Mindless combed through our insurance provider list looking for a counselor who could take us in immediately. They all were booked weeks ahead. He finally found one that had a cancellation for just a few days away. Mindless set up the appointment. He was a Christian counselor (a counselor associated with a Christian religious organization). We are not Christian. So, the first thing we asked was if that was a problem. He assured us that he did much work with Jewish religious leaders and community and would be very willing and able to help us. In some ways, having a Christian counselor was a great help. He looked a lot like Dr. Phil, actually, so I will refer to him here as Phil. 🙂
First, having Phil confirm that the AP was a religious hypocrite was somewhat helpful to me. He shook his head in disbelief at the things she was saying to Mindless, told me that G-d knows what is really in her heart and that she can hide that to the world, but not to G-d. Phil also held Mindless’s feet to the fire. He wasn’t there to just listen, but to call bullshit when he saw it. Of course, he didn’t use the word “bullshit.” I felt good about Phil’s ability to see if there was a way forward for us or not. We only had two and half weeks before we were supposed to go visit Mindless’s parents for a few days and then head back overseas. For that time, our schedule was open, Phil made time for us wherever he could, including giving us every cancellation he got.
During our first session, for some reason, the issue of our pre-marital experiences came up. I said that Mindless and I basically had very similar numbers of partners before marriage. Mindless was agitated and made it a point to clarify that I had one partner more than him. Ok, I was a bit taken off guard with his agitation. He tried to play it down, but it was out there. We moved on to talking about the affair. Later that day, we were waiting to pick-up our children from summer camp and started talking about the pre-marital experiences, why was he so agitated about it? I thought he had dealt with that years ago. Little did I know exactly how he had dealt with it! I told him that we needed to bring up this obsession with our counselor, I thought it was important. He tried to down play it, tell me it had nothing to do with anything going on, that he was so sorry he had been agitated, it was nothing, he over reacted, blah, blah, blah. I was not going to let it slide EVER AGAIN!
I brought it up to Phil and thank G-d I did. Phil listened to Mindless’s self-pity, “woe is me” tale of comparing his pre-marital past to mine, which really wasn’t all that different. Phil pointed out his hypocrisy, told him it was simply “sick,” in fact a very damaging “sick obsession.” Mindless was stunned. He had always told himself that he had a right to be angry at me for this, that it was normal and just to have this anger. Phil and Mindless really started digging into the heart of this matter. I saw connections being understood that Mindless never would before even consider.
Phil talked to us about the fact that healing from the affair will likely take much longer for me than for Mindless, who must be patient, kind, loving and consistently remorseful, no matter how long it took me to work through the trauma. Phil emphasized to Mindless that complete honesty with me was essential for us being able to move forward together. Between the beginning of seeing and addressing some very damaging thought processes within himself, and the more free, loving, non-sexually related affection, I felt hopeful that we could finally have a marriage that was so much more than I had ever hoped was possible. Our counselor helped me so much, in such a short time. He told me I could decide whatever I wanted at any time, but that I did NOT HAVE TO decide immediately if I did not want to do so. Over that two and half weeks, we must have had 5 or 6 sessions.
Mindless had insisted he did not need STD testing. I insisted he did. He stalled. Then he had an outbreak. He had herpes, he acted as if it was a surprise. We both were tested. I was clean, he had herpes, but was clean for everything else. Mindless had told me that he and his AP had always used protection. Phil thought this just didn’t quite add up. Mindless insisted that the doctor clarified that a condom does not always protect against herpes. Phil thought there was more to this story, but I so wanted to believe in Mindless. I was such a fool, still.
I was convinced that Mindless was not capable of lying to me for any extended period of time. I was convinced that I figured out about his affair so quickly because of this inability to lie to me. Phil told me he had hope for us and believed Mindless wanted to make things right, to take my time, to watch his actions. My cousin came to town to see us, I told her everything that I knew. She thought Mindless was taking responsibility and was loving and supportive of both of us, also telling me she would be there for me no matter what. Damn, I have some great cousins! I decided I would go back overseas with him, with a pitstop at his parents place as previously planned.