My husband and I have been together for 17 years with 3 kids. Three years ago we moved abroad and he joined an all-male entrepreneurs group. This turned out to be like a therapy group for business and life. The members go on retreats and vacations and have private WhatsApp feeds. Everything is bound by a code of total secrecy, including what he discusses about our relationship. I know nothing about what he and the other members discuss, although he has confessed from time to time that he has brought up some of our own fights. The other members of his group know a lot about me and my personal life, which gets awkward when they greet me like they know me and yet I know nothing about them at all. Sometimes I think thoughts about this group that lead to feelings of betrayal and hurt. For example, two of the men in the group have left their wives over the last 3 years. My husband knew about this before the wives did, so I am told. I think the thought, “His friends will know about important events in my life before I do.” Now my husband says that when we move to our new city, he will be joining a co-ed group with both men and women. This feels like even more of a boundary violation to me. I know that I cannot control him; not what he says or who he chooses to spend his time with. I don’t know how to set a healthy boundary though. I have asked him many times, sometimes tearfully, please not to discuss our personal relationship in his forum. I have noted to him that he cares about protecting the privacy of his group than protecting my privacy. He says we have different principles from each other and that he does not share my values so does not need to respect or follow them. He says because we are married, my life is his life and it is his right to talk about it. The situation goes against my own manual for myself. I would never consider talking about my husband and our private relationship to other men, although I have sometimes confided in my close girlfriends or my mother. Talking to other men about our private business strikes me as a level of infidelity to him. I also have the thought that if my guy respected and valued me and our relationship, and felt he could communicate with me, he would not need to air our dirty laundry with this group. I have been running models on this for a full year. Sometimes I feel rage, other times grief, and also failure. All the time, I love him and that hurts worse. Here is the model I ran about this today.
C: Husband says he does not share my principles.
T: It’s too big of a divide to overcome; he will betray me.
F: Heartbroken, powerless.
A: Try to explain my feelings to him, consider leaving.
R: The divide between us grows.
Maybe I am betraying myself (or our relationship) with my own thoughts. Thank you very much for your help or insight.