DEAR ABBY: During the first year of our marriage, my husband cheated on me with women from his past as well as new encounters. When I confronted him, he promised to stop. He would then call and email these women, and tell them I was checking up on him and he'd contact them later.
This has gone on for years. He swears he's no longer cheating, and we have sought counseling - which I stopped because the counselor and I agreed that my husband didn't think he had a problem.
When I confront him with my suspicions, he insists that I am "driving him away" by accusing him. He is very arrogant, and people who don't know him believe he's a great guy and I am the problem.
I have considered revenge cheating, but it goes against my morals. I think about divorcing him, but then I think - what if I am wrong? What if he really is being faithful? What should I do? I love him.
—UNSURE IN TEXAS
DEAR UNSURE: I agree that "revenge" cheating is not the solution to your problem. Hire a private detective and get to the bottom of this. If you're wrong, you need counseling to resolve your insecurities.
However, if he's cheating, you will know you haven't been imagining things and can decide rationally if it's in your best interests to continue being married to a womanizer. —ABBY
Hi Unsure: I’m having difficulty getting that your counselor agreed with you about your husband thinking he didn’t have a problem. If I were your counselor I’d know, with absolute certainty, that you both have an equal number of serious problems, and, that it wouldn’t serve you to lead you to think that you should stop counseling just because your husband believed he didn’t need it; in fact his denial is all the more reason for you to continue. For your counselor to let you return home to that kind of an environment without a strong recommendation for you to continue counseling for yourself just doesn’t seem likely.
For certain, your husband is correct, you are the source of the problem, however, whether or not your husband is still cheating is not the source of your problem. What many readers cringe about are the effects of your leadership-communication skills, how you have been controlling him by pretending to be ignorant, surrendering to his anger, and, your addiction to blaming and to being incomplete (to not getting certainty).
At some level he can’t feel good about his abusive accusations.
- When someone gets angry in response to a question you ask they are using anger to distract you from getting the answer; typically they deflect the question by attacking you for “attacking” them.
On the other hand, at some level you can’t feel good knowing that your leadership-communication skills have set it up for him to keep cheating on you. Blaming another for your unconscious machinations is abusive for which there are undesirable consequences. Just because you don’t know how you trained him to withhold thoughts from you doesn’t mean you didn’t.
For example: If I was to give you the task of training him to cheat on you, you’d have to continue relating as you have been only now do it purposefully (read Sandra et al & cheating).
Re: “. . . my husband cheated on me with women from his past as well as new encounters.” This is a blame statement. Communicated responsibly it would read: “Using my highly developed leadership-communication skills I unconsciously manipulated my husband into cheating and now find myself blaming him.”
The source of your problem began way before you met him, back at an incident (most likely during childhood) immediately after which you began developing your manipulation skills; the incident contains elements of blaming, cheating, deceit, verbal abuse, and feigning ignorance. In short, the breakdowns in communication between you reveal that your integrity is (has been) out. An actualized woman (one who operates from integrity) simply would not attract someone with integrity issues; —his inability to honor agreements and his addiction to abusing you perfectly mirrors your addiction to abusing and being abused and your ignorance about co-creating a fidelity agreement.
Just as there is a way to communicate that inspires openness and honesty so too is there a way to communicate that creates deceit and withholds. Pretending you’re not the leader is not very becoming of you.
Because you have been dragging around life’s unacknowledged perpetrations (read Reunion Conversations) into each interaction with him, your mind has become clouded. You have lost your ability to see clearly. As with most who are unconsciously masterminding a divorce, you have mastered talking which guarantees more of the same. The difference between talking and communicating is that with communication problems disappear.
What’s so is, we attract partners who mirror our integrity. You seduced, attracted, and still hang out with someone who mirrors your integrity. Once your integrity has been restored you will be able to experience when he is hiding a thought; also, he’ll know that you are no longer at effect of the fear you now have in your relationship with him.
In truth, there is no way for him to heal with you in his life. You have become an enabler. What you call love causes him to continue to disrespect you. How can he possibly respect you when he doesn’t even respect himself?
- A person of honor, soon after an angry accusative outburst, acknowledges that he/she knows that their attack was both blaming and abusive and communicates the incident through to mutual satisfaction.
Your husband’s integrity is so out that he’s lost his ability to experience what verbal abuse feels like for you. He hasn’t destroyed enough relationships to motivate him to heal without prodding.
I applaud your resistance to resorting to sneaky (behind his back) behaviors; it would only compound your problem.
Also, it doesn’t make sense to forgive someone for something you (albeit unconsciously) manipulated them into doing. I mention this because when you forgive a cheater you never know thereafter if a present is about love or guilt. Sometimes a "gift" is the security of a living arrangements, etc. which grants permission for more perpetrations.
In short, things haven’t gotten bad enough for you to have abuse-free relationships. What you call love is so not it; love can’t exist in a relationship in which there are trust issues.
The advice I trust you can follow is to keep doing what you have been doing until it no longer works for you. If/when you are absolutely intent on restoring your integrity do The Clearing Process (it's free and it works) —with aloha, Gabby
BTW: You are normal and typical and perfectly on-track. All that's happened is supposed to have happened, it's part of your enlightenment curriculum; communication is not taught in public schools.