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Lack of Trust in Marriage

the.guard Sunday, 29 January 2017

Dear GYE,

I don't know what my husband does or doesn't do regarding the Internet - he plays the innocent card - but I caught him watching porn several years back, and he never came clean to me, saying, "it's in my past, I'm doing GYE." He gets your emails but they rarely get opened.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this. I don't trust him, my marriage feels dead, I don't see anything changing unless I threaten to leave, which I'm not doing till the kids get married. Why should he change? There's no pressure, and in his mind, everyone struggles with this.

(We are both frum-from-birth, grew up in Flatbush, yeshivish, my husband davens in shul daily; actually, he's more committed to davening with a Minyan than he is to working on our marriage! Speaks to Rosh Yeshiva twice a year, but no real relationship with a Rav).


GYE asks some of our in-house experts:

What can we do with these typical cases where trust has been lost in the marriage? The guy is probably still acting out, but is in denial and still in hiding... Is there anything we can do for the wife besides to send her to our RESOURCES FOR SPOUSES? Is there anything we can do for the man, for the marriage? What can we suggest?

R’ Simcha Feuerman responds:

Dear At-The-End,

If you don't trust someone, the porn is only a symptom, not the problem. In a marriage, as in any relationship, if you don't have the trust, something is broken. One way to fix broken relationships is to go for a couples counseling.

If both spouses have enough emotional health and communication skills, they won't need therapy; they might be able to fix the trust issues by talking and negotiating and communicating between themselves.

Elya Katz Responds:

The wife needs counseling to confront the husband and set boundaries. Have her call my wife 901-219-3072.

Dov Responds:

This is the job of a professional counselor, not GYE and certainly not me. But I will share a few things that I know have helped others, with the disclaimer that each couple and each member of a couple is individual and special. What is good for some is not good for others. We also know very few details regarding the history between them and what else is good and bad about the marriage. So with all that in mind, I will state the following:

Dear End-of-Your-Rope:

1- It is possible that you need to hand your husband the exact copy of this email that you sent to GYE. The fact that you are writing this is no indictment of your keeping this issue secret from him, for perhaps you had told him everything already... but maybe you had not. Or maybe you've told him the general idea but never the full truth about your feelings, fears, and suspicions. Many of us are far worse communicators than we think we are. Handing him the exact and unedited copy just as you wrote it to GYE will certainly not solve the entire problem, but it will be a first and powerful step in getting the shame and 'two-facedness' - and ultimately the loneliness - out of your marital dynamic. You are hurting and that's partially about loneliness. Loneliness within a relationship is terribly painful and terrible to hold on to. Let your realness start with him. And maybe he is holding some things from you - but if you're doing the same, no matter what the reason, then it breeds this anti-intimacy and mistrust on both sides.

2- It is quite possible that you are right. But it is also quite possible that you are blowing the matter out of proportion. And if that's the case, then it is highly unfair and destructive to you and to your marriage. If that's what you are doing, then you need therapy and the sooner, the better. That does not mean you need to put yourself down - you would simply go to therapy to see the truth about yourself in this relationship.

It may turn out that you're 100% right that he has a problem - but it could also be that the only real issue here is your own insecurity and your feeling that if your husband does struggle with a desire for other women, then that means a total negation of his love for you. If you actually do go to therapy by yourself and tell your husband why you're going, it might help him take this matter more seriously.

The facts need to be sorted out here, which brings me to the final thing:

3- He is certainly not being forthcoming enough. Not for his wife. Even if you are overdoing this, you still have a right to know the full unvarnished truth about exactly what he does and what he doesn't do. You need more communication than you are getting. So that makes the lack of communication his problem, too.

Hatzlocha to you both!

P.S. If the husband wants to talk, I'd be glad to rip him a new one, friend to friend, that is.