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Counseling Couldn't Fix My Broken Marriage

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Marriages don't end neatly. Especially marriages with children.

couple in therapy with child

Wife #2: Patrick and I never really contemplated what would happen when we told our spouses we'd fallen in love with each other. That's not because we were flippant or uncaring. We just became consumed with the need to be honest, for their sake and ours. We weren't thinking about the fallout. We were thinking about trying to do the right thing in an impossible situation.

When our spouses asked us to walk away from each other, to give them another chance, we agreed. They deserved at least that. But asking us to give each other up was like asking us to give up breathing. After all, do you really need oxygen?

You can imagine what the months that followed were like. It was the dead of winter. My husband and I would come home after work to either screaming fights or stony silence. There was no in-between. I was sick over what our children were seeing. Our marriage wasn't great to begin with, and it quickly became intolerable.

I remember driving to marriage counseling every week during those long, cold months. I hated sitting on that couch, listening to my husband berate me for falling in love with another man, while the therapist nodded in that neutral "I won't take sides" way. Honestly, it would have been better if he'd just berated me too. It was all such a load of crap!

(Fire up the laptops because I can almost hear your keyboards clicking out there in cyberspace ... the gall of Wife #2 criticizing the sanctity of marriage counseling!)

It's true. I just don't believe in couples therapy. I'm not saying it's entirely useless. I'm sure some people who really have trouble communicating benefit from a third party leading the way. But in my opinion, most therapy is just an expensive b*tch session. No offense, but I'd choose a great girlfriend with a glass of wine over that any day.

In my case, it didn't matter what the therapist said. I wasn't having some kind of inner crisis, I wasn't struggling because my own parents divorced, I wasn't lashing out because my husband had been neglectful for years (though for the record, he had been). I was in love with another man and not in love with my husband. No amount of earnest psychobabble was going to change that.

At one point the therapist asked me to describe Patrick, to explain my feelings. I remember looking down and saying, "He's the love of my life."

Years later, I still feel dizzy thinking of that moment and the pain I caused. "Love of my life" should have been my husband's rightful position. He had eight years of marriage and three kids on his side.

That may have been a turning point. Eventually my husband's fury started to outweigh his wanting me back. He also seemed to realize what I already knew: Patrick or no Patrick, I was leaving. The marriage was permanently broken.

So thousands of dollars in therapy got us to exactly where we started. We didn't end any more amicably because we went through it. It didn't help me in the least. Maybe it helped my ex, I don't really know. But at least that's one reason not to regret it entirely.

next: Sarah Palin to Kids: "Obey!"
140 comments so far | Post a comment now
PlumbLucky December 8, 2009, 5:06 AM

Another week, another story justifying this twerp’s every-changing story as to why she couldn’t keep her vows and had to act like a hooker.

Stefanie December 8, 2009, 5:58 AM

Oh Snap! The claws have come out today! You women are no better that /b/ when it comes to these articles. (In their speak) I are on teh intarwebz. I are anonymous. I think she might get some up-lifting reviews if she put it on 4chan. Most you complain, she’s a hooker or an uncaring mom, when you yourself has not been in her situation. I have been, and damnit, she did what was right. Women like you complain all the time, he’s no good for her, she should leave him, find a new man. He’s only bringing her down, and the kids are in the middle.
If there were ever hypocrites on this site, it would be her where a woman left him, found a better man, and is the happier for it.

m December 8, 2009, 7:28 AM

Please stop blogging, your articles are so stupid and selfish.

Barb December 8, 2009, 8:05 AM

It’s like she’s digging a deeper and deeper hole. And why are we hearing this story from back to front?

Just Sayin' December 8, 2009, 9:39 AM

NO ONE WANTS TO KEEP HEARING ABOUT THIS. Stop, for the love of God, stop. Pretend that you just can’t help yourself and must leave the keyboard in order to fulfill your life somewhere else…PLEASE!

Melissa December 8, 2009, 11:12 AM

Wow - if you don’t want to “hear” about this person’s personal story that she is sharing, STOP READING IT… I for one appreciate her taking the time to write it. I too am in a marriage and wonder what to do. If I found the “love of my life” I wonder what would happen. Life doesn’t always end up like we planned or hoped. Life just happens -

GoodJob December 8, 2009, 12:25 PM

You have the right to leave and be happy elsewhere. I applaud your honesty.

Pamala December 8, 2009, 3:32 PM

I’m tired of reading this stuff. I simply don’t understand, if the marriage was so bad, why didn’t it end before you went off and found another man? I just don’t get it at all. You have every right to leave, to divorce, to even not give your marriage any chance at all, but the affair, to me there is no justification for that sort of behavior. None. Because you have the avenues to get out and not do it. There is nothing saying you have to stay married and because of that you shouldn’t ever have an affair either. I just think that if you’ve fallen out of love with your current husband, then divorce, then find the love of your life. I don’t understand what the point of staying, of stringing someone on, while you discover the love of your life? Why bring that world of hurt and pain on someone, no matter how “neglected” you supposedly were? In my mind it comes down to self control. Sure you can meet someone, realize that he might be your love, but you still control yourself, don’t have the affair, end your marriage and then do what you want. An affair is never correct or a good thing. So please stop trying to prove otherwise. There are so many more options out there than having an affair, than lying.

Sara December 8, 2009, 4:38 PM

Wife #2, are you by any chance a man? Anyone so callous and flippant must be—wait, are you even human?

Of course marriage counseling didn’t work for you, you didn’t want to. You only wanted to be with Patrick. Sounds like you wasted a lot of time and money.

So how bout an update? Have you grown up yet? Is Patrick everything you hoped and dreamed?

Anonymous December 9, 2009, 10:55 PM

Seriously stop judging this woman! If any of you ladies had a best friend in this situation or a sister or a daughter would you not be wanting her to be happy, would you berate them like you have wife #2? Counseling does work when both people want to fix it and in this case I think it was already done. One last thing, sometimes you don’t realize you have fallen out of love, until a situation like hers has approached. You know you feel disconnected but you don’t realize the love is gone. I have not been in this situation, but pretty darn close. It truly sneaks up on you. You may not agree with her decisions and her reasons, but we don’t need to be mean or rude. Her life, her choice.

Logical December 11, 2009, 6:10 PM

Anonymous, would it be ANY different if it were written by a man? Should it be his “choice” to just walk out and leave her, even if she had done nothing wrong? His life, his choice. It actually sounds awkward…I wonder why?

And Melissa, if you are in a marriage, why are you wondering what you would do if you found the love of your life? Isn’t he with you? And if not, is it just convenient?

Therapy only works if two people don’t know how to communicate. Where they WANT it to work, but just don’t know how. This is a very small percentage of the cases. Too many people use counseling to “prove” they can’t make it, thereby justifying their so-easily-broken bond of marriage. It’s more of an handshake than a commitment, right?

tennmom December 15, 2009, 10:19 AM

I met my husband of 2 years 1 year after my late-husband (of 15 years) died. If I’d met him while my late-husband was alive, I doubted I would have had the sense to leave my late-husband.
This man is my soul mate. He loves me & my (our) daughters more and better than my late-husband did. I can’t regret that marriage b/c I wouldn’t have the same 2 daughters, but I should have left that man after the birth of our second daughter.
More power to ya, those willing to live in a bad marriage, but some of deserve better.

Imez December 16, 2009, 5:25 PM

I can’t judge you. There but for the grace of god go I, you know? It is hard to tell someone they have to sacrifice themselves, give up what they want for the entirety of their lives, so other people can be kinda happy.

I just keep thinking about his wife. Sitting there alone in the house she probably can’t afford anymore. Feeling stupid and ugly. You were friends…now her kid’s dad is gone from them half the time. She has no one to rely on to make lunch when she’s sick…stuff like that.

I’m not being passive aggressive. I think your story is one deserving of empathy and consideration. But so is theirs. Seriously, could you write a post about how the exes are? Are they ok? Did they let their lives be ruined or were they able to pull through? Could you write something to make me stop feeling awful for them? Stop making me see them sobbing guiltless in empty beds?

But maybe feeling awful for them is completely necessary to the honesty you are trying so hard to present.

Lisa R. January 2, 2010, 7:37 PM

I have to agree w/all the posters who have said IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE JUDGED, STOP BLOGGING and those that have said FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP WRITING ABOUT THIS!! From what I can tell, this was years ago, and Wife #2 is now living with/married to Patrick, divorced from her first husband, and everyone has moved on. Why, oh why, is she continuing to bore us with her mind-numbingly self-centered blogs about why they did what they did & how she had no choice, as if someone held a gun to her head and said, “Sleep with him or I’ll kill you.” If she’s having this much trouble dealing with her guilt over all the pain & destruction she caused, maybe she should give counseling another go. She’s delusional. No choice. Please.

Sush January 25, 2010, 11:18 AM

Hi there,
I am going thru teh exact same situation you have described. I am married for last 3 years and now in love with somebody else. He is not married. I dont have any children.
My marriage was never great in terms of compatibility.
Now y husband know s about my affair. But he doesn’t want to lose me. He is a very good man just not my type. But he is being miserable at the thought of separation. He thinks we can still work this out if I try honestly.
But I really want to get out of this marriage. I feel so guilty about it.
I am very confused. I want my husband to be understanding and let me go.
Am I wrong here?

Magaly Gillund February 11, 2011, 4:38 AM

There is visibly a bundle to realize about this. I assume you made certain good points in features also.

Zachariah Wisinger February 20, 2011, 8:55 PM

Good article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

Lala Mabery February 24, 2011, 12:57 AM

As a Newbie, I am constantly searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you

Erektionsprobleme February 25, 2011, 10:05 PM

That is just how i feel regarding it.

Ramon Vansicklin February 28, 2011, 1:12 AM

Thank you for this great post! It continues to be extremely insightful. I hope that you’ll proceed sharing your knowledge with us.

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