Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Any relationship counsellors about?(47 Posts)
Last night Dh &I had our 1st session. I've wanted to try it for 2 years, before, during & after his affair (both emotional & sexual) with a work colleague. He was reluctant to go so I've been doing some research & reading on affairs. At first I thought he was a narcissist (ticks all boxes) them more worryingly I wondered if he was also a sociopath (again ticks all boxes), psychopath? (Ticks a couple of boxes but not all).
Today I feel deflated. I had such hopes counselling might help but I'm wondering if it will. I was asked by the counsellor if I could think of anything I could do for him, something nice? She suggested baking him a cake. My baking cupboard is always stocked. Ours was one of those cases where there was nothing wrong before his affair. I think (& he agrees) he did it because he is selfish & has an enormous sense of entitlement, cannot foretell consequences, is able to look me in the eye & lie. It tried to explain this but she didn't seem to 'get it'. I was then asked if prior to his affair was I perhaps very busy, I more or less told her no he was not neglected in any way. He admits he loves having his ego stroked & that's basically why it happened, it wasn't my fault.
Anyway- do you think counselling is perhaps not for us as we both agree the reasons were to do with his personality ? Would he be better seeking help with his narcissism? I'm not prepared to pay someone every week for what could go on for months & months if we cannot find 'change' for his traits. Advice please!
Interesting. I think you should continue with this. You may find yourself questioning why you are with a sociopath after a few sessions.
Enter the counselling with an open mind and don't put any barriers up. Just consider what the counsellor may be suggesting. It doesn't mean she is right. If she is wrong then you tell her so.
Best of luck hun x x x
By the way, it sounds like you doubt whether partner can alter his narcissistic traits. Why don't you discuss this, and your other worries with the counsellor. Go in with your concerns about the sessions and chat about it.
I also think it's great that you're both doing couple counselling. Hopefully you'll make good progress. I've had about 6 sessions of couple counselling and 18 months of family counselling (me and the children) and it has changed our lives. Quite a few years ago now but I still feel its profound affect on me.
Thanks for your response. I am prepared to continue with it -for now, we probably will find benefits of some sort. I have questioned why I'm with him, like most narcissists he was larger than life, funny, engaging, popular, great company etc. For the years we've been together (14) I think I was probably stroking his ego enough for him, we were happy & got along fine, but the minute a new toy came along who did a better job of stroking his ego,I was dropped like a hot potato.
Interestingly, during the session we focused on his childhood, he spoke about his fathers alcoholism, being spoiled, his father's abuse towards his mother. I think this must have had some bearing on the person he has become, however, I appreciate the counsellor is the expert - not me & I am prepared to hear her advice.
So he had an affair because you weren't infantilising him enough by pandering to his every need and baking him cakes?
Dear lord, how much money does this counsellor charge for trotting out this crap??!!
Don't go back. Save your money and think to yourself 'what do I want' ?
I reckon you'd be better off going to counselling on your own. Proper counselling/psychotherapy.
She isn't necessarily the expert.
It doesn't matter what his background is. He is who he is and he treats you how he treats you..
If he has work to do on himself let him go away and do the work (it's unlikely to happen unless he had the insight and is determined to put in the hard work).
As women we are given so many messages through society about how women are supposed to make relationships work. Bollox to that. It's not your job to psychoanalyse him. It's just more white noise in your life.
What about what you want, OP?
Where did you find this counsellor?
Is she qualified?
I am aghast that in the first session she's asking you to bake a fucking cake for him!!!
How about he bakes a cake for you, as a pathetic first start at wanting to show he is sorry?
I'm not against counselling, but yours sounds shit.
To be fair to her, it was the very first session & we spent most of it explaining everything that happened. She hadn't met us before & I had the advantage of knowing my dh for 14 years,she didn't. we were strangers to her. I just felt that I was 'a step ahead of her'.
Fuck me, he has an affair so you have to find something 'nice' to do for him? Maybe bake a cake?
Perhaps you should have the kids packed off to bed, dinner ready, be all tarted up and hand him his slippers on the way in the door?
I hope the counsellor steps up.
The counsellor sounds woefully inadequate. Your instincts are right - baking a cake is a cretinous response to the circumstances.
All counsellors are dealing with strangers. She sounds useless.
But where did you find her?
What qualifications, professional memberships and experience does she have?
What type of counselling does she offer?
yes she is qualified, but I think she was perhaps trying to suggest that our marriage had been rocky for whatever reasons, & perhaps we both played some part in it. I've been over & over it & no we got along fine until ow came along. It was almost as if he had a psychotic episode if such a thing is possible, he's always had narcissic tendencies but they were kept in check, then during his affair his behaviour was bizzare. He admits he loved feeling like a porn star, his ego went into overdrive, there was other careless behaviour like being caught speeding, not just once. Now that the affair is over he looks back on it with disgust.
Canbrina, through relate. All types of counselling.
What do we do then?! Say " we did all the speaking last time- it's your turn!"
I hear what you're all saying , if i couldn't laugh id cry.
I would certainly go into the second session and say that you felt she hadn't listened to what you BOTH see as the driving factor behind his cheating, and that you don't think that baking him a cake is a helpful suggestion.
And take it from there.
If she's looking for "nice" things you've done for him, how about the fact that you're even bothering to try to counselling when he has treated you like shit? That's pretty nice of you.
I honestly didn't know what to expect on the first session, but we did 99 per cent of the talking, is that what usually happens? Does she just listen mostly? Maybe she went down the road she did because she often hears of affairs starting when marriages are already under pressure. we've come a long way on our own but there are some issues we seemed struggle with & I wanted some sort of clarification on his behaviour, help to recognise his traits & also reassurance he won't ever do this to me again. When she mentioned "doing something nice , perhaps a cake?" Dh did bite his lip to stifle a giggle,he knew I would not appreciate her suggestion as I bake all the time! Next time I shall be better prepared & read out my notes on aspects of his behaviour which worry me.
I sense she's trying to place some blame on you and that is totally wrong.
Counsellors are meant to listen and not talk so much. I would have thought she'd wait to hear his so called reasons instead of trying to find excuses for him.
If she asked him 'how would you describe your marriage pre affair' - that's a fair question. To get his views, but going down the blame road isn't really helpful.
At the end of the day we could all do with ego strokes, complements and fantasy affection, but we don't all have affairs now do we.
Your husband should have IC, to get to the root of his feelings of entitlement.
Bake him a fucking cake?! DO not go back to this fucking imbecile!
So far she's tried to find out what you did wrong for him to have an affair, and now she's trying to find ways for you to make it up to him. Nope. Just no.
Don't know anything about ic but will investigate. Give him his dues, he did tell her about his family treating him like the 'golden boy' who can do no wrong & he described certain family members as being like 'cheerleaders'. I suspect this is where his sense of entitlement comes from -but , again- it's not my job to work him out & draw conclusions.
I could have guessed it was a Relate counsellor, sounds like the kind of drivel ours came out with. I'd stick with it for another couple of sessions and see how it goes. You'll know in that time if you are going to be able to work with her or not. She needs to do a better job building a therapeutic relationship with you. If you don't trust what she is saying, it's not going to help you.
IC = individual counselling. For him.
As he is the one with a problem here. IC should help him dig deep and establish what made him think it was ok to break his vows and more importantly what will make him never do it again.
There's nothing to knock some sense into wayward spouses, like seeing they could loose it all.
Yes - there are troubled marriages (not saying yours is one), but even then having an affair isn't going to help. Lots of men are way to conflict avoidant and never tackle issues head on.
Has she told your husband to do anything nice for you?
She's got it backwards IMO.
The suggestion of baking a cake for him is wrong on so many levels.
Are all Relate counsellors straight out of the Ark?
I think I would tell him and her where to stick the cake
I think I would tell him and her where to stick the cake
My sentiments exactly. What a load of old croc.
Join the discussion
Please login first.