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Impending Problems with marriage.. Codependency?
April 2, 2007
2:58 pm
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DJames
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I'm hoping to seek a little bit of Advice and help with my situation. Here's Some Background.

I've been married for eleven years now, and have 3 children. For a majority of those eleven years, it has been My wife and I "Against the world". Her parents have lived half the country away, and I only have my father left. We are both fairly young still.. being 35 this year.

My Whole life has been about my wife and kids. I am out of the house almost 14 hours a day with work and commuting. When I come home, all I want to do is hang out with my wife. My Wife works from home, so is home all day, most of it with the kids.

The schism that has been created is that when I get home from being out all day, all I want to do is relax. When I get home, she's been home all day and all she wants to do is get out of the house. I can understand that and we both have done our best to give and take a little bit.

However, lately she feels that she needs to have "Friends" to talk to. I can understand that, and although I have no real friends outside of family, and coworkers (Which dont extend beyond work hours) I can understand her need to find someone to talk to. However, all of her friends are males. Granted that, since they are from the "online community" most of them are half the country apart, it doesn't keep me from feeling hurt that she is talking to other guys.

I am trying to cope with personal feelings of Jealousy, and insecurity. We have talked about this on a few occasions, and all she seems to do is get upset with me and tell me I never let her have any friends.

Am I wrong to be jealous that she has male friends? I don't think I would be as upset if they were female, but I guess it shouldn't matter either way, should it?

I have felt for years that we have one of the strongest marriages that I knew. But lately, I feel like things are crumbling apart, and I can't shale the feelings.

I feel like my insecurity and jealousy are going to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy and destroying my marriage.

At the same time I don't want to be controlling.

Any advice would be greatly helpful.

Thank you.

April 2, 2007
3:07 pm
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DJames
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Also,

One of these online relationships has turned a step closer to "Real" in that he now has my home number, so they can talk.

She swears up and down that she would never do anything to jeopardize our relationship, and that they are merely good firends that she can talk to.

April 2, 2007
7:10 pm
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bonni
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DJames,
In general, I think women have a stronger need for a social network than men do. If you were my husband, I would want you to be open with me about your feelings and try to discuss ways to work together to expand our social network in a way that works for both of us. I couldn't work at home because I need to be around people.

If you can do it, express interest in this guy without being jealous. Make it so its a friendship with him and the two of you as a couple. GRADUALLY. Maybe he's gay and not interested in your wife that way. Maybe he is interested in your wife that way. If you can be present and unthreatened, he may be scared away.

hope this helps. feel free to disregard anything that you don't like. I'm just giving my perspective as a wife who does have alot of male friends, only one of whom is a mild threat to my marriage. The real threat to my marriage is the war and the military's expectations of us, but that's another issue altogether.

bonni

April 2, 2007
7:45 pm
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DJames
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I appreciate your input Bonni.

I have a little bit of a relationship with him as well. But it feels like more of a situation where he's always interested in me because he's friends with my wife... So even that makes me nervous. I don't know if it makes it a lot harder knowing that he is also single. In the past we have had a couple of instances in our relationship where she has developed a male friend that has actively tried to attack our marriage, and me in general, by exploiting their "Friendship" with her, and poiting out overt flaws in me. I think maybe deep down I'm expecting it to happen again...

I have discussed openly my feelings about this, but her response is that I never let her have friends, and I'm trying to take away a her sense of "me". It still kind of hurts knowing that I have said "This is a problem", and my feelings seem to have been trampled in favor of hers. I, myself, have NO female friends, as I am aware of the feelings it would cause in her, and therefore, wouldn't put her, or me, in that situation. The fact that I get hurt that the feelings aren't reciprocated is probably reason enough to seek counciling.

I guess in a society where hunting women seems to have become a sport, the (seemingly) few remaining "Honest, Good guys" out there get thrown under the bus by guys who have had a lot more experience with "Catch and Release".

I guess the whole reason for my post is:

Is this much ado about nothing? Or, at what point do I need to consider counciling either on my own? And Is there any reason at all for me to get her involved in an issue that may be a beast created by myself?

Thanks Bonni!

April 2, 2007
8:00 pm
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taj64
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I'd be concerned in this case. I do wonder here. If you have gut feelings about this, then I think there is something wrong, especially since you do express them and get ignored. I smell a rat, especially since he is single. Very few men can be real honest to true friends, I believe this. If given a chance a line will be crossed. Men will take as long as a woman continues. If a woman is not happy in a relationship, she seeks attention elsewhere. Men do the same. I could be wrong but I don't think so. She can find friends, real friend, neighbors, lady friends. I would be VERY careful and I certianly would be concerned. YOu have every right.

April 2, 2007
8:03 pm
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taj64
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And if this is hurtful to you, and she knows this, then she is being very disrespectful to you and your feelings. Many affairs do start out innocently and then realize little too late. Be very careful.

April 2, 2007
8:11 pm
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DJames
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I appreciate the response, Taj.

The question is, how to proceed. After having the conversation with her last time, she did say she would end her relationship with him, but tearfully, and with the added response that I don't let her have any friends. That I get lie that whenever she develops a male friend. IS it me, and my distrust for Guys? Am I too insecure? Am I making mountains out of mole hills? I am man enough to admit that I may be at fault here, and would do whatever I can to help my marriage survive, without Stifling her in the process.

The two biggest concerns at this point are A) What is the next step? and B) How do I continue with my marriage as it sits, when all I can do is think about the situation, and have a hard time feeling intimate while I'm brooding over it?

Thank you for chiming in.. I appreciate everyone's input.

April 2, 2007
9:12 pm
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taj64
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Im really no expert. My suggestion is for counseling. Some simple communications skills between the two of you seems to be the logical thing that comes to mind. I don't tihnk it is a matter of not letting her have any friends but which friends she is choosing. Male single friend over the internet don't make true friends. And the fact that she seems not open to spending time with you when you get home. A partner should look forward to the person they love at the end of the day no matter where they spend during the day. I tihnk you should be validated for your feelings here that is hurt you for her to talk to other guys. I mean what does she need to talk to available single men for anyway since she is married to a guy willing to communicate? I think communication is the most key ingredient. Tell her your feelings, that you want it to work, and compromise with each other how to make it work. I see a problem here that needs not overlooked. No there is no mountain out of molehill I don't think. You're afraid and I tihnk just letting her know and talk it out. See if she will go to therapy. Maybe she needs to have an outside activity during the day so she is not stuck in the home. And she needs to feel more appreciated. I don't know much, so maybe a guy could step in and help with this advice on this. Maybe help her out more at home.

April 2, 2007
10:19 pm
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bonni
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DJames,
I agree that counseling is a good idea for either just you or both, if she is willing.

I know that if my husband tried to force me to give up a dear friend, I wouldn't do it. That would be more likely to drive me away than pull me close. I think Taj and I will have to disagree on this one. I can only tell you how I would respond to an ultimatum. I wouldn't toss a dear friend. But, that's me and after the whole Iraq thing, my husband has clearly demonstrated that when it comes down to it, he just isn't going to be here.

On the other hand, I might be willing to spend time doing other things, such that I had less time available to nurture the friendship. I think that the friendship would become less of an issue if you two talked more about the underlying needs that the friendship meets and how to meet them in other ways so that perhaps the friendship becomes less important. If she needs to socialize outside the house, maybe you could do that one night a week, couple dance lessons, bowling, church, I don't know.

Most people respond better to carrots than sticks.

bonni

April 3, 2007
8:56 am
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taj64
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Bonni, I remember you. You are the one that had strong feelings for your male friend that is always there for you but you were not sure you loved your husband. Im not sure what this is about but I certainly did not suggest an ultimatum or for her to give or force a person to give up a friend. I really would not consider male friend you meet over the internet while you are married is truly a dear friend either. That spells trouble as why would you be actively seeking friends that you could meet around you such as church, or neighborhood, etc. It is not worth trashing your marriage over especially if it been strong one for many years. I think your feelings are validated. I think it is important to realize the kind of friends she is seeking and you have every right to feel insecure. I don't know but I see your wife manipulating you into thinking this is your fault and saying you don't let her have any friends is immature. I doubt this is the case that you don't let her have friends. Friends that cause trouble in a marriage and implant doubt are not dear friends. The marriage and your partner come first, at least in my book and also being respectful of feelings. Personally i think she is disrespecting you.

April 5, 2007
9:12 am
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StronginHim77
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I do not ever recommend "opposite sex" friendships when married. Although adultery frequently results from such "friendships," an equally deep issue is that you both took a vow to "forsake all others." NO friendship (or even family relationship) should ever supercede the marital bond. EVER.

So, I believe your wife should eliminate these friendships with men...ASAP. They pose a genuine threat to the intimacy and solidity of your marriage and violate your marital vows.

- Ma Strong

April 5, 2007
6:20 pm
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bonni
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I'd rather not be married than give up any of my dearest friends or my family. Actually, I'd just as soon not be married at all, but I am. We have chosen to stay together.

DH has no one else to take care of him, so I have to do it. He can't take care of me. I won't live the rest of my life without any of my needs being met. When it comes down to it, my parents have always been there for me and because my husband won't be, I NEED them. They will die and I do NEED help. I need companionship and a shoulder to cry on. There's only one person in the world I trust for that support. Without him, I don't know how I'll survive. It is the fact that we don't have a sexual relationship that makes it possible for me to trust my friend.

Its ridiculous to rely on my husband and continue to be disappointed. In many ways, I'm a widow whose husband still lives. He does the best he can, but the wounds he inflicted are deep and painful and I doubt that I will ever trust him again. Probably not any man. I may have a close friendship with another man, but never close enough for an affair.

Taj, I don't know. A woman who seeks friendships outside the marriage is damn lonely. She has needs that are not being met. Whose fault is that? Both partners? If the husband can't be bothered to provide companionship and conversation or share interests, should we just lay down and die? When I was in that situation, I relied on friends I had known more than a decade, true friends who knew me and really were there for me, not just to get something for themselves.

You are right that she really doesn't know this guy well. I don't think it means that she should just live her life without her needs being met. I think DJames needs to work with her to find ways to help her get her needs met in a way that works for both of them.

Bonni

April 5, 2007
8:07 pm
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taj64
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Bonni, I always sense your pain. Why do you stay with this man time after time out of just duty? It is not for me to understand. I don't. I think you need and deserve to be happy. I don't ever sense you are happy especially with your man. How will you ever find the guy to share and laugh and all that if you make promises to this man to stay with him if you truly do not love him completley. I don't need an answer. But it is what I am thinking.

April 6, 2007
7:04 am
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bonni
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Taj,
I love my children and the current situation is in their best interest. I did promise to care for my husband and his inability to keep his promise doesn't negate my responsibility to keep mine. I won't have an affair, but I won't deny myself the intellectual and emotional benefits of friendship external to the marriage. Women friends tend to focus on domestic issues and childrearing. I get sick of that crap. Male friends talk much more about work and other things I'm more interested in.

Bonni

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