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Help me please!!!!!!
December 31, 2000
12:39 pm
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ranmar1
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After 14 years of marriage, my wife says she doesn't feel "connected" anymore, and doesn't know if she can get it back. She has to socialize with her girlfriends in order to fulfill her needs. We have two daughters, 13 and 10. I love my wife, and am stuggling to keep us together.She says she needs "fireworks and excitement", which she feels I don't give her. Obviously there is a lot more, but this is a condensed version of our problem. She is willing to attend counseling with me. Any immediate help....?

December 31, 2000
1:19 pm
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Molly
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get Phil McGraw's Relational Rescue, I liked it, and it is a new approach.

December 31, 2000
1:51 pm
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janes
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If she is willing...get the appointment as soon as possible. That third party may help.

Good luck

December 31, 2000
2:02 pm
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BESL
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i think she may need to be wine and dined a bit. we women need that in our life once in a while. we need to know we still have it, just like guys do i believe. buy her a rose, a card, go visit and talk to whom ever she may choose. try not to beat yourself up. hang in there.

December 31, 2000
2:11 pm
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Brenda
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Phil MacGraws theory of taking responsbility for your relationships and looking at YOU to understand and recreate the relationships that you want in your life, is the BEST way to bring about your own happiness and fulfillment. Buy it today, its on sale!
I hope the New YEer brings you a healed and happy marriage.

December 31, 2000
2:27 pm
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ranmar1
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God Bless all of you for your replies. I am going to get the book, read it, study it, go to counseling as a couple, and start to "wine and dine" my beautiful wife. I love her too much to let everything slip away.

December 31, 2000
3:23 pm
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janes
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Hurrah!!!!

I agree with the wined and dined.

You can even do it at home WIH the girls..fancy dinner ala dad..candles, etc. Treat ALL your ladies as such!!

Start with mom tho'!!!

Good Luck

How about flowers?

For "No" reason... an evening at home with no girls...a motel (fancy)

I would love a cleaning lady..only ONCE!!!!

Have FUN!!!

December 31, 2000
7:58 pm
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Brenda
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Great Ranmar, you can do it!!!!!!
Happy New YEar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 3, 2001
6:23 pm
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ranmar1
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Well, here is the update. We have agreed to go to counseling, and I have made the call for an appt. I have bought Dr.Phil's book, and am halfway through it. I have never read anything so right on in my life. It is as though Dr.Phil was writing my life story. Unbelievable. My wife and I have had numerous talks lately. It turns out, she bought and read the book in June, but never told me. She says her inclinations are to seperate for now and see where her feelings are. However, she is willing to go through counseling first to see if this is indeed what will make her happy. I have poured my soul out to her this last week, apologizing for things I never realized, crying to her, which I never have done, and repeating my admiration, love and passion for her. I pray to God we come to terms for a happy and peaceful resolve to make this marriage last, and not seperate.

January 3, 2001
6:29 pm
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ranmar1
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Having never done so, and contrary to Dr. Phil's belief, is counseling effective? Do you go in with a stated goal (mine) of wanting to re-establish our marriage? My wife says don't make any long term plans because we don't know where this is going. I'm suffocating inside. I am just going through the motions of every day life right now. Luckily, my two beautiful daughters haven't suspected anything. Any advice on what I can expect from counseling?

January 4, 2001
12:59 pm
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Cici
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A good therapist will try to establish a goal to reach, help you evaluate your present situation and (hopefully) help you find your way on the path that you want to follow.

The thing you have to realize is that the problems are not always obvious. Saying "I don't feel connected anymore" is abstract, to the point ofbeing pointless. If I were the counselor I wouldn't accept that explanation. there are probably several underlying factors to your wife's uneasiness, from her relationship with her father to past intimate relationships.

Let me give you an example. My fiance and I were having a lot of problems. We still are, to be honest, but I've identified the problem and am working on it. I get irritated very easily when he is unassertive. And our definitions of "unassertive" can often differ by leaps and bounds. I realized, though, after talking witha therapist and doing my own research (I'm in psychology, anyway) I realized that my irritation and angry outbursts had nothing to do with my fiance at all. His behavior triggered the outbursts, but my outbursts were caused by latent anger at my father for not intervening when my mom was abusive. The thing is that most people wouldn't even have dug that deep to find the answer - many just separate/divorce in order to avoid the pain of dredging up old and painful memories.

Therapy, when done correctly, is a painful process. You almost relive the traumas you have experienced throughout your life. Many people approach relationships thinking that they have a clean slate. But in reality, you bring along all the baggage from your past. Her reaction to you may be completely unrelated to you yourself, but she may put the blame on you in order to save herself emotional pain. Everyone does this.

Good luck with therapy. You seem to be honestly upset by this turn of events, which leads me to think you're not a self-centered person and you truely want to solve the problems. But if your wife isn't being open about her feelings (which she wasn't when she reaed that book and failed to discuss it with you), and that could be a real impediment to working through difficulties.

January 4, 2001
5:47 pm
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Molly
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Are you sure that there is not some one else? Sorry but with the effort that I hear, it makes you want to go hummmmm. So like why didn't she share the book information with you in June????????
With respect to counseling, and the one issue she wants fireworks? Get real, there are not frequent fireworks in a committed relationship. I would definately have specific issues outlined, I also would like to make a law that all couples that go to marriage counseling get a physical too. Menopause, both men and women, mid life crisis, blood pressure, all are important factors. Any major changes in the family new jobs, locations, any idea what and when triggered this, are the friends single or married? All factors that could add up to a fantasy away from house work and boredom.
Is she financially independent? Does she think she can just get you out of the house and party on with the kids, fireworks and all? Is she thinking of just leaving you with the kids, and making a new life? The financial end of things is a real shocker. Discuss the reality of the financial hardship, that your broken heart will NOT over look as this is war, as I discovered in my divorce. No more credit cards, no more car payment, no more family, social recognition, or mutual friends. Most women who state they want out don't have a clue of the reality of their choice. Get some books on divorce and children, the long term consequences of divorce are far beyond the comprehension.
Do you go to church, drag her into the pastor or priest, of course all of this will need to be done in a careful manor, but I doubt she is reality based right now. Make sure that she is not working the kids, to co -sign her agenda, and good luck. Don't forget most of all to be strong, this is war for your family.

January 4, 2001
7:19 pm
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ranmar1
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Molly and Cici,
Thank you soooo much for your responses. Cici, upon reading Dr. Phil's book (halfway through, doing my wife's profile with her family) it is unbelievable that you hit on an issue I often wondered about. She has no relationship with her father (courteous and superficial. He had an affair years ago. Her mother and father just tolerate each other, no emotional bond at all. I've made initial contact with a therapist, which we are meeting with tomorrow. My initial introduction over the phone was that I stated that I love my wife, am still "in love" with her, and am completely devestated by what is going on. I am living in a cloud right now. We are civil to each other, I hold her hand, hug and kiss her when I can. I feel like she "allows me to". I am so scared, and anxious to go tomorrow, to start the (hopefully)healing and recovery process.
Molly, I can only accept what she tells me, that there is nobody else. I trust her and have full faith in her. I haven't discussed the ramifications of separation/ divorce yet, because I can't believe we would get there. I love her too much to believe we would get there.

Thank you. I will keep you updated.

January 4, 2001
9:08 pm
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gingerleigh
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Good luck Ranmar! I really really hope that things go well.

January 4, 2001
9:16 pm
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ranmar1
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Thank you Gingerleigh. I appreciate the support that everyone on this site has given me. It has been a great outlet for me. I will keep everyone posted, as it is beneficial for me to put it out there.

January 5, 2001
12:10 am
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Brenda
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rANMAR, if you have read half of dr phils book, you should know that your goal should not be "the marriage" but your own personal goal of self improvement and self love. If this brings your mate back to you then so be it, but your goals should be focused on improving self, life in general and personal goals. The marriage is the final reward or product of all this personal work, and it is hard work.
God bless

January 5, 2001
11:39 am
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ranmar1
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Brenda,
Thank you, you are right. How can this be a happy marriage if I am not happy with myself. I guess it is time to become a little "selfish" and find out what my true faults, goals and needs are. We start our first therapy session today with an initial interview. Updates will follow as we go along, thank you.

January 5, 2001
12:43 pm
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Cici
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I agree with Brenda...

It's hard on both people in the relationship if one of them has unaddressed issues. This can lead to the other partner developing psychological problems from low self-esteem, and the stress of being with an avoidant personality.

I would definately be concerned if you wife doesn't bring up her parents or her relationship with her father during counseling. It's amazing to me how few people think that their parent's relationship can effect their own relationship.

January 5, 2001
3:31 pm
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ranmar1
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Cici,
I bet she could spend a week going over her lack of relationship with her father. There is no respect for him being a father figure, and he has a total negative outlook on everything. The more I look at him and my mother in law, and there relationship, the more I see my wife striving to protect herself from becoming like them.

January 5, 2001
11:12 pm
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ranmar1
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Today we attended our first session. It was more of an introduction. The therapist asked what our goal was and what brought us to him today. We both stated what brought us to him. My wife stated she felt that she was leaning toward separation because she gets more emotional fulfillment and stimulation from her girlfriends (in a nutshell, and her words exactly).My reason was to put us back together and take us to the next level. He asked about our relationships with our fathers and mothers so the facts came out about her dad having an affair and my wife telling her mom that she is weak and should move on. My wife moved on before with her first marriage, from high school until two years later. She seems to find it easy to say, almost to a stoic point. I asked her after the session how she can present herself that way in a certain manner, and she says she's had a year to think about and get to this point. More to come.

January 5, 2001
11:37 pm
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ranmar1
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The therapist wants us to spend some time by ourselves, without the kids, doing things without dwelling on our situation, until our next appt., next Friday. I brought out in conversation this evening if she realizes the ramifications of separation, financial, the kids, family, my personal devestation, both our lifetyle changes as a result of it. She says she feels the kids are resillient and will come through it fine. She says she has been back before and could do it again if we had to split finances. She says her girlfriends mentioned that all my goals over time, being goal orientated, financial goals, work goals, etc., never included her. I responded by asking why she thinks I work as hard as I do, to provide for all of us, the kids, her, etc..Do I have to mention her name in my goals to achieve in order to provide the better things in life?

January 6, 2001
12:55 pm
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gingerleigh
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That was great progress, her telling you that she feels that your goals never included her. I know it's confusing for you to hear her say that you consider finances to be more important than her (whereas what this means to you is that you are working so hard to meet the ultimate goal of making your life with her happy.)

A woman's perspective... when men say "All the hard work I do is for you!" it sounds like a huge cop-out, an excuse. It sounds like your advancement in career is perceived by her as something you are doing just for yourself. Perhaps she sees it as something you do to distinguish yourself from her and the family. (I'm not saying this is what is happening, or this is what she believes... just a possibility.)

Despite what you see on TV and hear on the radio, I believe that most women would be happiest with a man with a modest income but who does the little things (i.e. wining and dining!) than with a man who slaves over work to bring home the 6 figure salary and then has nothing left to give once the workday is over, whenever that is. A sundae at the local diner with someone who truly looks at you and notices you, is infinitely more romantic than dinner at the Four Seasons with someone who is preoccupied and cold.

Has anything happened recently, that might make your wife turn off her emotions? Did you recently move, switch jobs, start working longer hours?

You mention the emotional fulfilment with her friends... has she had many friends during your marriage, or is this a recent development? Just like men need to have a "boy's night out" women need female companionship as well. If this was something that she hadn't had much of, and suddenly she has made some new friends, she might be having difficulty adjusting to being more than just a wife and mother.

Anyway, all my random musings aside, it sounds like you two are really starting to talk and get things into the open. Don't be discouraged by your wife's stoicism. She had to learn to cope with this over many years, you can't expect one hour with a therapist to necessarily get her to open the emotional floodgates. If it is meant to happen, it will happen when the time is right, when *both* of you are ready.

January 6, 2001
1:57 pm
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ranmar1
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Gingerleigh,
Thank you for your insight. You can't believe how helpful it is to sit here and get the kind of feedback I'm getting. She has known these girlfriends for years so it's not new. She has always socialized with them, but the frequency has gotten more so. During our first session she admitted that she knows she has pulled away from me and been with her friends more because that is where her fulfillment is. She doesn't realize what it has done, not only to me, but to our daughters. Yesterday was a classic example. The kids are still on vacation, and I am taking the time off too. Yesterday, she left the house at 8;30 to get fitted for custom golf clubs, my xmas present to her. She said it would probably take an hour. Without calling, she showed up back at the house at 11;30, in time to make our 1;00pm counseling appt. Later that evening, 8:00pm, she wanted to go up and do some shopping for a neices birthday present and some general shopping. At 9:30 my youngest daughter called her cell phone to see where she was, and it went directly to voice mail. At 10:15 my daughter called again telling her goodnight on the voice mail. My oldest daughter asked where mom was at this hour, and I candidly told her she had to do some shopping. She responded that mom is probably out flirting or something, whereas I confronted my daughter and told her that was not right to say. When my wife called at 10:30, she said her cell battery died and she was on her way home. When she got home, she went in to kiss the girls, and came into the room telling me the phone died. I asked why she didn't use a pay phone and she said the time got away from her and she just needed some time alone, while having dinner out by herself. Now I know you think she is seeing someone, but I still trust and believe she is not. I think she just doesn't realize what her actions are doing not only to me, but to everyone else. We walked by ourselves this morning, and she still doesn't understand why I and the kids were concerned. I told her that is part of our problem, that she doesn't understand. I know I must let go of my concern for her problems and start dealing with myself. It is just hard to break a pattern that has been going on for a couple of years. I will keep you updated.

January 8, 2001
12:35 pm
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ranmar1
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This morning, we went out for coffee and talked. I told her that part of my problem is that we never argued. We never discussed each others needs. I told her this morning I needed my daughters, I needed her, and I needed my marriage to stay intact. She said she knows I will always have my daughters (not the way I want it though, staying together as a family). She said she needs to find out if this is it, if this is what love is suppose to be, and if she can "find herself". She said she knows she can give me of herself not married, but she doesn't know if marriage is right for her anymore. She says she knows there are a lot of couples that are less happy than we are, that just tolerate and put up with each other. She also says all married couples hit a point like we are at, and it's just a matter of what they do about it. I told her I can't comprehend us not being together as a family, and that I know these are things I must deal with for myself, as she must do for herself.

January 8, 2001
4:38 pm
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gingerleigh
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Wow Ranmar, I have to admit that part of the reason I am following your thread so closely is that I identify very very mcuh with what you are going through. The cell phone story made me feel like my stomach had dropped forty stories. I have been getting the EXACT same treatment from my husband. Same excuse... "cell phone died". I also saw, when he changed to a new cell phone that had a better battery life, that it took him several weeks to program in my number (and he still doesn't have the home number programmed in!).

Like you, I truly believe that he isn't seeing someone else. In the same way, I think you are probably not out of line to believe that she is also out alone.

Know this: their complete withdrawl is NOT OUR FAULT. Both of them have issues that they need to address, issues with themselves, and the fact that it doesn't seem to affect or bother them that they are damaging everyone around them just reinforces that belief in me.

All that you and I can do is choose to not be responsible for their behavior, and take responsibility for ourselves. (Ya, how many times have we heard that? Kind of makes you want to smash your coffee cup into your forehead, doesn't it?) I'm so sorry that you have to make excuses to your children, but you need to stay strong for them.

While I'm rattling off advice that I am not qualified to give (and feel free to come back and tell me I'm full of crap), may I offer that, from experience, telling your wife that she is hurting the kids will not help at all. I've found it just makes the spouse even more defensive and that much more resistant to change. When you tell her that she is hurting you, she feels like you are nagging her. But when you tell her that she is hurting the children, she'll feel like you are attacking her as a mother. I think people in general are much more likely to brush off being called a bad spouse rather than being called a bad parent. That tends to elicit a more feral response.

*sigh* sometimes it just seems overwhelming, doesn't it? This WILL get better, one way or another. Take joy in your daughters, be honest with them as much as you can, but let them form their own opinions of Mom. If Mom can't be there for them, they'll see quickly that they can count on you.

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