“John” came into the counseling office looking very despondent. “I don’t understand what happened this week,” he said. “’Jane’ had been doing so well and I have not seen her angry in more than a month. Then she just exploded. Crying, throwing things, cursing at me. I thought we were good. What happened?”
“John” is a recovering pornography addict who has been in therapy for nearly one year and his wife, “Jane,” is working on her own betrayal recovery. What “John” encountered is not unusual for a couple doing the intense work to get their marriage back on track.
“Jane” was going through another bout of grieving over the betrayal she experienced from “John’s” use of pornography during their marriage. What happened with “Jane” is simply part of the recovery process. Men tend to forget the average recovery time for a woman dealing with betrayal is 12-24 months.
Over the past month, “Jane” had been practicing self-soothing herself when she was feeling angry or sad as she thought about “John’s” actions. She was trying to reduce the amount of negativity she was experiencing when spending time with her husband.
There is nothing wrong with “Jane” trying to stay more positive around “John,” her only mistake was she should have told him what she was attempting to do. This would have helped set “John’s” expectations about her recovery.
But he also made mistakes.
Enjoying the stability of a peaceful home, “John” didn’t take opportunity to ask “Jane” how she was dealing with her recovery. If he had, she most likely would have shared her emotions, instead of holding them in.
His second error was mistaking “Jane’s” calm demeanor to indicate she was no longer emotionally or mentally troubled by his pornography addiction. As I tell my male clients, while your wife may be presenting a calm and peaceful …read more