My wife and I have been together for 14 years and married for 10 years. We have 2 beautiful children. Over the past 3 years we’ve seemed to grow apart and I’ve hurt her emotionally but not intentionally or knowingly. She just confided in me that she is wondering if she is gay. She said that long before us when she was in high school she had feelings for another girl but never acted on them. She dated guys and then we met and have had a great marriage. Neither of us have ever had an affair with another person. She’s been going to counseling and besides her counselor I’m the only person that knows. What could’ve happened? She says she is still in love with me and wants me but doesn’t understand why she is having these thoughts. I’m trying to be supportive to her and regardless of what happens I intend to stand by her side through this. I’ve also begun counseling in order to work on my issue that hurt her in the past unknowingly. Could you help me with this?
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It is good that you are each going for counseling but I would also suggest that couples therapy could be of great benefit because there is something that has happened to trouble your marriage.
When trouble emerges between two married people it is usually the result of an accumulation of problems that have been building and festering for a very long time, perhaps even dating back to the very beginning. I have no way of knowing what the issues and problems are between the two of you except that you allude to some type of harm that you unwittingly perpetrated on your wife.
I will also point out to you that marital problems are never the result of one individual in the marriage. To clarify what I mean is that your wife has contributed to these marital problems and in ways she may not be aware of. I respect what you report about having a good marriage all of these years but I suspect that in actuality, there are a great many things of which you may not be aware in terms of your relationship with your wife and her’s with you. These are things you will have to work on in psychotherapy but these are also the reasons why I believe you would benefit more from marriage therapy than individual treatment, at least in your case.
I very much doubt that your wife has discovered that she is a lesbian. Rather, I strongly suspect that her recent thoughts and fantasies have more to do with her anger at you than anything else. Perhaps that anger has to do with the ways in which you have caused her hurt without knowing it.
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The two most common problems that plague a marriage are sex and money and they are each difficult for people to discuss in therapy and even within the boundaries of the marriage. Again, I have no way of knowing which is the major issue between the two of you but I suspect that it has a lot to do with sex because that is what your wife is discussing. Her mistake, and I believe she will come to see it, is think she has lesbian wishes. No, I really suspect that there are sexual and other issues between the two of you that are not being addressed.
I want very much to encourage the two of you to see a marriage or family therapist who has an excellent reputation and an excellent track record. Of course, you will have to enquire in your community about who is available. I will say that it should be someone who is fully licensed as a clinical psychologist or licensed clinical social worker with credentials that represent advanced training in marriage and family therapy. It is in marriage therapy that the two of you will have the opportunity to learn about one another in ways that I strongly suspect have not yet happened.
Best of luck