Pornography, Texting, Sexting, Emailing, Chatting, Cell Phone Calls to Someone Else and Marriage
Recently, I spoke at a conference for other therapists about how to rebuild trust if it’s been violated. I went into this with fear and trembling because therapists as a group are trained to be open minded what with all the various cultures and lifestyles we see in our offices. Open minded and engaging and compassionate is one thing; justifying evil on the other hand is another thing altogether. This is my world view and I knew that if I were to talk about affairs to my colleagues on this tough issue I’d have to tell them that I believe that affairs are intrinsically wrong and as a therapist I’m not going to sit there and hold your hand and say you poor dear, if you are having an affair and your spouse says it’s tearing his or her heart apart and you tell me it’s not really an affair, it’s your life and we’re just friends and I can do what I want.
If you told me that, I’d agree with you that you can do what you want, but that you had crossed a boundary and were flirting with disaster and your affairee, too, and if you continued to do that you would be putting your marriage in jeopardy. I’d also tell you that if I saw 100 couples and 100 of the spouses, husbands or wives, told me what you told me, 100 percent of the spouses of those folk who were breaking the boundary would be upset because the spouses of the boundary violators know instinctively, they don’t need Dr. Bing to tell them that, giving your heart to someone other than your spouse in whatever fashion and digital design is, in fact, inherently wrong. And I would tell you you can honor your vows to your wife or husband or not, and if you don’t honor your vows to your marriage, you decide your digital relationship(s) is fine and you can do whatever you want, just tell your spouse that so he or she can decide if they want to be married to a spouse who thinks the boundary in marriage is not a boundary at all but a figment of your imagination to be tossed to the wind any time your fickle heart desires.
Now that’s what I would tell you and I would certainly expect that you wouldn’t like that very much and given your penchant for dinking around with others at the expense of your own integrity and the value of your marriage and the security of your spouse, I would expect that you and your spouse would continue to struggle in your marriage and you can pretty well be assured your spouse is not going to relax about the issue and say, “Oh, Honey. You can do what ever you want, you sweet little dear.”
And you might go on to argue, that, well, I can see why you might be upset, so I’ll stop because I know it hurts you, and I’d say, no that’s not good enough.
Really, I would.
You can’t stop doing anything for somebody else. That’s not how it works. You can only lose weight or quit smoking or drinking or dinking around with another other person outside your marriage, if you believe it is wrong and you shouldn’t do it any more. You’d only be able to stop doing something like that if you really believed that it was wrong and it’s hurting you and hurting your spouse and you shouldn’t be doing it. You can only fight evil if you think it exists, if there really is an enemy to fight. If you say, “I’ll stop for you,” you are blaming your spouse and putting on her the responsibility of saying what is and is not acceptable in the marriage instead of the two of you agreeing to what those boundaries are and if you put it on her then you aren’t going to be able to view her as anything but a control freak and a bitch and you are going to write her off in your heart and hold resentments against her. Instead of you fighting the evil in your heart off and not going down that road, you will see your spouse as the problem which will lead you to withdraw from your wife or get mean and neither of these options are going to endear the two of you to each other.
And if you insisted on breaking the boundary in your marriage that you said you’d keep when you made your vows publically for all the world to hear I would tell your spouse I don’t have any therapy on how to be Okay with your spouse breaking his marriage vows. I’d tell her if she’s upset about it she has a perfect right to be.
And if she told me she’s NOT upset about it, I’d tell her it concerns me her husband is breaking his marriage vow and she’s not upset about it and she should be and what in the world is that about? And I’d probe and I’d prod and I’d bring out my crowbar to try to jar it out of her how is it Okay for her to sacrifice her values of marriage at the altar of her husband’s self-absorption, and for her to roll over and play dead and how come we have here a couple who doesn’t fight for their marriage but just pisses it down the toilet all so the husband can do whatever his little heart desires?
I’d say this without the sarcasm, because, really, I’m a pretty good therapist and a nice guy and not mean and sarcastic at all in therapy (much), and we’d chat about it and I’d reiterate that I think you are devaluing yourself when you let your husband off the hook like that and I’d try to give you the courage to say how you REALLY felt and that you are worth fighting for and if your husband is just going to do whatever he wants he probably should be doing it on his own dime.
I’d try to give you a backbone.
Sometimes this works and sometimes not. But more often then not, one or the other or both “get it” that their marriage is worth fighting for and we all work together to get the boundary of the marriage up and running again from this day forward so she can learn to heal and to trust again and he can learn to honor his marriage vows and be trustable and No, he’s not going to be friends with someone he’s violated his marriage vows with. Nosiree. And we’d look at what keeping marriage vows will look like going forward and if we honor those marriage vows going forward we both can heal and restore or create, for some, for the first time, a viable marriage that’s worth fight and living for.
And if it doesn’t work, the husband would smile sheepishly and thank me for sharing my take on things, but that you both are looking for a different approach and I would say that’s fine and you’d pay me and maybe I’d give you a referral and you wouldn’t set another appointment, but regardless, I’d still see the pain in your eye, because you instinctively know I was advocating for you.
You can only deal with evil if you believe it exists.
But if your therapist is a postmodern therapist steeped in being culturally “sensitive” and taught to smile and acknowledge that there are different views of these things, don’t you know, and we all have our own take on reality, we will end up at a completely different place. You tell him it hurts you when your husband dinks around with this other woman on the phone, or internet or texting or whatever. And your therapist smiles and says he understands but there’s other ways of looking at this and your husband doesn’t see that it’s wrong. And, you know, you don’t want to hurt your husband’s feelings because everyone creates their own reality and to your husband this behavior isn’t wrong. He really does see he’s just being friends. Your postmodern therapist would take it as his responsibility to explain to you that you are being a control freak and a bitch and need to chill and let your husband pursue his own friendships on his own terms and if you have any backbone at all you’d tell your therapist to park his X#$% where the %&+@ don’t $>?@. But you are polite and probably wouldn’t do that and you’d smile and try not to feel insecure even though you are still in an insecure situation (from my point of view), what with your therapist telling you there’s no evil and your husband can do whatever he wants and you just have to chill.
If there is no intrinsic evil then the husband has effectively got the postmodern therapist on his side and it’s the two of them against the crazy wife.
So much for neutrality. Not taking a side is taking a side on evil. Champberlain acquiesced and Hitler nearly conquered Europe. Oh, you poor little Hitler.
It’s a bunch of crap and any client that has half a brain can see through it.
In my view there is such a thing as intrinsic evil and in this scenario the husband is being sociopathic (justifying evil without regard to conscience) and by the therapist NOT taking a stand (because, in the postmodern therapist’s mind, taking a stand is evil! Ha! So the therapist takes a stand that he shouldn’t take a stand? This is just crazy stuff.) against the husband’s stance, the therapist is embracing evil and the two of them are justifying it now and the therapist is sociopathic, too! The only sane one in the bunch is the hurt wife who’s crying fowl, if she has even half her sense of justice left. If there is no evil there is no justice and if there is no justice you can’t reconcile and so all we have left is a selfish husband doing whatever he wants and a worthless therapist smiling and nodding his head and a hurt wife slowly going crazy because she instinctively knows this all is a crock of crap.
You know there are really are people in insane asylums, right? A lot of those people were sane at one time. But if your conscience and your instincts are telling you one thing and your therapist and your husband are telling you another where are those conflicting thoughts going to take you?
Pretty soon you’ll be mumbling under your breath and before long….
Check out Dr. Bing’s podcast on the Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal where Dr. Bing asks Is Sexting Wrong?
Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa. To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473. For more information about Dr. Wall click here.