H asking for ground rules. What do I say

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2006
H asking for ground rules. What do I say
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 5:58am

I desperately need some help.
In Nov 2004 I found out my H had an A while away at a conference on business. During most of last year I was on antidepressants, counselling and thought I was recovering pretty well. I even said to him in Sept how I was so happy and had finally some out of the dark tunnel I seemed to be in.
But in Oct he again went away to a conf (he travel 50% of year)and did it again.
Going against everything I ever said I would I took him back. He says last time it was a result of flirting but this time it happened because he was depressed due to the problems of the last year and he felt a self-esteem boost as a result.
I'm really struggling this time around, but am determined to give it a go.
He has asked me for basic ground rules of what he should and shouldn't do to make me feel better. The thing is I'm so mentally muddled I don't even know where to begin, plus last thing I want to do is force him to do something he doesn't want to and then have it thrown back in face after.
Any suggestions?

keeping the faith...


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2005
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 8:20am
One suggestion would be that he goes for individual counceling to figure out why he finds it so necessary to have these lapses in judgement. What ever is missing in him, not the marriage, because there is no excuse for an affair. I am constantly in turmoil over why and what gives the betrayer the right to enter in an affair, what happened to the marriage vows? In sickness and in health, for better or for worse, forsaking all others, and till death do you part. It is a moral and legal contract...obviously there are exceptions like abuse, but what entitles these people to just go ahead and risk everything, marriage, family, and finances...their character, self-esteem, and future is beyong my comprehension.
Also, talk to a marriage councelor about what limits to set. But in the long run, only you and you alone know what you need to heal and feel secure and get back the trust you once had for him. Be kind to yourself,,,,(((HUGS))))
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2006
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 8:37am
Thanks for the good thoughts. Unfortunately he won't go to counselling. This is something we have discussed long and hard. His family has always told him to keep his problems to himself and not to air your problems in public. He simply will not open up to a stranger, and I can understand this as my family is exactly the same. So much so that neither his family nor mine know about what is going on with our relationship and it was a HUGE leap of faith for me to go (more desperation than anything else)...
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2005
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 9:45am

Since this has happened more than once I'd think counseling was no longer an option but an absolute or there'd be no rebuilding. Just my humble opinion.

I'd assume there were some guidelines laid out after the first time and I'd think common sense would give him guidance on how to behave as a married man. Apparently keeping his zipper up and not allowing his penis to end up in someone elses vagina didn't seem like the thing to do. Watching what you went through after the first time wasn't enough to prevent him from doing it a second time. So I'd think it would be obvious that he needs to talk to a professional and discover what it is that allows him to cross the line and betray his marriage vows and his wife. Simple ground rules aren't enough to fix what is going on with him that allows him to continue to behave this way. His reasons are nothing but Bull$hit excuses that don't hold water.

You've been through enough. You've gone to counseling, taken medication and given your all to get through this betrayal. What has he done? N O T H I N G. Staying with you while you jump through hoops to deal with HIS shortcomings is nothing. Then turning right around and doing the exact same thing the very next time he is at this conference...just proof that he learned nothing.

You really need to insist he attend individual or at least marital counseling with you to get to the root of what is going on in his head or accept that it will happen again until he gets a clue about why he is doing it in the first place.

Get tough...lay down the law and stick to it. No counseling, no rebuilding.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2006
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 11:39am
I thought this part of the board was about help rebuilding not judging and negativity... now I wish I hadn't posted at all...
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2005
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 1:22pm


I know this must be very tough for you. I think however, that you may have misinterpretted VLB's post. She is a very wise woman and I know she is only looking out for you when she offers her advice.

I have to agree with her that you have done all the work up to this point. Your husband repaid you by committing the same act again when he got the next chance. Then he went on to make excuses for why it happened. I know how sad it made me when it seemed like my H simply did not care how much he was hurting me by continuing his A... this is what I am reminded of by your H cheating again after seeing what he put you through the first time. IMO, he really does need to talk with someone (a therapist, pastor, etc.) to figure out why he cheated (especially the second time). He needs to show you that he will do whatever is necessary to keep this from happening ever again. If his pride won't allow him to see a therapist when you insist upon it, then I don't thinks that is a positive sign that he won't cheat again in the future.

Believe when I say that I understand completely how difficult it is to read a post that says something negative about the person you love most in this world. But it's that blind love that will allow us to be hurt again if we let it. Please don't take VLB's post as an attack on you or your love for your H. We are here trying to help each other gain perspective when we are at our most vulnerable. Be kind to yourself.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 6:24pm
I haven't read the other responses, but the first thing I would insist on is counseling. My H has also had multiple A's and I blame that partly on the fact that we didn't fully address the issues when they first arose. I put my head in the sand (we moved, she moved) and moved on, thinking it wouldn't happen again. The third time around led to counseling and I think that was a big eye-opener for him (that plus the fact that I left after 3 mos of fence-sitting). Your H has to find out why he makes such poor choices in response to his needs and how he can make better ones so this doesn't happen again. I don't know who the other women were, but obviously he can't have any contact with them, and his life should be an open book--you should be able to check his email, voice mail, etc. as often and as long as you need to in order to reassure yourself that your H is controlling himself. I can tell you that after being in this group of wonderful people, I know what I would do if it ever happened again, and I know I would have the strength to do it. I hope that neither of us has to--get your H into therapy! Lily
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 02-02-2006 - 6:41pm
I just read the other posts and realized your H refuses counseling. So he is willing to do anything, just as long as it's what he wants to do? I don't think he really "gets it" as Dr. Phil says. He doesn't realize the magnitude of wrong he has done and he isn't willing to do what it takes to remedy the situation. What he is saying, whether he realizes it or not, is that he isn't willing to put himself out there to save your marriage. Have you considered a Retroaville weekend (I never can spell this but some of the posters have gone and found it very worthwhile). There is also Dr. Phil's Relationship Rescue book--I think you work on this together. But the bottom line is that he has to be willing to do his share to heal and rebuild--it isn't something he can do only part way and you all the way. Lily
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2005
Fri, 02-03-2006 - 1:52am

You're living my worst nightmare - a repeat A. I say I would leave H in a hearbeat if he cheats again, but I said the same thing before his A so who knows what I would do!

If your H isn't willing to do counseling, then what is he willing to do? Does he talk about the A? Answer all your questions? Does he understand why he strayed from the M? Does he know how to make sure it doesn't happen again? What do you need from him to rebuild trust? Is he an open book with his wherabouts, his phone, his email, etc.?

These are the types of issues MC can help guide you through. If he's not willing to go, then buy a self-help book and seriously take time to work through this together. Is he willing to do that? In my opinion, its not as helpful as having a counselor's advice right there when you need it, but some men don't like counselors. That doesn't mean the rebuilding is doomed, but it does make it harder (and its already hard enough). Is he willing to do that?


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2006
Fri, 02-03-2006 - 4:10am

Thanks Hannah and lovemydog2500.

I think I will try the books. My H is very willing to try books, talking, he has given me access to his life and we are discussing a lot of the issues that I went through with my counsellor.
I thought I was a good step on his part to ask for specific guidelines and ground rules from me, as these were mostly about did I want him to find a new job, and what small actions would make me feel better in the long run.

I will get Dr. Phil today and see how we get on....

Thanks for your supportive remarks. I know a lot of the other posters mean well with the "tough love", but that's not what I was looking for, hence my posting on the rebuilding board not the general support board. I feel down about my self and my relationship as it is without someone stepping on it some more.

Keeping the faith...

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 02-03-2006 - 10:30am

Nobody here is stepping on you, they are sincerely trying to help. If your husband is asking for ground rules suggest you get access to all his email accounts, access to his cell phone activity and you need to know where he is every second of the day.

This is one way that you can be assured that he isn't cheating. He may not like this level of oversight, but, then again, he won't have to go to counseling.