Relationship Rescue Retreat: Getting to the Truth: Vinnie and Donna

Relationship Rescue Retreat: Getting to the Truth: Vinnie and Donna
Dr. Phil continues his intense workshop with six couples on the verge of divorce.

Dr. Phil separates the husbands from the wives and forms two groups. He tells them to take turns answering three questions. "The first question is, 'What is working in my marriage?' Go."


Vinnie stands before his group and shares, "What is working well in our marriage: We're living well. We have a nice home, a baby of course. I think we're doing a good job raising her. We still care enough that we're hanging on and trying to get help."


In her own group, Donna answers, "What is working well in my marriage is our 1-year-old daughter. We've been really trying hard to stay together. My husband's work ethic is really good. We have a great house and a great neighborhood. We really love each other and we're trying to keep everything together."


Dr. Phil stops them and instructs them to answer what isn't working in their marriages.


"What's not working in my marriage: There's not enough respect," says Vinnie. "The way we talk to each other and try to put each other down. Trust. I had an affair. It was only for a month, but it was wrong. I know she doesn't trust me and I can't blame her."

Donna gets emotional: "What's not working in our marriage is he cheated on me. And left me at home with a brand new baby. And went out with a 22-year-old girl. And I'm not getting over it, and I'm not forgiving it."


"Next," Dr. Phil instructs, "'What I intend to confront myself with about my marriage while I am here.' Go."


"I want to confront myself about the disrespect," says Vinnie. "I'm not perfect, I've made mistakes. I can blame her for the yelling, but sometimes I provoke it. I want to make changes. Build the trust back in the relationship."


In her group, Donna says, "I intend to confront myself about my yelling, my cursing, screaming. I have to confront myself as to why he cheated. He's telling me it's my fault. I have to find out why he feels it's my fault and how I'm going to make changes to fix the problems, because if I don't, they're not going to go away."

Dr. Phil confronts Donna: "Why have you chosen to be as miserable as you are right now? You say it's because he had an affair ... you were miserable before he had the affair!"


Dr. Phil points out that Vinnie, a police officer, met Donna when she had a domestic violence complaint. "And you wanted to buy a ticket on that train? Who was thinking for you that day?" he asks Vinnie. "Here she was, having a slug fest with that guy, scratched his face, fighting and yelling over money, and you say, 'Give me some of this'?"


Dr. Phil says to Donna, "You're the only person I know who's had two restraining orders in relationships in the past."


Donna thinks that Vinnie had another affair, besides the one with the 22-year-old. Vinnie denies it. Dr. Phil asks him about the one he admits to.


"I felt disrespected and spoken down to for a long time," says Vinnie. "I was told to leave several times. She threatened to leave several times; this time I did. I met someone " again, I'm not justifying it, I know it's wrong, and if I could take it back, I would."

Dr. Phil points out that although Vinnie feels disrespected, he calls his wife names such as "vagina" and "big nutty."


"Do you think that she feels disrespected because you went out and had an affair? Do you think she feels disrespected because you look at porn?"


Vinnie agrees, saying he's cut back on looking at porn.


Dr. Phil brings up an incident that happened while they were in premarital counseling: "Am I to understand that it got so bad that at one point the therapist called the police during a session? I've been doing this 30 years. And I don't think I've ever had to call the cops on a couple during therapy. That's a new one." He is baffled: "It got so bad during premarital therapy that you had to call the cops, and you met her in a domestic violence complaint, and you still got married?"


Donna says Vinnie is a bully " with her, his son, his ex-wife and others. She admits that she throws it in Vinnie's face that his first wife left him, just to hurt him.


"Is the idea here revenge? To get even?" Dr. Phil asks them. "It's not to heal the relationship, it's to get even with each other?"


"I think so," agrees Donna.

Vinnie recently caught Donna signing up on a Web site with a picture of herself in a bikini. When she denies that she was looking to meet someone, Dr. Phil challenges, "You chat better with a bikini? I don't get that."


Donna reiterates that she would never meet someone she didn't know, but Dr. Phil disagrees. "He shut this whole thing down before you went out and met somebody ... So it wasn't that you didn't meet somebody, you just didn't get to it yet."


Dr. Phil asks Donna if she knows what her chances are of having a successful marriage with someone new. "Do you know what the divorce rate is for third marriages? 83.6 percent."


"What is it for second?" Donna asks.


"The divorce rate for second marriages is 61 percent," Dr. Phil tells her. "But you're special. You take it to a whole 'nother level, so you could probably bust all the records."