down the road as well. Especially if it’s rocky in the future. Allow their Mom to destroy or build that relationship on her own. Your kids will have to deal with her their whole lives, better to guide it and be there to support them when she disappoints them. Help them cope with the reality vice hide from it.

And again, perhaps if she’s in an apartment looking at blank walls, going to sleep in a place away from her kids, only able to hear their voices on the phone at bedtime vice kissing them good night, away from your emotional support – she’ll decide she wants to be a wife and mother.


#19

The only thing I would add to the other posters is that I would make it a point to try to pray atleast a decade of the Rosary for her each morning and night. Just asking the Lord to heal her. Its a very selfless thing to do and would do wonders for both yourself and for her.

I will keep you in my prayers, although I think I need to stay off these forums, because my prayer list just keeps getting longer and longer ;-)

God Bless you and may he protect your family.


#20

[quote="styrgwillidar, post:18, topic:249880"]
I'll pray for you.

Just so you know where I'm coming from... married 21 years, wife left 1.5 years ago, divorce was final almost exactly one year ago. I have full custody of my kids- 12 and 15 and my eldest daughter (20) lives with me. (Ex gave shared custody two weeks after moving out, then invited a 'friend' from high school to come room with her-- kids couldn't handle being there even every other weekend. She wouldn't change the situation which sent a strong message to the kids about her feelings for them and where they ranked in her priorities).

IMHO- Seperations is a must. You married her for better or worse, unfortunately its worse. However, that doesn't mean you continue this way. As both of you have admitted, fighting in front of the kids is hurting them, seeing their mom this way is hurting them, seeing her hauled away is hurting them. Seperation is your best chance for saving your marriage, again IMHO, because it will force your wife to deal with the reality of what's at risk if she doesn't change. She needs to grow up and make a choice.

I agree you can only speak for yourself, you know how you feel about your kids and can't speak for her. However, you can't speak against her either. ALSO-- she is their mother. No matter your opinion of her, no matter how she acts, in their minds that's the reality. She will always be Mom to them. They will want to think the best of her they can-- and no one else can or will take that spot in their lives. (Although I strongly encourage getting them around other family members including the folks on her side of the family). If you interfere in that relationship, even if you think you are acting in their best interests they may blame you down the road. I allow my ex to visit the kids in my home a couple nights a week and every other weekend, she comes over every school morning and takes them to school. Additionally, I pay her some child support so she (and hence they) can't say she couldn't afford to do things with them because of me and the divorce settlement. They see her on their terms, in their home where they're comfortable. I always leave to allow her time alone with them, so they can say whatever they want without worrying about me hearing them.

I'm mentioning this because the temptation and rationale in your case is extremely strong to 'shield' your kids from her. You have very good reasons-- you have no control of who she'll have around the kids when she has custody. That's in addition to her anger and drinking issues. But again, your kids will want time with their Mom, if you're seen as the obstacle they may blame you not just now, but down the road as well. Especially if it's rocky in the future. Allow their Mom to destroy or build that relationship on her own. Your kids will have to deal with her their whole lives, better to guide it and be there to support them when she disappoints them. Help them cope with the reality vice hide from it.

And again, perhaps if she's in an apartment looking at blank walls, going to sleep in a place away from her kids, only able to hear their voices on the phone at bedtime vice kissing them good night, away from your emotional support -- she'll decide she wants to be a wife and mother.

[/quote]

excellent post!


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