The only repentence he's capable of or just snowing me?


I have posted before about my husband’s secret friendships, secret e-mails, and years of lying, which I’ve only discovered the extent of in the last two years. Our marriage has also included years of what I consider verbal and emotional abuse, and emotional blackmail, in that he was taking our disagreements to all his friends and co-workers and coming back to tell me how horrible they and all his family think I am, to the point I was afraid to object to anything he did, or have an opinion about anything.

So… that’s the extremely short version. Up until two years ago, I did a lot of praying for my marriage, novena after novena, weekly fasting, perpetual adoration, the works. Two years ago, I exploded, quit praying for a year, and started digging and found out things were even worse than I knew. (That’s when I started discovering the secret friendships.) I kicked up a huge stink, and it’s been two years of on again-off again fighting.

Over the last year, he has ‘progressed’ to admitting that he has ‘screwed up’ – but never admits to anything specific. On any individual issue, he really admits nothing more than a vague, “It was inappropriate,” which is eventually followed by asking, “What have I actually DONE?” I tell him specifically, and he shrugs it all off (the verbal abuse? “I didn’t do it every day, did I?” He has a reason why none of it is really that big a deal, or else he just doesn’t answer.)

The current situation is, he now treats me like a queen, making me breakfast, making me ice cream drinks, helping around the house, taking the kids out so I can pursue my hobbies, buying me little gifts. He says he’s cut off contact with all these women, but I have no proof and know only too well he’s capable of lying about it, and even convincing himself it’s harmless. He says his behavior is his way of apologizing and showing he cares about my feelings.

And yet he as often as not denies he actually did anything that should upset me. He refuses to address the lying or any other issue in our marriage without just explaining how I’m mistaken about it all. I have told him I want the friendly e-mails one of these women got, and it’s become painfully obvious he won’t take the time to send me e-mails from work as he did her. We’ve been to Retrouvaille (he walked out on me at a post-session because I felt hopeless in a marriage that at the time still included two other women) and we’ve seen two marriage counselors, both of whom refused to deal with his lying and pressed me to simply ignore the lies and ‘choose to trust.’ (I’ve done that repeatedly and been shown to be a gullible fool each time.) His complaint is that he feels he’s under suspicion all the time and doesn’t seem to GET why lying to me about serious issues for most of our marriage should make me so darn suspicious! :eek: He really can’t tell me why he wants to stay married, leading me to feel this is all a big act to save himself the trouble of divorce, rather than any real concern for me.

All these gifts and the queen treatment-- I am torn between thinking they are the best he can do, that perhaps he DOES recognize how poorly he’s behaved, and is too ashamed to admit it, versus thinking he’s just snowing me again so I don’t ask questions. He’s been kind and thoughtful at other times, and it turns out during those times he was having secret e-mails with one of these women, running me down.

Any thoughts of advice from those who can perhaps see it more objectively?


Find a good Christian (preferably Catholic) counselor (I’m not sure what kind of counselors you went to before, but they appear very poor examples)…consult your priest and/or spiritual advisor…and PRAY…pray for discernment, pray for healing (esp. for yourself), and pray for your husbands soul. You’re in my prayers!!!

God bless,


Have you tried counseling just for yourself? That’s probably what I would recommend if you want to get a better perspective on the situation without having to count on your husband being upfront and truthful.


Honestly it could be either. I recommend a marriage encounter weekend and counseling as well.

My husband is a recovered alcoholic. We went through alot- including infidelity. I know that awful feeling of not being able to trust your feelings because your not sure if he’s lying or not. There were many times in the past when he was “snowing me” as you put it. It really messes with your head after a while. I had so much anger I had to work through.

We actually did a Retrouvaille weekend which is set up the same as marriage encounter but for marriage in deeper trouble. I’m not sure where your at in your marriage either weekend I’m sure would be beneficial.

He really could not talk about alot of the stuff that went on for a long time, and for a while he glossed over it too. He suffered silently to the point where he became suicidal and had to go on antidepressants for a while. Years of working at our marriage and the grace of God has brought us healing. We have a solid marriage now and we are very happy.

I will pray for you both.


Call Gregory Popcak!!!

There is a link on that page for telecounseling services.

You can’t do any better than Popcak. He and his wife have a daily program on EWTN radio at noon, and also I’ve seem them on EWTN TV. Popcak’s book, For Better or for Best, is by far the best book on marriage I have seen, and I’ve read widely on marriage.

His book describes the best and the worst marriages, in gaduating stages. You will find your marriage described in there. By reading the characteristics of the well-defined categories, you’ll find yourself described, and know where you fit on the scale, as well as the outcome and prognosis of life in that marriage and what it takes to move up the scale.

Popcak has been a daily communicant since he was young, and when you hear him speak you know he is filled with Godly wisdom along with his excellent credentials in counseling. I am sure he can offer much insight in your situation. I have heard him cut to the heart of the matter in a matter of minutes on his radio program when addressing people’s problems. He understands also the subtle but real abuse issues you mention and will have some wisdom to offer concerning the lack of apology you mention here. I know you will find his wisdom a treasure.

God bless you.


from the story as OP has told it here and on other threads, at this point there is absolutely nothing the husband in this saga could to to regain her trust at this point. Retrouville is the last ditch attempt but if both are so full of anger and recrimination that they refuse this or a similar intervention, and refuse to continue counselling, there is no hope except for a life of unhappiness, either separate or apart.


I can’t offer an objective opinion because I’m going through the same thing. The lies, the distorted and one-sided stories to friends and family who think I’m so awful, the “What did I do?!”, the lack of an apology, the fake and generally vague apology, all of it. I feel like I’m on constant play of a record, always hearing the same three lines in succession. I don’t get any of the queen treatment, right now I’m getting the silent treatment.

If my husband all of a sudden started treating me like a queen but still refused to admit any wrong-doing or to offer a specific apology, I would assume his thinking hadn’t changed and would not trust him. If it were accompanied by repentance and personal responsibility, his words would be different. They might not be eloquent or lengthy, but they would be different. I would thank him for his actions and encourage his participation in family life, but I wouldn’t trust him. Eventually, I’d have trouble with that because I would feel like I was sweeping our problems under the rug without his taking responsibility. As long as I am not talking about the problems, my husband thinks our life is great. He thinks I just need to forget and forgive and move on. I could see him doing the same thing (trying to be nice) as a way to “move on” without ever addressing the problems. The situation would eventually collapse in my house back into where we are now, because we will have never dealt with it.

I’ve been snowed so many times all ready that I’m now at the end of my rope. I have no trust left. He doesn’t understand why, either. I’ve made dozens of lists and discussed them with him at length. It doesn’t matter. He justifies everything and refuses to take personal responsibility. Until I see real repentance in his eyes and on his lips, our options are as Puzzleannie put it, to be miserable alone or together. Just saying it puts a heavy blackness into my soul. Things could be so different if only he would do it. It is very hurtful. Everyone says Marriage Encounter to me, too. Your experience is my greatest fear. It wouldn’t work the miracle we need because my husband would shut out the grace it would bring. I am so helpless because there is nothing I can do about that. It would push me over the edge into severe depression and/or a nervous breakdown if that happened. I am waiting for any sign from my husband first to indicate his desire to change.

If my husband started the queen treatment and told me it was his way of showing repentance, I would probably say something like “I am really very happy that you realize the need to address the years of hurt and pain we’ve been through. I am appreciative of your efforts and understand that this is the way you know to address things because it is how you would like me to fill your needs. I need to see your repentance expressed in different ways, though, for it to reach me. Would you go to counseling to learn how to verbalize your repentance?” I would already have a counselor in line who I had pre-screened for method and theory so all we’d have to do is pick up the phone and call. Knowing my husband, he’d have excuses why he couldn’t and that would answer if his effort was genuine. I don’t know what your husband would do, but you could change the criteria to something that would show where he is. If he’s trying to sweep it under the rug and not deal with it, it will show.


I agree. Talk to someone alone, get out your side of the story and start taking care of yourself. —KCT


Sadly, the first course was to go to a counselor highly recommended by a priest I respected. He was apparently a very devout Catholic, had founded a thriving counseling center, and written two books on marriage.

For the second counselor, I also looked for someone coming from a religious point of view. He was Lutheran, I think, and talked a lot about my need to forgive and how Viktor Frankl demonstrated we have control over our attitude no matter what the situation. The lying was considered ‘in the past,’ and if I believed DH had been a little dishonest during that current week, I was told I was ‘playing old tapes.’ [Just a vent, but it turns out that DH was not exactly being honest with that counselor, either, I later found out. A small but vital detail was conveniently left out.]

Dulicissima, I continue to think about IC. A friend recommended someone, whom I haven’t called because our insurance doesn’t cover her. Part of me feels I should spend that hour a week getting back to my own life, or at perpetual adoration. (In fact, I keep planning to.) I am so disappointed by the counselors we’ve seen, and yet if I have someone back me up, I fear that I’ve swayed the story, although I try very hard to be fair and 100% honest. I am also afraid of choosing someone ultra-conservative who either pressures me to stay in a hopeless marriage or someone more liberal who presses me to take the way of the world and file for divorce.

Rayne, thank you for your input and your prayers.

Eliza, thank you for your recommendation. I think I might have that book and even read it years ago.

Puzzleannie, just a year ago, even after years of lying, he could have quickly regained my trust. But even just three weeks ago, I found yet another version of a story about one of these women was not quite the way he portrayed it to the counselor. Even now, he could begin to regain my trust by showing something that I recognize as real remorse and real understanding of why lying is so wrong and destructive. I haven’t seen that. And that’s what I’m looking for insight into: is this just the best some people can do? And I acknowledge you may be right, and if this is the best he can do, maybe it isn’t good enough. But I am at least trying to be open to the best I can possibly believe from his behavior.

Eventually, I’d have trouble with that because I would feel like I was sweeping our problems under the rug without his taking responsibility. As long as I am not talking about the problems, my husband thinks our life is great. He thinks I just need to forget and forgive and move on. I could see him doing the same thing (trying to be nice) as a way to “move on” without ever addressing the problems. The situation would eventually collapse in my house back into where we are now, because we will have never dealt with it.

Yes, to all of this. I feel we’ve already been through the cycle once of sweep it under the rug and end up back at square one because it wasn’t dealt with.

I don’t accept that being miserable is the only option. I am happy with virtually every other aspect of my life. KCT-- I have been doing a lot of the ‘taking care of myself’ and it has helped immensely. :slight_smile:


If it were me, I would see a priest for some counseling and an attorney for legal advice


I really would like to encourage you, as far as the individual counseling goes. It will help you to figure out just where it is that you are. I’ve been going for just over a year now. I think I talked and talked and barely gave my counselor much of a chance to say anything my first session. Then, after a couple of session, I voiced my concern that how could she help, just hearing my side of the story, what if my perceptions were off??? What I realize now is that a lot of the problems that we have in a marital relationship follow very well established patterns. Counselors who are familiar with these patterns can give us a lot of much needed perspective, because they can see where we are falling in that pattern even though it might be difficult for us to make that out ourselves since we don’t have the distance from the problem to see it clearly. I think even hearing one side of the story, a counselor can help you immensely and can give you some good feedback as far as how you are responding to problems and people in your life. He or she can give you some encouragement as far as what you are doing right and can coach you through how you can take a better approach the next time you encounter a problem. I really do recommend it!

And…it’s not either or. You can go to counseling. You can go to adoration. You can go to the gym. It is important to make time for these things in your life. Maybe YOU need to sart giving yourself the queen treatment. :slight_smile:


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