Today we’re going to be looking at therapeutic or trial separation- the idea of spending some time apart to heal your marriage. For many couples who feel like their marriage is at the end of its tether, this kind of separation might be something to consider. But you need to be aware of the risks and possible outcomes going in.
I think we should state very clearly that our vision is to help people create thriving, passionate marriages. At the same time, we realize that folks often come to our podcast or website or to us for counseling in a great deal of distress. So when we’re talking about therapeutic separation today this is with the goal of restoring your marriage, as long as it is safe to do that.
On the safety note: if you are in an abusive situation a different approach is necessary — please see our shows on abuse. You may still pursue separation but you will not likely be safe to do so in the way we’re about to describe.
Ogling or objectifying the bodies of others by staring with obvious sexual interest can be an easy habit to get into. Especially in a culture that objectifies women. It’s also something that recovering porn addicts have to work really hard at to break. But: there are plenty of non-addicts that deal with this too, so let’s break this down and figure out how to break free of this habit. Continue reading
So what if you’re good friends with another couple and the wife there is a little too attentive to your husband? Or, another patron is asking: what if both my spouse and I are experiencing PISD (post infidelity stress disorder)?
How would you react if you found out that your spouse was cheating on you? No doubt it would be a severe shock and you would find yourself filled with anger, surprise, sorrow and all kinds of other emotions. In fact, research shows that the effect of discovering infidelity is so severe it can be likened to recovering from a life-threatening traumatic event.
This week, we have a question from one of our audience members who wanted clarity on her expectations around side effects of her husband’s testosterone therapy.
“What experience do you have with testosterone therapy for men? I believe part of the cause of my husband’s infidelity is due to much testosterone pellets and an excessive need for sex. I do not excuse him for one minute for the devastation he caused. think If that is going to be an available treatment for a medical condition some kind of information and counseling should be required as to how you will feel.
We are 2-1/2 years past D day finding out of multiple hookups just for sex. We’d been married for 36 years!!! He is 59 and I am 57 right now. I credit my faith in keeping this altogether without telling anyone or counselling. Not a great idea after the fact. He’s moved on from the infidelities and I still struggle at times.
Q2: I guess I’m trying to understand if testosterone can make you impulsive and have the need to have sex in abundance. I feel you should be in control if your self, but if you are on the high end of the testosterone scale 1200-1500 can it change you? I do know hormones are powerful and make you feel all sorts of things.”
This week, Caleb answers a very touching question from Betty*, one of our email subscribers. She asked,
“I responded a few months ago, rather aggressively, may I add, to your husband’s question. And of course, he graciously responded with a question that pierced through my pain and frustration and found my heart. He asked,” Do you still want to be married?” I thought about it for weeks!! Please let him know that we found a local counselor, who is also our pastor, and have been progressing, to say the least. What you two do is so vital in a world that opposes marriage and commitment in general.Thank you! Thank you!
Anyways, to respond to your request, my question would be … ” After infidelity strikes, how do you trust your husband again?” I know it takes time to learn how to trust again, but how do you truly grant yourself the space to be vulnerable in that way? Or … are you bruised for life? Sometimes I feel like I am a shell of who I once was; a child learning to be confident in herself and womanhood, it’s embarrassing.
So glad, this is anonymous! lol . Even if this isn’t broadcasted I’d love your take on this.”
Peggy* wrote in to ask about sexual addiction and its effects on marriage. She writes,
First, I think your plans for traveling for a year sounds awesome! What an exciting adventure to undertake. Your family will be in my prayers that you will only experience slight bumps in the road and have a wonderful family bonding time!
I love the podcasts and feel so lucky to have found you. I think the first one I listened to was something on infidelity.
I’m wondering if you might consider doing a podcast on sexual addiction. While the effects on a marriage are similar to infidelity there’s a deeper undercurrent with it. I knew there was something off in our relationship and questioned if my husband was having an affair, he always answered “no,” so I just thought he was a workaholic along with the impact of binge drinking. Finally, in the depths of his addiction he began receiving texts messages and phone calls that tipped me off.
Sexual addiction has a broad range of activities from porn and beyond. My husband’s issue started with pornographic magazines back in the 70’s and escalated to going to bars for lap dances. It basically followed the invasive changes that sexual addictions has taken in our society and how accepted it has become. The attitude of” boys will be boys” doesn’t help but speaks to the maturity level of some men in the American culture. He was taken with being desired by other women and became infatuated with several but insists he never loved them only me. I still deal with the hurt and pain that he could break our marriage vows and the years of deceit and lying. I really don’t feel I was acting co-dependently in this because I was asking if something was wrong and we consulted several marriage counselors over the years. He admits he wasn’t honest with them also.
I have listened to many podcasts and YouTube’s on this topic. I feel that Marsha Means and Barbara Steffens approach to looking at the PTSD or PISD (post infidelity stress disorder) it causes for the spouse has truly helped me. Plus I accept that this addiction is rooted in an intimacy disorder. Many “experts” support divorce but I chose not to take that path because of my religious beliefs. So I was wondering if you might look at the issues of sexual addictions from a perspective of staying in the marriage.
Thanks so much, Peggy*
PS I have to admit I love both of your laughs! Keep up the great work!
“First all, huge thanks for what you are doing. My marriage is still in trouble, and it’s even getting worse and worse. But thanks to your podcasts, I’m more ready to forgive and to accept my wife after her infidelity disclosure.
The question is as follows. How do I fight for my marriage and my family (there are children) and my wife while she’s undecided to stay or to leave as she feels in love with her affair mate?
She’s saying she can’t imagine to be my wife anymore while she can’t imagine losing me as a father of our children and part of the family. In other words, she wants to do life together, but not as husband and wife…”
Listen to the podcast episode to see what Caleb had to say to Jason.
My wife and I started dating, got married the next year, had our first child a year later, and then our second child the following year. Around the same time as our second child was born, an ex-girlfriend texted me.
Conversations started as just “Hey, how’s life?” but quickly escalated to sexting as we used to do when we dated. Right before I could tell my wife, she saw the texts and got very upset. I had already ended communications with this girl and just couldn’t strike up the nerve to tell my wife what I had done.
Fast forward a couple months and we had been through about a month of counselling session. Things were getting better between us and then I had to go on a business trip. I had a few friends I had planned on meeting with while there, but there was one in particular my wife was not comfortable with me talking to. So I told her I wouldn’t meet with that friend, but I lied. She later found out and again had to start mending our relationship.
Things have been going pretty well, except now I have a week long business trip coming up and she keeps bringing up the past issues. I know what I’ve done and how I’ve messed up, but she keeps bringing it up. I ask her not to because it still hurts so bad, but she does anyways. What can I do in this next month or so in order to help build her trust again and help her to stop bringing up my past mistakes?
Listen to the podcast episode for Caleb’s answer!
*Name has been changed for confidentiality reasons
Betrayal is such a ground-shaking event. Probably because it so deeply challenges your beliefs about someone incredibly significant in your life, and that, in turn, challenges your beliefs about yourself. So: what does the road forward, after betrayal, look like?