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DO IT YOURSELF
The complete interactive guide to performing your
own investigation and saving your marriage.
Save your Marriage? Here's some real help. Try this.
Dealing with infidelity. Save your
Is Your Partner Cheating?
How to find out the secrets you are not supposed
If you already caught the
cheater, you are in the wrong place. Go here.
Your partner entered a verbal or
documented contract that ensures fidelity. If the contract is
being breached, your physical health, emotional well-being and
your future are at risk. Don't play Russian Roulette with AIDS
and other STD's. If you suspect your partner is cheating on you,
This self-help guide written by an experienced
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So. Your husband is cheating on
*Derived from hundreds of real life cases.
You must be feeling very awful and probably are
swimming in a pool of helplessness feelings. I really feel for
Look at what you have learned. You are here so you must have
proven already within the realm of "balance of probability" that
your husband is having an extramarital affair in its incipient
stage. (It really sounds quite immature.) In Civil / Family law,
you do not have to prove this "beyond a doubt". That you are
unhappy with the facts of his behaviour is sufficient for you to
take remedial action.
If you have decided that is the case for
certain, I want to get you focused on
some next best steps considering you already know plenty and
don't need to learn much more about your spouse's frivolity. And
that's what it is: frivolous. And of course, a significant
betrayal. And that hurts.
Don't despair. You can take charge of your situation; bring some
personal control to the matter; and arrive at a satisfactory
repair of your marriage. You know what the alternatives are so I
will focus on helping you construct a plan to bring wellness back
into your marriage. i.e..: fix your problem and prevent its
recurrence. This is personal advice only. For legal advice, see
your lawyer. Read on.
Before getting into the plan, I am concerned about one aspect of
In most states and provinces watching and besetting another
person is a criminal offence in the misdemeanor/summary offence
category. It has good reason; avoiding a breach of the peace --
avoiding family violence in other words. The law tends to frown
on people doing their own matrimonial sleuthing inasmuch as it
would include surveillance. The reason for this is that
motivation is already present and if a confrontation erupts
(which in family matters is statistically inevitable) there is
the makings of a premeditated violent crime. The law seeks to
prevent its occurrence and deals with incipiency very harshly.
Solution: Do all the digging and legwork you want but get a
professional person in your local area to do your actual tailing
and surveillance if needed.
So now that we are past that word of caution, I would say "yes",
you have a problem; and "yes" you can improve or fix it.
It is so often stated this way. The straying spouse claims to
want to stay in the marriage and had no intention of leaving it
but got "tangled up" somehow. If you believe your spouse loves
you and has some commitment to staying within the bounds of
marriage and further, seems to know the rules and has told you he
has made a conscious decision to "not go outside the marriage",
then look at the positive. Too often the problem is some
life-passage-related quirks for which a vent has been found.
Think of this. Dieing really sucks. Facing that
reality while still very much alive can cause some fairly extreme
behaviour. Seemingly without reason. The victim hasn't a clue why
he/she behaves that way. (Seems that men get it BAD.) The
fleeting glimpse of the obvious one comes face to face with at
some point in mid-life, the facing of immortality causes some
people's ID and Ego to go berserk in search for youthfulness.
There is a grave risk that the aftermath of a mid-life crisis
sees one with nothing of the true assets built up in the first
half of life. It can otherwise be a good thing. Certainly, above
all, a person suffering a mid-life crisis can be extremely
All humans are weak and those weaknesses have
focus points that some persons have an uncanny knack for
detecting and focusing on, when in conquest, say for example,
when a woman has decided to target a male who is married. There
are lots of social anthropological studies (results filed at many
universities web sites) done in this area. Search if you would
like to understand this better thru google, Lycos or
Looking at your spouse and correspondent, you are
dealing with two people who are now stepping outside the bounds
of 'niceness'; past playing by the rules. Your spouse is being
very foolish and irresponsible etc.
If you have decided you want to bring your
spouse back into a properly constituted matrimonial framework,
then you must have no concern about his correspondent. None
whatsoever. Forget her. As he must, you must as well. He must
break his connections with this person. (A family counselor can
explain how this is done under your circumstances. The counselor
would need to mediate a resolution.)
Believe What You Know
When a spouse has a secret affair, they develop
deviant, dishonest, sneaky skills. You would hardly believe you
knew this person if you knew it all: the games that are played to
Don't argue the affair with your spouse.
Your spouse has been deceiving you and is lying to you about the
matter and you can't know what is and what isn't truthful among
the things he tells you. There is very little point in you
discussing anything of this matter with him. Why would you
continue to negotiate or arbitrate on your own with a person who
has already established a set of ground rules that has
untruthfulness as a basis? Your mode is now action oriented and
you need some outside assistance.
Don't accept "We are just friends." That you are unhappy
with the facts of his behaviour is sufficient for you to take
remedial action. The alleged platonic relationship is apparently
not platonic. Trust your senses. It has become immaturely
You are not completely powerless. Your spouse, insofar as
civil law is concerned, is liable to your action under the
various matrimonial statutes where adultery is an issue of
Betrayal is the most important issue.
You need to ask yourself what you want to do about the fact that
your spouse is carrying on outside the marriage. Ask yourself, on
the evidence, is this just a fairly frivolous affair and not a
deep emotional thing? Are you prepared to vacate the marriage? I
would guess that you don't know what you want to do. Further,
marriages usually survive affairs if there is no significant
emotional betrayal. Otherwise they don't, quite honestly. I am
sure you are not quite ready to accept that statement right now,
because surely you are very angry. But make these thoughts the
underlying root for hope and some positive solution-oriented
If you are concluding the above as I am then you need to find
solutions that will return happiness and wellness to the
matrimonial relationship; 'rehabilitate', your spouse who seems
to be living in a false paradigm; and give him a new set of rules
and understandings as well as proactive ingredients for making a
marriage and a family work properly.
Action Oriented Solutions In Four Key Steps
- It's time to build a help group or SUPPORT TEAM FOR YOU.
Consult with your lawyer and your family doctor as well as family
members and so on. Build a support team. Be truthful; take the
high road; do not lie or exaggerate to any persons who are
members of your support team. Remember: DON'T BRING THE FIGHT TO
THESE PEOPLE, BRING YOUR QUEST FOR ADVICE AND SOLUTIONS. Illicit
their support. Try not to be acrimonious in the face of other
people. If you need to "dump" some emotions, see a councilor for
yourself, on your own. That's where you can best take your hard
feelings and lay them out and deal with them. And of course, a
close family member, Aunt, Mom whoever; anyone you may find to be
helpful and supportive.
- Locate on your own what you think would be an acceptable
source for family/marriage counseling. Check it out, meet the
councilor alone and generally make sure you find what YOU want
and a rapport that suits your self.
- Having located a good marriage councilor that you like, make
arrangements to see this person together with your spouse on
- Confront your spouse. Inform him what you
know as in the aforementioned four points on credibility and as
a) You know he is lying to you about the matter
and you don't know what is and what isn't truthful among the
things he tells you so you refuse to accept any further
explanations or excuses.
b) The alleged platonic relationship is not platonic; it has
c) Your husband, insofar as civil law is concerned, is liable to
your action under the various matrimonial statutes where adultery
is an issue of law.
d) His betrayal of you is the most important issue. And...
e) You insist on immediate cessation of the illicit relationship
[no further contact] and immediate attendance before a marriage
councilor with a view to creating an extensive remedial plan,
long term, for his rehabilitation and the re-constitution of the
Avoid argument over any of the issues with your spouse. You know
what you know so why bother. The perpetrator will lie to you and
talk you round in circles -- feed you lines that have been
planted in his head with his own forethought and from his
correspondent. You set out what you want, remain steadfast, and
focus on your goal which is to fix your problem. If he refuses -
go to your lawyer. Your lawyer can perhaps frame a letter as a
notice that you intend to seek family-law remedies (separation,
divorce and even punitive civil litigation) if he chooses not
comply with your request. That is not an improper threat but the
correct establishment of your position in the matter.
- Stay in touch with your support
Micheal J. O'Brien
sets out typical traits of a personality disordered person. This
is the type of suspect individual that law-enforcement
professionals come into contact with most often while
investigating criminal cases. That is not to say that all
offenderrs have personality disorders, but it is certainly true
that the behaviour of personality disordered persons is often
anti-social and either borderline or fully criminal in nature and
effect. Investigating such individuals can bring about the
absolute height in frustration and consternation.
General personality disorder
characteristics seen in clinical settings:
1) An inclination to be demanding
and non-compliant (actively or passively). For some of the
personality disorders, this is apparent early in treatment; for
others the non-compliance is evident only after early success in
the therapeutic process (e.g. an
individual with a dependent personality disorder, for whom
continuing positive change would result in termination from
therapy, who is unable to initiate or sustain self-responsible
2) A tendency to engage in over or under valuation
of self as well as over or under of others. Individuals with
personality disorders often alternate between extremes (e.g.
idealizing and then villainizing a spouse or therapist, or
feeling superior to and then inferior to or unworthy of
3) A propensity toward manipulativeness with
significant corresponding interpersonal dishonesty (e.g.
suicidality in the service of binding a caretaker and preventing
4) Difficulties in developing non-pathological
attachments (e.g. seeking in a significant-other the "good
parent," a shield against a hostile world, a caretaker who will
make functioning as an adult unnecessary, a "you and me against
the world" alliance).
5) A failure to accept and/or
process corrective environmental feedback with an inclination to
frame reality around self and self-needs without considering the
reality of others. This behavior can
leave others both bewildered and enraged as the personality
disordered individual fails to receive, understand, or respond
appropriately to feedback.
6) A lack of awareness of impact on others with a
corresponding failure to assume responsibility for self. When
confronted, personality disordered individuals will deny,
minimize, distort, or counterattack in the face of criticism or
demands for appropriate behavior.
7) Affective dysregulation, e.g., irritability,
instability, or constriction.
The essential feature of the dependent personality disorder is
a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that results
in submissive and clinging behavior. Individuals with DPD fear
separation; they engage in dependent behavior to elicit
caregiving (DSM-IV, 1994, p. 665).
The ICD-10 also has a dependent personality disorder which is
characterized by a pervasive reliance on other people to make
life decisions, a fear of abandonment, feelings of helplessness
and incompetence, passive compliance with others, and a weak
response to daily life. They are inclined to transfer
responsibility to others (ICD-10, 1994, p. 233).
Individuals with DPD are often pessimistic and characterized
by self-doubt; they tend to belittle their abilities and assets.
They respond to the criticism and disapproval of others as proof
of their worthlessness. They seek others to dominate and protect
them. Occupational functioning may be impaired if independent
initiative is required; they will avoid positions of
responsibility (DSM-IV, 1994, p. 666).
Individuals with DPD are described as inchoate -- meaning
imperfectly formed. The implication is that they are partly but
not fully in existence. This personality is potential; there is a
deficit in regulatory controls because of a marked tendency to
expect others to take responsibility for fulfilling their needs
and managing their responsibilities. This results in an
undeveloped capacity to adapt adequately and difficulty in
functioning independently (Dorr, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p.
Passive-dependent individuals are characterized by:
- excessive needs and wants;
- overt dependency;
- transparent, intense, unremitting need to be loved in stable
long-term relationships that go through minimal change;
- little need to control or compete with others;
- anxiety and fear when deprived of significant
- even when content, fearing the loss of the relationships they
- dependence on a number of people, any one of whom can
substitute for the other (Kantor, 1992, pp. 166-167).
Individuals with DPD subjugate their personal needs to those
of others, tolerate mistreatment, and fail to be appropriately
self-assertive. They often live with someone who is controlling,
domineering, overprotective and infantilizing (Frances, et.al,
1995, p. 377). In females, DPD is likely to consist of a pattern
of submissiveness. In males, DPD may involve a pattern of
autocratic behavior (Sperry & Carlson, 1993, p. 305).
The baseline DPD position of marked submissiveness to a
dominant person is supposed to ensure unending nurturance. The
connection is maintained even if the relationship is abusive
because individuals with DPD believe that they cannot survive
without the dominance and guidance (Benjamin, 1993, pp. 228-229).
They live their lives in a manner calculated to avoid disturbing
or offending others. They yield their individuality and autonomy;
they are placating, self-deprecating, undemanding, and apologetic
(Oldham, 1990, p. 123).
Stone (1993, pp. 340-341) believes that three of the
diagnostic items for DPD may be viewed as tactics to maintain a
hold on important others:
- pressuring for reassurance;
- mindlessly agreeing with others in case disagreement could
result in rejection;
- doing favors for the purpose of being ingratiating.
Other criteria can be seen as characterological symptoms of
the failure of the first three defensive maneuvers:
- being inordinately hurt by criticism or mild
Both normal and personality-disordered individuals can exhibit
strong dependency-related needs; it is the way these needs are
expressed that differentiates the two. Personality-disordered
individuals tend to express dependency needs in a more
uncontrolled, unmodulated, and maladaptive manner. The
pathological manifestations of dependency needs include intense
fears of abandonment, passive, helpless behaviors in intimate
relationships, and phobic symptoms aimed at minimizing separation
(Bornstein, Costello, ed., 1996, pp. 123-132).
Bornstein (Costello, ed., 1996, pp. 124-125) suggests that
genetic factors account for a relatively small portion of the
variability in dependency levels. The parent/child relationship
appears to be the major causal factor in the development of
dependent personality traits. He believes that two parenting
styles lead to high levels of dependency: authoritarian parenting
and overprotective parenting. The consequences of these two types
of parenting are the development of beliefs that dependent
individuals cannot function without the guidance and protection
of others, and that the way to maintain relationships is to
acquiesce to requests, expectations, and demands.
DPD is often co-morbid with BPD, AvPD, and HPD. A common
factor for both DPD and BPD is the fear of abandonment.
Individuals with BPD will respond to abandonment with feelings of
emotional emptiness and rage. They will increase their demands on
significant others. Individuals with DPD will react with
increasing appeasement and submissiveness. People with DPD are
self-effacing and docile compared to the gregarious flamboyance
and active demands of those with HPD. Individuals with DPD and
AvPD both feel inadequate and are hypersensitive to criticism.
However, those with DPD will seek and maintain relationships
while individuals with AvPD will withdraw (DSM-IV, 1994, p.
On Axis I, individuals with DPD are vulnerable to anxiety
disorders, phobic disorders, somatoform syndromes, and
dissociative disorders (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 340-341).
DPD is among the most frequently reported personality disorders
in mental health clinics. Studies using structured assessments
report similar prevalence rates for men and women (DSM-IV, 1994,
Self-Image Individuals with DPD see
themselves as inadequate and helpless; they believe they are in a
cold and dangerous world and are unable to cope on their own.
They define themselves as inept and abdicate self-responsibility;
they turn their fate over to others . These individuals will
decline to be ambitious and believe that they lack abilities,
virtues and attractiveness (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 290)
(Millon, 1981, pp. 113- 114).
The solution to being helpless in a frightening world is to
find capable people who will be nurturing and supportive toward
those with DPD. Within protective relationships, individuals with
DPD will be self-effacing, obsequious, agreeable, docile, and
ingratiating. They will deny their individuality and subordinate
their desires to significant others. They internalize the beliefs
and values of significant others. They imagine themselves to be
one with or a part of more powerful and supporting others. By
seeing themselves as protected by the power of others, they do
not have to feel the anxiety attached to their own helplessness
and impotence (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 325-334).
However, to be comfortable with themselves and their
inordinate helplessness, individuals with DPD must deny the
feelings they experience and the deceptive strategies they
employ. They limit their awareness of both themselves and others.
Their limited perceptiveness allows them to be naive and
uncritical (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 333-334). Their limited
tolerance for negative feelings, perceptions, or interaction
results in the interpersonal and logistical ineptness that they
already believe to be true about themselves. Their defensive
structure reinforces and actually results in verification of the
self-image they already hold.
View of Others
Individuals with DPD see other people as much more capable to
shoulder life's responsibilities, to navigate a complex world,
and to deal with the competitions of life (Millon, 1981, p. 114).
Other people are powerful, competent, and capable of providing a
sense of security and support to individuals with DPD. Dependent
individuals avoid situations that require them to accept
responsibility for themselves; they look to others to take the
lead and provide continuous support (Richards, 1993, p. 243).
DPD judgement of others is distorted by their inclination to
see others as they wish they were rather than as they are
(Kantor, 1992, p. 172). These individuals are fixated in the
past. They maintain youthful impressions; they retain
unsophisticated ideas and childlike views of the people toward
whom they remain totally submissive (Millon & Davis, 1996, p.
333). Individuals with DPD view strong caretakers, in particular,
in an idealized manner; they believe they will be all right as
long as the strong figure upon whom they depend is accessible
(Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 44).
Individuals with DPD see relationships with significant others
as necessary for survival. They do not define themselves as able
to function independently; they have to be in supportive
relationships to be able to manage their lives. In order to
establish and maintain these life-sustaining relationships,
people with DPD will avoid even covert expressions of anger. They
will be more than meek and docile; they will be admiring, loving,
and willing to give their all. They will be loyal, unquestioning,
and affectionate. They will be tender and considerate toward
those upon whom they depend (Millon, 1981, p. 114).
Dependent individuals play the inferior role to the superior
other very well; they communicate to the dominant people in their
lives that they are useful, sympathetic, strong, and competent
(Millon, 1981, p. 114). With these methods, individuals with DPD
are often able to get along with unpredictable, isolated, or
unpleasant people (Kantor, 1992, p. 170). To further make this
possible, individuals with DPD will approach both their own and
others' failures and shortcomings with a saccharine attitude and
indulgent tolerance (Millon, 1981, p. 113). They will engage in a
mawkish minimization, denial, or distortion of both their own and
others' negative, self-defeating, or destructive behaviors to
sustain an idealized, and sometimes fictional, story of the
relationships upon which they depend. They will deny their
individuality, their differences, and ask for little other than
acceptance and support (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 332).
Not only will individuals with DPD subordinate their needs to
those of others, they will meet unreasonable demands and submit
to abuse and intimidation to avoid isolation and abandonment
(Millon, 1981, pp.107-108). Dependent individuals so fear being
unable to function alone that they will agree with things they
believe are wrong rather than risk losing the help of people upon
whom they depend (DSM-IV, 1994, p. 665). They will volunteer for
unpleasant tasks if that will bring them the care and support
they need. They will make extraordinary self-sacrifices to
maintain important bonds (DSM-IV, 1994, pp. 665-666).
It is important to note that individuals with DPD, in spite of
the intensity of their need for others, do not necessarily attach
strongly to specific individuals, i.e., they will become quickly
and indiscriminately attached to others when they have lost a
significant relationship (DSM-IV, 1990, p. 666). It is the
strength of the dependency needs that is being addressed;
attachment figures are basically interchangeable. Attachment to
others is a self-referenced and, at times, haphazard process of
securing the protection of the most readily available powerful
other willing to provide nurturance and care.
Both DPD and HPD are distinguished from other personality
disorders by their need for social approval and affection and by
their willingness to live in accord with the desires of others.
They both feel paralyzed when they are alone and need constant
assurance that they will not be abandoned. Individuals with DPD
are passive individuals who lean on others to guide their lives.
People with HPD are active individuals who take the initiative to
arrange and modify the circumstances of their lives. They have
the will and ability to take charge of their lives and to make
active demands on others (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 325).
Issues With Authority
Individuals with DPD will not engage in provocative or
rebellious behavior toward authority figures. They are likely to
elicit protective behavior from uniformed authority because of
their conciliatory, anxious eagerness to please. Because of their
need for support and care, they are disinclined to question
authority or dispute orders from others. If they do get into
trouble with law enforcement personnel, it will likely be in the
company of others who are taking the lead in illegal
Individuals with DPD can function well in families or
workplaces where rewards are based on compliance with
expectations and acceptance by authority figures. They will do
best where interpersonal (and supportive) contact is available
(Richards, 1993, p. 243).
The lack of self-confidence in individuals with DPD is
apparent in their posture, voice, and mannerisms. They are
cooperative, passive, and yielding. They may be viewed by others
as generous and thoughtful, apologetic and obsequious. They
appear humble, cordial, gracious, and gentle (Millon, 1981, p.
112). These individuals entrust themselves to others. They are
overly cooperative and acquiescent. They prefer to yield and
placate rather than to be assertive. They lack both initiative
and competence (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 331).
Individuals with DPD are inclined to avoid or deny harsh
realities. They rely on feelings and empathic attunement with
others rather than on thinking and problem-solving. DPDs are
adept at sensing what others will reject and in identifying any
threat to their support system (Richards, 1993, p. 243). These
individuals show remarkable patience and persistence in
maintaining what they have. They will use cajolery, bribery,
moral censure, promises to change (rarely kept) and even threats
to keep relationships upon which they depend. They rarely strive
for anything more than the preservation of what they have; their
efforts are put into avoiding failure (Kantor, 1992, p.169).
These individuals are marked by their need for approval and
their willingness to live in accord with the desires of others.
They adapt their behavior to please others; they deny thoughts
and feelings that may elicit displeasure from significant others.
They are so sensitive to disapproval that they can experience
criticism as devastating (Millon, 1981, p.107).
Individuals with DPD minimize difficulties, are readily
persuadable, uncritical, and unperceptive (Sperry, 1995, p. 78).
Like individuals with the other personality disorders, dependent
people have a tendency to live in fantasy with insufficient input
from current reality. This produces a characteristic infantilism
with mild memory disturbances due to the diminished ability to
pay attention (Kantor, 1992, pp. 36-41).
Individuals with DPD have difficulty making everyday decisions
without advice and reassurance. They present themselves as inept
and needing constant assistance. They are likely to be able to
function adequately only if they believe someone else is
supervising and approving. They allow others to assume
responsibility for major areas of their lives, e.g. they depend
on significant others to decide where they should live, what job
they should have, what they should wear, what they should do with
their leisure time, etc. These individuals may rely on others so
much that they fail to learn the basic skills of independent
living (DSM-IV, 1994, pp. 665-666).
According to Beck & Freeman (1990, p. 45) the main affect
experienced by individuals with DPD is anxiety. They are
insecure; they fear abandonment and the disapproval of others;
and, they experience considerable discomfort when alone (Sperry,
1995, p. 78).
However, most of DPD literature refers to the vulnerability
these individuals have to depression. Because of their
susceptibility to separation, people with DPD are likely to
experience affective disorders. The underlying characterological
pessimism of DPD lends itself to a chronic, mild depression or
dysthymia. When faced with abandonment, rejection, or loss they
may experience a major depression (Millon, 1996, p. 181).
Critical to the tendency toward depression in individuals with
DPD is their belief that they are ineffective, inferior, and
unworthy of regard. Dependent individuals depend on others for
safety, help, and gratification. They are characterized by
passive receiving. They require stability, predictability and
reassurance in relationships. Rejection is considered worse than
aloneness so no risks are taken that might lead to alienation of
others. These individuals avoid making changes and stay away from
novel situations. They do not feel able to cope with the
unexpected. Depression for these individuals is usually brought
on by interpersonal rejection or loss and is accompanied by loss
of self-esteem and self-confidence (Millon, 1996, p. 183).
Individuals with DPD can be plagued by fatigue, lethargy, and
diffuse anxieties (Millon, 1981, p. 130); underneath their denial
of the unpleasant, these individuals are often unable to feel
much joy in living. They may describe themselves as pessimistic,
discouraged, and dejected. They suffer in silence; they feel they
must appear satisfied and content around those upon whom they
depend (Millon, 1981, p. 113). On occasion, in a desperate
attempt to counter emerging feelings of hopelessness and
depression, these individuals may experience a reverse in their
typical passive, subdued style to that of hypomanic activity,
excitement, and optimism (Millon, 1996, p. 181). They may also be
able to mitigate their depression, even when experiencing
abandonment, by a refusal to see what they do not want to see and
a defensively sustained belief that everything will turn out all
right (Kantor, 1992, p. 171).
The primary defense mechanism for individuals with DPD is
introjection. These individuals go beyond identification to seek
internalization of the more powerful other; they long for an
inseparable interpersonal bond. Threats and conflicts in the
relationship are protected against by obscuring the autonomy and
identity of those with DPD. The defense of introjection is the
process of devaluing the self and over-idealizing others; it may
include hypochondriasis. Denial is a secondary defense to smooth
over uncomfortable interpersonal events or hostile impulses
(Kubacki & Smith, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 170).
Millon also believes that individuals with DPD use denial as a
significant defense. They soften the edges of interpersonal
strain with a syrupy sweetness and a tendency to cover up or
gloss over troublesome events. These individuals
characteristically limit their awareness of themselves and others
to a narrow sphere -- within comfortable boundaries. They are
minimally introspective, naive, unperceptive, and uncritical.
They are inclined to see only the good in situations -- including
the pleasant side of troubling events (Millon, 1981, pp.
Treating the Dependent Personality
The Dependent Personality Disorder Coming Into
Individuals with DPD are frequently found in outpatient mental
health clinics. They often engage in fantasies of magical
refueling and the provision of endless supplies by omnipotent,
benevolent others (Van Denburg, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 123).
However, they do not usually come in for treatment saying they
are too dependent nor do they identify decision making as the
critical problem. In fact, passive-dependent people usually know
they are dependent and do not particularly see it as a problem or
they do not care if it is. They like being dependent (Kantor,
1992, p. 171). Instead, they usually complain of anxiety,
tension, or depression (Turkat, 1990, p. 82). While individuals
with DPD often experience a positive treatment outcome (Sperry,
1995, p. 87), it is still a serious challenge for these people to
leave an abusive relationship. If they are tightly bound to a
relationship in which their significant other uses drugs and
alcohol, their own abstinence or recovery is unlikely.
There is little evidence to suggest that the use of medication
will result in long-term benefits in the personality functioning
of individuals with DPD (Perry, Gabbard & Atkinson, eds.,
1996, p. 998). DPD is not amenable to pharmacological measures;
treatment relies upon verbal therapies (Stone, 1993, pp.
It is recommended that target symptoms rather than specific
personality disorders be medicated. One of these target symptoms
of particular importance is dysphoria -- marked by low energy,
leaden fatigue, and depression. Dysphoria can also be associated
with a craving for chocolate and for stimulants, e.g. cocaine.
DPD is one of the most vulnerable personality disorders to
dysphoria and some individuals with DPD respond well to
antidepressant medications (Ellison & Adler, Adler, ed.,
1990, p. 53).
People with DPD are prone to both depressive and anxiety
disorders. Stone (1993, pp. 341-343) suggests that these
individuals may respond well to benzodiazepines in a crisis.
However, clients with DPD are likely to abuse anxiolytics and
their use should be limited and monitored with caution (Sperry,
1995, pp. 93-94).
Unfortunately, individuals with DPD tend to be appealing
clients. They are not inclined to be demanding and provocative.
This can be precisely why they are given benzodiazepines by
psychiatrists who may feel both benevolent and protective. Their
inclination to use denial and escape to manage their lives makes
the use of sedative-hypnotics familiar and pleasant. Iatrogenic
addiction is a serious concern.
Treatment Provider Guidelines
Individuals with DPD can seem easy to treat initially; they
are attentive, cooperative, and appreciative. They engage easily
in the treatment process and will agree with everything their
service providers say. They will be extremely compliant and
openly idealize the treatment providers. Then, after a period of
time, it will become apparent that these same clients are
clinging to treatment and resisting any attempt to enhance
autonomy (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 283). Clients with DPD
will express their discomfort or disagreement indirectly through
missing appointments or forgetting to complete assignments. They
may secretly devalue the treatment providers and fail to carry
out even the most undemanding suggestion given to them in the
course of treatment (Kubacki & Smith, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p.
Clients with DPD must eventually become more active and
self-reliant. This change is quite difficult and will trigger
fantasies and fears regarding the consequences of being
independent. Should they become more autonomous, most individuals
with DPD fear being abandoned by those who currently care for
them. They experience themselves as inept, overburdened, and
inadequate to face the demands of life. They cannot conceive of
their own abilities for autonomy and independent functioning.
In treatment, these individuals will develop a strong
dependence on service providers while continuing to devalue their
own ability to make use of the treatment. All progress will be
attributed to the service providers and not to the self (McCann,
Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 147).
Even though DPD treatment progress will be made evident
through increased independent functioning, this cannot be an
initial therapeutic goal. Early in the treatment process,
accommodation will need to be made so that some of the dependency
needs evidenced by these clients can be gratified via appropriate
support and encouragement from service providers and enough
security can be developed to allow change to be pursued (Van
Denberg, Retzlaff, ed., p. 123). It is a delicate balance as it
is equally important that service providers do not reestablish
the dominance-submission pattern that characterizes other
relationships for these individuals (Millon, 1981, p. 130). It
needs to be determined whether or not apparent gains in treatment
are merely temporary compliance with strong, demanding treatment
providers (Dorr, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 198). The willingness
that individuals with DPD have to submit to more powerful others
makes it imperative that professional boundaries and limits are
established and adhered to closely. If treatment providers allow
themselves to dominate DPD clients, they may eventually encounter
the denied rage in these individuals for that domination (Kubacki
& Smith, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 171). They may then find
themselves entangled in a complex web of dependency and fury with
individuals who feel betrayed and damaged.
Transference and Countertransference
Clients with DPD are friendly, cooperative, and compliant.
These individuals are extremely pleased if their service
providers are powerful and competent. However, in the course of
treatment it frequently becomes apparent that changes are not
happening, and eventually, someone runs out of patience
(Benjamin, 1993, p. 238).
Perry (Gabbard & Atkinson, eds., 1996, pp. 995-996)
suggests that there are four types of transference and
countertransference problems with clients with DPD:
- In initial treatment, these individuals may make many demands
or requests of the service providers for advice, succor, or
concrete help which cannot be met. It is then possible that they
will terminate treatment early and have an unsuccessful treatment
outcome. Treatment providers should give special attention to
help modulate these demands early in treatment to prevent
disappointment and dropout. A countertransference issue here
would be service provider emotional withdrawal. (Richards [1993,
1993, p.343] also notes that initial dependency in the treatment
process must be expected and can be useful in building a
therapeutic bond strong enough to allow individuals with DPD to
change. However, excessive dependency can elicit
countertransference annoyance and a wish that the client would
- Individuals with DPD may repeatedly attempt to have service
providers take responsibility for all decisions and tell them how
to run their lives. Should the service providers accept this role
they will become an external substitute for the these clients'
own will. Treatment providers may actually do this because they
have become exasperated by the DPD clients' protestation of
helplessness [Sperry (1995, p. 88) notes that countertransference
with DPD clients includes disdain and contempt.] or because of a
personal wish to assume an idealized role as a wise and
- Individuals with DPD may avoid making real changes but stay
in treatment to maintain an emotional attachment to the treatment
providers. DPD clients' compliant attitude may be mistaken for
cooperation with the goals of treatment. This is covert refusal
to accept responsibility for making changes. Their passivity is
reinforced if the service providers do not recognize and openly
address this problem.
- Individuals with DPD may have unsatisfying, punitive
relationships. Their repeated stories about mistreatment may
evoke a desire to control their self-defeating patterns on the
part of the service providers. If service providers challenge
clients with DPD to leave abusive relationships, they may place
them in a position of being trapped by their emotional attachment
to their therapist and the fear of loss or being punished by
Zimmerman (1994, pp. 118-119) suggests the following questions
when assessing individuals for DPD:
- Some people enjoy making decisions. Other prefer to have
someone they trust guide them. Which do you prefer?
- Do you seek advice for everyday decisions?
- Do you find yourself in situations where other people have
made decisions about important areas in your life, e.g. what job
- Is it hard for you to express a different opinion with
someone you are close to? What do you think might happen if you
- Do you often pretend to agree with others even if you do not?
- Do you often need help to get started on a project?
- Do you ever volunteer to do unpleasant things for others so
they will take care of you when you need it?
- Are you uncomfortable when you are alone? Are you afraid you
will not be able to take care of yourself?
- Have you found that you are desperate to get into another
relationship right away when a close relationship ends? Even if
the new relationship might not be the best person for you?
- Do you worry about important people in your life leaving
A critical element in the assessment of DPD is the
relationship with dominant others. When a dominant other is
available to individuals with DPD, there is often not a problem
bringing them to treatment as they have the reassurance they
need. The discomfort and distress occur when the dominant other
is not available. When individuals with DPD do enter treatment,
they will usually describe a pattern of molding their
personalities to the dominant figures with whom they are
involved. Treatment should, if possible, involve significant
others as less dependence on the part of individuals with DPD
will likely have a negative impact on the relationships (Turkat,
1990, pp. 82-83).
Perry (Gabbard & Atkinson, eds., 1996, pp. 996-997)
suggests that In DPD treatment, clients should be assisted
- conceptualize their treatment goals;
- commit themselves to actions that are manageable toward those
- persevere despite discouragement or an inclination to give up
on those goals.
Gradually, service providers should increase the level of
expectations for autonomous decision making, action, and socially
effective responses. This include self-management of crises and
self-soothing under stress. This requires assisting clients with
DPD to resolve transference wishes to be dependent and to
experience a more self-reliant role in relationships. In
treatment, the service provider must empathize with DPD clients'
feelings of inadequacy but should point out other behaviors that
demonstrate their self-efficacy, autonomy, and competence
(McCann, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 147).
An interpersonal approach to DPD treatment promotes healthy
identification with people, e.g. service providers, group
members, and peers who function at a more autonomous level
(Kantor, 1992, p. 173).
An educative approach teaches clients with DPD how to be
independent. Direct advice is given at the beginning of
treatment. Later, advice is given indirectly by asking clients
with DPD to make a decision and then assisting them with the
decision once it has been made (Kantor, 1992, pp 173-174).
Cognitive-behavior therapy views the DPD client-service
provider relationship as reflective of dysfunctional DPD beliefs
and behaviors. Treatment is focused on fostering accurate
self-appraisal and independent decision making and independent
behavior. Initial dependent behavior is accepted but addressed
and reflected upon in the treatment process. Treatment techniques
that are used include:
- graded in vivo exposure to anxiety-provoking
- challenging negative self-beliefs;
- diaries to monitor automatic thoughts and highlighting the
negative effects of those thoughts;
- challenging DPDs to select healthier responses to various
- relaxation training;
- assertiveness training; and,
- role-playing for skill development.
When there is resistance to change, service providers help
clients with DPD to think through their ambivalence about
changing and to substitute constructive behavior for old
dependent habits (Perry, Gabbard & Atkinson, eds., 1996, p.
Adler (Adler, ed., 1990, pp. 26-28) suggests that treatment
goals for all personality disorders include: preventing further
deterioration, regaining an adaptive equilibrium, alleviating
symptoms, restoring lost skills, and fostering improved adaptive
capacity. Goals may not necessarily include characterological
restructuring. The focus of treatment is adaptation, i.e., how
individuals respond to the environment. Treatment interventions
teach more adaptive methods of managing distress, improving
interpersonal effectiveness, and building skills for affective
For individuals with DPD, the goal of treatment is not
independence but autonomy. Autonomy has been defined as the
capacity for independence and the ability to develop intimate
relationships (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 291). Sperry (1995,
p. 86 - 91) suggests that the basic goal for DPD treatment is
self-efficacy. Individuals with DPD must recognize their
dependent patterns and the high price they pay to maintain those
patterns. This allows them to explore alternatives. The
long-range goal is to increase DPD individuals' sense of
independence and ability to function. Clients with DPD must build
strength rather than foster neediness (Benjamin, 1993, p.
As with other personality disorders, treatment goals should
not be in contradiction to the basic personality and temperament
of these individuals. They can work toward a more functional
version of those characteristics that are intrinsic to their
style. Oldham (1990, p. 104) suggests seven traits and behaviors
of the "devoted personality style," i.e, the
non-personality-disordered version of DPD:
- ability to make commitments;
- enjoyment of intimacy;
- skills as a team player -- without need to compete with the
- willingness to seek the opinions and advice of others;
- ability to promote interpersonal harmony;
- thoughtfulness and consideration for others; and,
- willingness to self-correct in response to criticism.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment:
Treating The Addicted Dependent Personality
Cluster C: Incidence of Co-Occurring Substance Abuse
Cluster C has a high incidence of co-occurring substance abuse
disorders, though not as high as Cluster B (Nace, O'Connell, ed.,
1990, p. 184).
Individuals with personality disorders, due to their frequent
failures in self-regulation, have an increased inclination to use
drugs and alcohol as alternative solutions to life problems. This
failure in self-regulation and faulty adaptation to normal
stressors can usually be attributed to deficiencies or
disturbances in the personality (Richards, 1993, pp. 227-240). As
Freud has said, intoxicating substances keep misery at a distance
and provide a greatly desired degree of independence from the
external world. With the help of drugs, anyone can withdraw from
the pressures of reality and find refuge in a world of their own
(Khantzian, Halliday, & McAuliffe, 1990, Opening page).
While Khantzian, et. al. (1990, p. 3) view the treatment of
any character disorder as the road to recovery from addiction,
their approach also demands a continued attention to and concern
about maintaining abstinence and avoiding relapse. Addiction
becomes a disorder in its own right and must be addressed
directly. However, the treatment of personality disorders can
lead to profound change in personality disordered individuals'
experience of self and the world, which, in turn, can positively
affect recovery from addiction.
Specifically, for individuals with DPD, alcoholism and other
substance abuse are common presenting problems since drugs and
alcohol offer an easy, passive way to either deal with or escape
from problems (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 287). Highly
dependent individuals often have a history of oral excesses,
i.e., alcohol, food, and drug abuse; they also have a history of
early loss or deprivation and issues of abandonment and
loneliness (Millon, 1996, p. 182).
For individuals with DPD, the external search for
self-comfort, security, and self-regulation makes them quite
vulnerable to chemical dependency. For individuals with DPD,
alcohol and other drugs can:
- effectively address DPD anxiety symptoms;
- provide a release and emotional expression that are denied
due to fear of losing security and support;
- serve as a substitute solution to unmet interpersonal
- be used to manage the separation anxiety when a spouse comes
and goes during routine daily activities; and,
- provide an escape from competency demands.
There may be some immunity to addiction if significant others
are very disapproving of these individuals' drug use. However,
the disapproval may be responded to by secretive use and greater
anxiety, depression, and self-loathing. (Richards, 1993, p.
Drugs of Choice for the Dependent Personality
Individuals with DPD make few choices for themselves. They are
not likely to select a drug, route of administration, frequency
of use, or location of use if their involvement with drugs and
alcohol exists within a social or relationship context. They will
use what, when, where, and how according to those with whom they
If drug or alcohol use is done in secrecy and isolation,
sedative hypnotics are likely to be preferred. Few individuals
with DPD, operating on their own, will have the necessary
aggression and tolerance for risk to engage in acquisition of
illegal drugs. They are more likely to use alcohol or seek
sedative-hypnotics from physicians.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for the Dependent Personality
Individuals with DPD often do well in inpatient treatment and
in early phases of recovery since the stabilizing and supportive
aspects of the treatment process meet their basic dependency
needs. However, these individuals will resist movement through
the recovery process; they are inclined to remain in the
attached, secure, weak, and provided for position of early
treatment. The greater independence involved in later recovery
provokes anxiety and abandonment depression. They then become
quite vulnerable to relapse as drugs and alcohol modulate
feelings of abandonment. Drugs can provide escape or avoidance of
the pain (Richards, 1993, p. 245). Relapse potential,
particularly in relation to personality issues, needs to be
addressed directly and clearly. It is important that these
individuals see the impact of their dependency choices in regard
to drugs and alcohol as in other areas of their lives.
Since individuals with DPD follow the lead of those around
them, it is particularly important to assess their social
environment to locate areas of peer pressure or the social
function of their drug use. NA or AA contacts will be easy for
these individuals but there is no assurance that they will seek
out and attach to the healthier and more sincere members of their
groups. They can often be prey for more aggressive or
narcissistic people in any system. Treatment must be centered on
managing dependency; specific guidance and reinforcement of
preferred interpersonal attachments are often crucial to addicted
individuals with DPD (Richards, 1993, p. 245).
Individuals with DPD are likely to take a depressed position
in regard to their addiction. They view themselves as victims and
elicit help from others. Group therapy might be quite useful in
helping individuals with DPD see that other people will continue
to like, accept, and assist them even if they disagree with
something that is being said. This is a maturational step these
individuals experience as risky (Richards, 1993, pp. 238-242).
Group treatment is also effective in confronting individuals with
DPD about their absolution of themselves from taking
responsibility for their choices and their behavior. It is
important to remember that, for individuals with DPD,
self-destructive behavior in the service of relationship
maintenance will look like a reasonable trade-off, no matter what
it looks like to others. Group members can be effective in
pointing out the impact of abusive or self-destructive
Of concern, particularly in the treatment of addicted
Individuals with severe DPD is their potential for disinhibition
and violence if they feel seriously threatened. These individuals
usually have low activity levels and barely discernible
aggression. However, they can become paranoid and even violent if
their basic dependency is threatened. If they feel both
endangered and are intoxicated, individuals with severe DPD have
made mortal attacks on their families. Also, because of their
avoidance of adult activities, immaturity, and self-identity as a
child, sexual offenses against children have been made,
particularly during times of intoxication and abandonment by
another adult (Richards, 1993, p. 244).
Confrontation usual to substance abuse treatment should be
modified to meet the severity of the dependent personality
disorder. For individuals with severe DPD, confrontation will
trigger fantasies of rescue from a protective other outside of
the treatment process. Modulated confrontation that emphasizes
self-empowerment sill also assist in addressing characterological
Abstinence should be a goal of treatment. If it is a
prerequisite, most individuals with DPD will remain
self-destructive in the service of protecting a relationship
rather than accept treatment-- unless involvement with the
criminal justice system can leverage them out of the negative
I am wondering if you are seeing some evidence
of "fantasy" as opposed to "infidelity"? Clearly there are signs
of trouble either way.
Confronting your partner with specifics is the
only way to get real answers from which you can make your
decisions. Addictive Cyber-sex or Cyber-dating behaviour is a
phenomenon of both lonely and 'sick' people. Lonely is the focus
I would suggest that you discuss the issues
directly, even if it means that you must admit to doing a little
Further, you should find your way, both of you,
to a marriage and family therapist (MFT). There are some problems
here that underlie the current issues. Your wife's statements
about her loneliness should not be dismissed lightly. No doubt
you are feeling much the same way.
What follows is not to say anything other than
to point to the variance in thinking across this planet about
'spousal relationships': One of the most widely adored marriages
in the world was that of Paul and Linda McCartney. After Linda's
tragic death, media, friends and Sir P. McCartney himself
commented extensively enough to indicate wide acceptance that,
"in all their years of marriage, he never left her alone for one
Certainly that is not possible for everyone, but
if that is an ingredient of a GOOD marriage, what, in the
event of absence, is the consequence, and what, in varied
absences to a greater extreme is the more extreme consequence.
Something to think about, Michael. Priorities, compromises and
Please let me know how you make out.
All of your observations are as conclusive as
they need to be. What more information can you need? For you to
go to the trouble of doing surveillance on this individual is
pure folly. You know what you know and it is making you unhappy.
Your expectations of this relationship are far too high.
Trust is not just based on a feeling but based
on observations of attitudes and behaviours. A person expecting
your trust has an obligation to not just behave in a trustworthy
fashion but to project the appearance of doing so and explaining
any deviations that occur with unfortunate happenstance
Such is not the case in your instance.
Your friend has not given you reason to trust him.
Moreover, you are in a casual non-committed
relationship with this man and while he is conducting himself
accordingly, you seem to be acting as if it is an exclusive
relationship. You need to wake up to that fact. You have put
yourself in this situation while accepting his misleading stories
and promises. I sense that is changing within you. Good for
Your feelings for this person seem to be much
stronger than his feelings for you. After three years, that is
not going to change. Adjust to that.
That isn't uncommon, people do drift apart. But
he should have been truthful with you and should not be wasting
your time in a relationship he clearly has no intention of going
further with. He has misled you completely. And also, certainly
his respect for you is nearly non-existent. It's time for you to
lower your expectations from this relationship. If the
relationship is causing you sufficient anxiety as to impact your
overall wellness, end it completely.
Otherwise, you might also consider restricting
the relationship to formal dating. In other words, see him only
on pre-arranged outings (dates).
One of the difficult aspects of breaking up a
relationship is the loss of hope "for what could have been". We
all have dreams and hope for the best from our primary
relationship. Because of that we see things through rose colored
glasses at times. It's time to take off those rosy glasses and
see things for what they are. It is most important that you
convince yourself to lower your expectations. Keep in mind that
you are in the driver's seat. You are responsible for your own
happiness. You are in this relationship because you put yourself
there. You can just as easily get yourself out.
If he has promised you fidelity, his promises
are worthless. You have been misled.
Frankly, it sounds to me like you are in this
relationship to fill some of your needs until something better
comes along. Perhaps you ought to accelerate the latter. You too
should be seeing other people. Certainly you can't believe there
is a future with this man under the current circumstances.
Above all, any expectations that you have that
exceed what one would expect from a casual dating relationship
must end. That's all you have. A casual dating relationship
wherein each party is not obliged to monogamy. Lower your
expectations and moving on will be easier.
Good luck and stay in touch. Let me know how you
Micheal J. O'Brien
your message: I found out last year that he was cheating on
me. After that we went
out one night this lady came up to him and it was (not real name
this Bill that . The next day she came to his house, he leaves
on a fram
and you have to know where it is to know where he lives. She
came out and
he played if off, this women is married. Then I found a woman's
number in his
pant pocket, he played this off also. He has a lot of hang ups
and I just want
to find out one more time, but I want to be able to show him thi
He says he wants to marry me, but we have been together for 3
1/2 years and
he still has not asked. I just want to be able to knowfo sure so
don't marry him and all I live with is him cheating. One night
we where out he plays
pool at this bar, we walk in and his friend says I thought yu
where going out of town.
Then the next time we are there another friend says to me one of
many. He palyed this off
and said people just want to make trouble. He gets hang ups all
the time. If I answer sometimes
they hold just for a few seconds then hang up,I can hear music
a TV in the background. He lives out in the country but it would
be hard to see his house in my car
and I don't know all of the places he might go. The women I
with was from out of state. I am at lost here.He has a cell
but there are to many numbers or they change all the time. Last
he got a call and acted funny then said it was someone trying to
him something, then he acted funny and said he was going to
the *69 or *67 to find out what the nimber is. He when out to
the pond on sunday
and he never carrys his cell phone with him but it was not in
that he drives, when he took me home the cell phone was not in
he always has it in the truck. I just want to find out, so that
last time I can know in my heart I need to let go.
Will you consider bringing your relationship to
a local Marriage and Family Therapist? Your marriage could
benefit from some skilled, face-to-face therapeutic help. And
you, Johanna, need to throw out some mistaken ideas about human
Good heavens, Johanna, what a nice couple
you two seem to be. You two have the makings of a beautiful
relationship. It doesn't sound like there is any kind of threat
to you that is cause for you to break up your primary
relationship. Oh dear. That is inadvertently unfair, unrealistic,
and far more ominous than what your husband is doing, to put it
bluntly. I refer to your comment: "I have threatened
to leave him if he fails to stop this disgusting habit, which I
find repulsive and dirty."
Oh my gosh.
Wow. Get a grip, Johanna. Hey. In some respects
I sympathize. I was raised as a (Latin) strict Catholic and
entered the Seminary to become a priest at one point early in my
life. My head was filled with extremely backward nonsense that
even the church itself later altered its stand on. I required
and did make a shift in my way of thinking. You need to do that
too. Masturbation is as much a normal part of human function as
is breathing, burping, urinating and so on. If you think about
the incredibly sophisticated and beautiful human body that God
has created, you coudn't possibly find anything repulsive and
You sound annoyed with this internet porn thing.
Maybe that's the real problem. Some jealousy. Allow yourself to
stop taking his behaviour as a personal insult. He is
fantasizing. I would reluctantly venture that there is a little
naughtiness going down here but nothing too serious. Some
misplaced energy is more to the point. Well, ok, I don't
particularly like the internet porn situation you refer to
because I would prefer to have most of this sexual fantasy time
rolled into some partner activities that bring the two of you
together. That could be a worthwhile goal for you.
You talk about his basement electric shop and
his time on the internet. This creature of habit is, I presume,
retired. Sounds like he is replicating his working life schedule
and doing a little of the 'caveman' thing as well. Try watching
his activities with a little more amusement in mind rather than
intensity. You might get quite a few private chuckles. Together,
with some outside help, you can work on gradually developing some
better habits though. And don't be too surprised that all this is
just an interim adjustment thing that will soon change. What you
two need is some help in managing the process of change and some
good options added to the agenda.
"Old fashioned," you ask. I guess that's the way
some people would say it but the truth is, I suspect that just
like everyone else on this planet, something in your past has
given you certain concepts about what sex and intimacy are all
about - in your case, as it is for many pople, some
misinformation and very restrictive rules about sex and sexuality
are problematic today. Perhaps you would benefit from working on
this with a paradigm shift as a goal -- meaning a different way
of thinking about things. Are you able to give yourself some
permission or license to feel better about new ideas as a first
One area to explore is the sexual FANTASY.
That's what your husband has been doing on the internet. Your
husband has been having sexual fantasies for 65 years and you
finally figured that out. Pretty shocking discovery? Well, the
same is true for all human beings, admit it or not. The peculiar
thing about the surrealistic world of multimedia and cyberspace
(the internet) is that those fantasies now have some
sophisticated accessories. As a consequence, many people's
fantasies are less of a secret now than ever before. Welcome to
the new millennium wherein we are all coping with the process of
A few things you say are extremely encouraging.
Your husband's sexual desires all seem to revolve around you.
There are some strong indicators to support that.
Your husband sounds like a wonderful partner,
although one who could use a little bit of enlightenment just
like you do; and you sound like a very intelligent and
communicative person who is the key problem solver in the
relationship. Perhaps it could be you who makes a few calls,
talks with the family doctor, gets a referral and hauls your fine
marriage to an MFT for some real honing of the skills you each
bring to your already rich relationship.
By the way, Johanna, the 'experts' your husband
has referred to are supported by most human
anthropologists, spiritual and medical leaders. Male and female
masturbation is perfectly normal. Perhaps your husband's and your
bad manners on the subject could use some focus though. I am
referring to his flaunting the internet porn regardless of how
you feel about that; and your inclination to try and catch him in
the act of peeking and masturbating. Hmmmm. Some things among
cohabiting partners need the 'blind eye', as you well know. The
internet thing we have already gone over. Some behaviour
modification is in order.
Are there some religious concerns regarding
intimacy? Do you feel threatened by your husband's visit to the
porn sites and the fact that he is obviously becoming aroused?
It's all fantasy, Johanna. Maybe you and your partner should try
sharing a few fantasies of your own together. If that's hard to
do, try reminiscing out loud to him about some of your most
exciting and intimate experiences together. Next, embellish the
anecdote a little. Think and talk about pleasant experiences
together. Say only nice, positive things to each other. Instead
of blasting him for masturbating, rephrase this positively -- try
suggesting that is something that you would rather be doing. Then
let it be. Let's face it, Johanna, unfairly threatening to dump
him because he masturbates is likely to drive him deeper into his
escape fantasy-world on the internet. Your approach has been
Regarding your other notes:
- You are not only allowed to enjoy your husbands enthusiastic
approach to intimacy, but you also have the ability. Sexual
appetite, up to a point, grows the more it is fed.
- Your preferences relating to oral sex are not all that
unusual. Everyone has their likes and dislikes and that's just
fine. The same is true about your husband. Try to find some
common ground for the basis of your intimacy relationship and do
your experimentation beyond this at a mutually comfortable
- Toys, creams, sex aids, experimentation. Why not. Whatever is
mutually enjoyable. Your experimentation will provide the answers
about what you like and don't like; will or won't try again.
- If you are comfortable with it (satiated), its ok that you
don't always have an orgasm. Each person is different in this
regard. What is important is that you are able to enjoy your
loving intimate times together and that neither partner feels
excessively uncomfortable about what is happening in the
relationship. You will work on that together, with some
therapeutic help, won't you?
Well, Johanna, I am afraid I am not at my
coherent best as I am at the end of a long shift. I am hoping you
feel the encouragement I want to share with you. You sound like
an absolutely wonderful couple who are more than capable of
getting over some misunderstandings and minor communication
Please have a talk with your family doctor, a
professional who in my experience is always a good community
center-point for developing a solid relationship support team.
Try and get a referral appointment with a qualified Marriage and
Family Therapist at the earliest opportunity. You will both find
this to be a rewarding learning experience.
I wish you the very very best and invite you to
stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. If you feel any
of the foregoing needs more explanation, please ask.
On Thursday, May 10, 2001 9:31 PM -- You
My husband who is 65, I am 68. Sits in front of
his computer watching porn on the Internet. Twice now I have
caught him Masturbating, while he looks at the pictures of young
I have told him that this makes me feel inferior, and I asked
him to stop. He promised he would and in less than two months he
was at it again. He thinks that I am sneaking around on him,
which makes him mad. We have sex on a regular basis every week.
He said that he wants sex more often but I cannot, once a week is
adequate to me. I do not have a great sex drive, and when we do
have sex I do not have a orgasm very often. I have threatened to
leave him if he fails to stop this disgusting habit, which I find
repulsive and dirty.
My husband say's that it quite natural for men
to masturbate, I do not agree with him. He said that he has read
several articles on the net written by sex therapist and doctors,
who condone masturbation.
My husband is a good man and a good partner, but
he spends 4-5 hours a day on the Internet looking a pornographic
pictures of various way's to have sex. I complain that he spends
more time looking at porn and working on his computer. He has a
small work in the basement that he spends most of the day doing
repairs on electronic equipment. These two activities take most
of his time. I find that he does not spend much time in our
relationship, and tends to ignore me, and the only time I see him
is at night then we just sit and watch TV. I like to go for walks
in the summer and to get some exercise. Also I like to cuddle now
and again, this lets me know that he still loves me.
My husband has purchased several vibrators for
both of us and several creams and lotions to make our sex life a
lot better. He said that we should have mutual masturbation
foreplay before we have sex. He likes to have aural sex with me,
which I am not crazy over, and he likes me to blow him and rub
the top of penis. He also likes me to use a vibrator on him, and
he uses a vibrator on me, before we have intercourse.
My husband does not run after other women or
make passes at my friends.
His what he is doing normal, for his age? I
am, for my age, quite attractive, but because of his activities
on the Internet, it gives me a inferiority complex. Am I to old
In response to your request for confidential
I am just guessing but I would suppose that you
are both quite young. Certainly your spouse is very immature.
Telling you all this in a long distance conversation over the
phone. Hmmm. Very thoughtless. Perhaps inadvertantly, but
certainly cruel. My heart goes out to you.
As you were engaged to be married during this
infidelity you are right to be concerned about this man's
character and commitment in the marriage. Engagement is a civil
contract, verbal, but no less binding. For many people it is a
trial beginning of marriage. Many people interpret "being
engaged" differently, so think about what it meant to you and
When does he return? Would you consider
counseling? I don't think this crisis must need be a marriage
killer but, further, I don't believe you should project taking
this lightly either. If you want to stay together get yourselves
(figuratively 'drag him by the ear' if necesary) in front of a
Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) as soon as possible. You
might also want to share your 'news' and seek advise and support
from a trusted family member (i.e. Mom or Dad or whomever you are
close with), Family Doctor (you must! apprise yourself of
all health-related issues and get a thorough blood work-up done).
For sure, get that blood test if only to eliminate any worry down
the road. I gather it's been a year so a test should be
conclusive. And see a counsellor yourself.
Build yourself a support team. Surely this is
hard to cope with alone.
Your legal options are worth noting. Should you
feel so inclined to at least inform yourself about your potential
legal actions in Family Court, and what each step would be,
you could have a short meeting with a legal adviser or lawyer to
learn what if anything you don't know about your legal options as
they apply in your state. If you don't have a lawyer, a short
while spent on the phone could be quite productive. Contact the
State Bar Association or Law Society and try and get a low-cost
referral if that suits your means.
Inform yourself of all your options by building
a good support team. And at the right time, inform your partner
of the distress his breach of promise to you has caused and
whatever steps your are going to take. You can hold off making a
decision about staying together or not, but either way you should
build that support group and inform yourself completely on the
issues I have set out. That way whatever decison you make will be
an informed one having good potential for success. More
importantly, it will make you feel better.
Good luck to you both.
Please, let me know how you are doing.
my huband just told me last week over the phone that the
whole time we were dating and engaged he cheated on me with his x
girlfriend and he also had a one night stand. he says he hasn't
done anything in our marriage, but i can't beleive that. i don't
know what to do or think we've been married less than a year.
he's in the army and hes overseas now he'll be back in
This communication is confidential and legally privileged. If
are not the intended recipient, (i) please do not read or
others, (ii) please notify the sender by reply mail, and (iii)
this communication from your system. Failure to follow this
process may be
unlawful. Thank you for your cooperation.
I am assuming that you have left out nothing you know about that
caused your partner's dysfunctional behaviour, (i.e.: abusiveness
violence in the marriage... or other such divisive
What really stands out is the fact that she told you about all of
is a very strong manifestation of the type of person you are
Instead of living with her own guilt she dumped it off on you. Or
That triggers an alarm bell. She may be seeking help but I can
speculate wildly about motivation without more input. Perhaps you
know of an
explanation you haven't mentioned. The fact that she has been
these years is bad enough. Loading it off on you is worse.
So you are burdened with some of the worst kinds of feelings
betrayal, loss, fear, guilt and so on. Time to get some help,
pal. I don't
want to be the one to tell you that you are married to a 'jerk'.
that as a colloquialism. I use that particular street vernacular
person exhibiting these characteristics of behaviour -- the
clinical word is
sociopath.-- anti-social, dysfunctional behaviour that ignores
the harm done
to others. There are a number of defined personality disorders
disorders that are shall I say different names for behaviours
these features. That's beyond the scope of this type of minimal
exchange. Why she's a 'jerk' is a deep matter for clinical
indeed that's what she wants to do. In short. You can't fix her.
change her. Only she can do that and I believe not without help.
professional mentoring and co-management of a sincere effort to
address life problems and behaviours. My best estimate is that
she needs to
get herself into some fairly extensive psychiatric treatment in
manage some of her problems and modify her life style and
as well as self-evaluation in order to be a functional human
the right professional could be critical to the success of such
These types of people hurt the lives of everyone they come in
You are one such victim, and it is yourself that you must be most
about, apart from children of the marriage if there are
If you manage your crisis with the help of a personal counselor
you might even come out of this crisis light-years ahead of where
when it began. For sure you will limit the enduring pain and
anguish of the
crisis. Few people have exceptional skills at dealing with this
trauma alone. Nobody can really say they couldn't do with a
Please consider contacting your family doctor or local medical
facilities and get a referral to a psychologist or social
to assist you personally in this crisis. I tell you flat out,
yourself well and building an inventory of coping skills is what
you need to
focus on. Frankly, I say to you, it is improbable that you will
full understanding of the events or the parties to them, but most
is that you learn to feel better about things by strengthening
remaining mindful of your own personal opportunities. Remember
always yield opportunities. If you are able, I suggest you have a
with a Family Law legal practitioner to inform yourself of your
options and what each process entails and how it works. Keep your
open but be sure to top up your knowledge base so that you
unknown variables for yourself.
That's the best I can suggest with the little information I have,
Best of luck to you and please do write me at any time.
Typically men never seem to share the specific
details of their wives' affairs. It's hard to know why and what
is going on but I'll do my best. I can tell you three typical
reasons for these adulterous trust-breaker events
1. Failures within the marriage. (Communication,
intimacy and trust are the primary failures); and or
2. A completely false paradigm or understanding
of just what marriage (and sometimes reality itself) is. And in
3. Significant character flaws with one or both
of the partners.
Based on the words you have used and how you use
them, which is actually very little to go on, I would say that
counseling is absolutely essential not just for the two of you
[MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy)] but additionally individual
counseling for each of you is a must. You both need to build a
support group for your relationship that includes personal and
couple therapy; family doctor, supportive friends and family
members and perhaps your clergy leader if you that would be
I point out to you that dysfunction within a
family is often based on a spirit and methodology
that comprises tension and hostility as a way of life. Hard work
at caring and sharing is the proper alternative and the recipe
for harmony and fulfillment. Try it. Both of you. You have a lot
of building to do. Perhaps you didn't from the outset of your
marriage... there's no time like the present to start. You say
you love your wife and she loves you. That makes betrayal hurt
more and harder to understand.
There is no excuse; it is a serious personal
failure on the part of your wife. Selfishness, immaturity and
possibly personality flaws come to mind. Perhaps all brought out
by a serious life crisis. I don't know all the details. Nobody is
perfect. But think of this. After all that is passed, if you met
this person today as a stranger, knowing what you know about her
anyway you can answer the question: "Is she the person you would
wish to spend the rest of your life with"? Your answer may
change from day to day as you go through some emotional ups and
downs, but in the overall, deep inside yourself you would know
the answer to that.
However the marriage broke down, you both have
responsibility in the cause and also in the remedy.
You must be feeling pretty awful. Don't be shy
about getting some advice from your family doctor to help get you
through the anxious times. It can be very tough because the
number one most stressful crisis for any person is the trauma
that impacts our primary relationship. Your career is just a job
of work: your family is your life! Your family deserves the
hardest of work effort. That effort will also be the one which
makes you feel the best and rewards you the most in time. Work on
your marriage and you will always feel good about it and can
always feel good about yourself for doing so.
Micheal J. O'Brien
Micheal J. O'Brien P.C., M.F.T., B.A.
Psychology, B.A. Criminology; Child & Youth Counsellor, SJA
First Aid Rescuer, Level "C" CPR, Prevention & Management of
Aggressive Behaviour training, Anger Management Facilitator
for the past few days i have had dreams indicating that she
is cheating and i have a gut feeling and i dont want to believe
it in my heart i dont think she is but in my mind i think she
Sounds like you are entering the relationship
danger zone of tension and hostility.
Perhaps as so often happens our own guilt drives
us to suspicion. I refer to the guilt from perhaps being
inattentive. Maybe it's time to begin a routine of doing more to
nourish your relationship with your partner which will make your
partner happier; increase your own confidence and begin a pattern
of caring and sharing. The greatest gift one can give is one's
own time. Kind words, compliments and open, caring dialogue can
be the recipe for new beginnings.
I suggest you find out when the Detective is on duty and what
arrives at the station for duty, parade etc. Be there to meet him
appointment or just drop in till you connect. (Often a Detective
start the shift at the office but ends up there eventually.) Ask
him for a
copy of the report. Meanwhile, if you are able, you should ask
insurance agent to fax you a quick letter requesting you obtain
supplementary report. Bring that to the Detective as your
requesting the information. Once you have a photocopy in your
can send it with a letter to your insurance firm explaining the
its correction contained within the second occurrence
Wow. I am so sorry to hear how you have been
betrayed. After 23 years. I see some real heavy issues here but
importantly, it seems clear that you have managed your crisis
well and have a good grip on the whole thing. But it's tough,
isn't it. I hope you are getting through the worst of the pain
and stress and will soon be able to hold your chin high and feel
that way too.
Sometimes it is true that relationships have
such gradually overwhelming problems, like communication for
example, that the two people drift apart and can't seem to answer
the self-directed question, 'when it was that they stopped loving
each other'. That is seldom the reality, just how it seems to one
or both. There are ebbs and tides in long-term relationships that
create times of certain vulnerability. There are more than a few
half baked humans out there to pounce on and exploit those
Counseling might have helped you both some time
ago, but my guess is that there are some serious accountability
issues with your nefarious partner and perhaps that's why you
weren't attending Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). I don't
Do you know that life-partnership relationships
need hard work and maintenance constantly from both parties?
Sounds like a cliché, doesn't it? Too much so; since most
folks don't do it.
Try out these notions and tell me what you
1. The other woman wants what you had. Of
course, eh? Ergo what you had wasn't all that bad, just needed
some work? You might be fooling yourself on that score.
2. What irks you most, Karen, your loss or her
gain? Isn't it amazing how cruel and selfish some women can be to
another? Forget it. He's the villain, not her. I will bet you
dollars to donuts this new gal is troubled, weak, emotionally
malnourished and will (unknowingly) just exploit your husband for
a year or two to help her ride out the emotional storm of her own
divorce, or until she can find a less encumbered male (he
has a wife and three kids).
3. This is a complex suggestion, stunningly
realistic, common, and tragic. My rule of thumb, based on
hundreds of cases, is that the average person needs to wait at
least 2 years before getting serious again (the patience takes
some strength of character) after ending a long-term relationship
--- and --- the parties don't actually recover completely for
longer than that, sometimes not ever.... What is the measure of
that? The quantum of issues from the failed brought to the new
i.e.: the right time is that time in their life when they will
certainly not bring the same personal, bahavioural, emotional
crap and unrealistic expectations from their failed relationship
into a new one and ruin it too. The upshot of this is that he who
has begun a new relationship whilst still in a marriage has
doomed both involvements. It's a good probability so be careful
should he come back to you on a fishing expedition not to bite
the hook too readily, if at all.
4. I get this sense that you and your husband
still love each other.
5. From a reading of your written facts: your
husband is an un-enlightened person who deals poorly with his
life passages. Sadly he lost his family because he was
overwhelmed by his "id" and "ego" conflict. It's a measure of
dysfunction. Such a person typically styles their life in a
"have-their-cake-and-eat-it-too" fashion. Look out! You likely
have a good inkling of what I am thinking about on that score. I
frankly think that HE NEEDED THE THERAPY more than you, despite
his gratuitous advice to the contrary. He suffers a lack of
accountability and his reasoning sucks. I think of the children
as I write that. Big time! My guess is that he has carried some
personal (childhood maybe?) baggage for a while and something has
triggered a 'dumping'. What happened, did his hair fall out; see
some gray; whatever.
6. If, after meeting people and dating a bit and
living your life for a few years you bumped into your husband on
a pleasant afternoon strolling the boulevard; you reunite for a
friendly coffee, single and so on; think about it... is he the
kind of person... (forgetting about what he has done recently as
you likely will in the years to come), is he the kind of person
you want to spend the rest of your life with? How would you know
one way or the other? Realistically.
Ok? So you may not know right away why I suggest
you toss those thoughts around in your mind but go for it. And as
for your telling relatives about the situation, as long as you
are truthful and avoid being spiteful and don't deliberately use
the people around you as instruments in a battle, you are doing
the right thing. Your family needs to know what is happening. His
reputation, for as long as you are fair and honest, is his
exclusive responsibility. He is accountable for his betrayal of
wife and family.
How dare he tell you not to inform your family
members. He has no right to badger you like that. You suggest
that you "have backed him into a corner". In a pig's eye! You are
not to blame. He has made his own mess. Clearly you will need to
be quite assertive with this childish adult character as you
consider your life and your childrens' needs.
I trust you have arranged for legal advice? You
must build the best support group that you can. Lawyer, doctor,
therapist (good for you), family, friends(s) confidant etcetera.
Focus on your own needs and those of your children and let your
lawyer deal with the family law/financial/legal aspects under
your direction. Don't be a pushover. Kickass, per se, in the
interest of availing yourself of all that is needed to raise your
family as a single mom. You cannot fix your husband. That is a
big undertaking and more than any person other than himself is
capable of achieving. Think of yourself and be good to yourself.
That will pass on to the children.
Please let me know how you are doing.
Micheal J. O'Brien
Sounds like you have a lot on your mind. I agree
that geography is the best solution with respect to the other
woman; and your anger is to be expected.
Counseling is a very important facet to
recovery. And recovery is what you are doing. I would suggest
that you both go together for family counseling. If you ask your
family doctor to refer you to a qualified Marriage and Family
Counselor (MFT) in your area, I am sure he/she will be able to
This anger that you speak of must be dealt with.
Depression is an issue when anger is left unresolved. You need to
see someone on your own and try to work through these feelings
and regain your self-esteem. Talk to your doctor about this and
go quietly to find someone who will co-manage with you the
process of resolving some of this anger and turning it into
something useful and constructive.
best of luck and have a great holiday
Well, you know what you know. That's pretty
conclusive evidence of a well developed intimacy relationship
with someone. Not likely a prostitute but possible (10%
You need to be taking precautions regarding the
potential for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Before you leap ship it may be worth your while
to include in your decision making process whatever information
and/or hope that may be obtained by attending (both of you
together) Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). Your family doctor
would hopefully be able to refer you to a local MFT. I suggest
you discuss these issues with the following persons: Family
Doctor; your therapist (if you don't have one, open your mind to
thte possibility of doing some personal therapy); your closest
traditionl confidant i.e.: mother, sister, friend ...; and
whomever you have in your normal circle of friends and family
that you can speak to freely and rely upon for sage (or at least
sane) advice and who will support you. The objective in this
exercise is to build a personal support group to help you through
your marriage crisis. You need to deal with issues and not
acrimony. Do not discuss your husband in a colorful, hostile and
provocative way or you will polarize people in your support group
so severely they will not be able to objectively support or
provide advice. In other words do not create a husband bashing
group, create a support group that offers understanding and
If you believe that your husband is in the
throes of building an alternative relationship, retain a lawyer.
What I mean by this is that if you have any indication either
from him or from your own heart that your marriage is about to
end, retain a lawyer and get leagal advice from a good family
Please let me know how you are doing.
I think it would be worth your while to set up
an appointment with the parole officer he skipped on. Are you
able to find out who his PO was? Be opena dn honset about your
situation and ask this person what he knows about the subject and
what if anything he / she feels you ought to know.
I'll comment on some of your deductions
Breach of parole is a serious offence no matter
what the excuse. It is a crime of stupidity or it is a crime
committed by a person who has no regard for authority: a
sociopath (and many other PDOs) would fall into the
Sociopaths tend to be very charming and have a
knack for saying and doing all the right things to the person
they have targeted. They have new third-dimensional bond with any
living thing. They see people not in a humanitarian way but as
objects to be either used or ignored. Just because a person
appears to care does not disqualify them from that label.
I know nothing about the person you describe but
I do know that federal jail time for fraud usually means the
offence was fairly heinous or not the first, or both apply. Be
careful. Trust is a key element in any relationship. Fraud
artists can't completely be trusted. Obviously.
Some further suggestions:
Get his most recent High School yearbook from a
family member. Under a ruse, contact some of the people who were
his classmates. Make up a story about planning a birthday party
or some such thing that might be on the coming calendar of
events. Repeat call those persons you think might be helpful.
(i.e.: old girlfriends, sports chums hang-around friends etc.).
Learn from these people as much as you can about "What was he
like then?" Was he a leader? Was he quiet? What were his
favourite expressions? What was his favourite hobby, pastime? Was
he a good dancer? Did he go to all the school dances? What sports
did he play? What school antics trouble did he get into? Did he
get lots of detentions?
You can piece together a picture of his moral
and social fabirc in this way. Moreover, these are the kinds of
questions that can draw people out to say anything that may be
worthy of note. It may also lead you to developing a contact away
from his family unit who can share a lot of knowledge and
You can also anonymously contact previous
employers under a ruse and try and get some comments about his
performance in the work place.
Call the District Attorney's office where he was
prosecuted and see if you can determine who was the ADA who
prosecuted him on his original fraud felony. Hopefully that is a
women and you can get a sympaththetic and supportive reaction by
asking "I am thinking about marrying this person, is there
anything you can tell me that I should know?"
Remember that if a person tells you, "No. I
can't help you." Make certain you ask them: "You know what my
situation is, can you suggest to me someone who will be able to
help me with this?"
Keep digging and be persistant and if there is
something you should know about this guy, someone is bound to
tell you eventually.
Bye for now Kelly.
Please let me know how you are making out.