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marriage in trouble, advice sought
December 12, 2000
2:22 pm
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any input would be appreciated
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Hi. I have been married for 8 plus years. My wife and I are experiencing difficulties mostly centered on the fact that I attempt to control her. It's mostly subtle on my part rather than overt. Guilt is my most commonly chosen weapon. As you might imagine, she has endured this for our entire marriage as well as the two years prior when we were dating/engaged. She has finally had enough and has emotionally locked me out of the marriage. I believe the only reason that she hasn't taken it farther is the fact that she has gone through a divorce before and understands the implications; especially as it pertains to our children. We have two, one from her previous marriage and one that we have together. She has told me that she needs to find her true self again and she believes that I need to do the same. Without that, we cannot be a couple. One this point, I agree with her wholeheartedly and have since started counseling to help me correct this destructive behavior. The problem is that she has so much anger built up against me that I feel that I will never be able to undue all the damage. I am making concerted efforts to resolve this problem, but she is slow to recognize them and if I make a mistake and revert to a hurtful behavior, no matter how small, she makes me feel that all forward progress is lost. This, of course, is very disheartening. Additionally, her path to self-rediscovery has taken a different course that I find hard to accept. She has begun chatting on-line as a way to revitalize herself. In the process, I have discovered that she has taken on an assumed identity and regularly represents herself as if she were our teenage daughter. In this new identity, she is chatting with other teenagers and college students and developing relationships that trouble me. She is, by nature, a very outgoing and at time flirtatious individual and I have strong suspicions that she is fulfilling her personality needs by way of these on-line relationships. Part of me realizes that this is essentially harmless since any face-to-face meeting would be impossible. The person she’s fabricated doesn’t exist. I also understand that it’s better that she uses this forum rather than some other more personal one. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I also have a moral conflict that make’s me believe that you can be unfaithful in a relationship without physically committing the act of having sex with someone else. I realize this last point may seem old-fashioned, but nevertheless, it’s how I feel. My final thought on this entire subject is that in some way I am being punished. She has endured my behavior for 10 years and I therefore must expect some retribution. This, and my daughters, are the only things that have prevented me from filing for divorce. I would greatly appreciate all comments/observations/suggestions no matter how forthright or brutal they may be. Thank you for involving yourself!

December 12, 2000
2:41 pm
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Anonymous
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You do sound somewhat controlling and it is interesting that it takes ten years and emotional distancing on the part of your wife to decide to change this destructive behavior towards your wife, even if it is covert. Covert abuse is some of the worse, it slowly chips away at the self esteem of your wife and is quite frankly terrible passive aggressive behavior on your part which is a form of total dishonesty towards your wife as well as extreme disrespect.
Unfortunately she has not given you much praise or encouragment with the small changes that you have managed to accomplish but you have to understand that YOU have damaged the relationship with your continued control and passive aggressive behavior. YOu need to take responsibility for this and her lack of trust in your and perhaps loss of love.
If she is posing as a teen on the net this is pretty immature and rather unethical, but she sounds confused to some extent, atleast that is the picture you paint. YOu both obviously need counseling to deal with your own personal stuff so taht you are able to have a mature, loving relationship with another, hopefully with each other.
You are setting poor examples for your children by behaving otherwise, your kids dont hear what you preach just what you teach........by example.
Show respect for your wife and yourself and take your focus off of healing in order to win her back ( very controlling ) but heal in order to win yourself back, this will give her the room to do the same.
There is a much better chance of you guys staying together if you are sincere in your recovery efforts and it is not just another covert move..
Blessings

December 12, 2000
3:14 pm
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any input would be appreciated
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skye:)
Thank you for your honest and eye-opening appraisal. I hadn't considered some of the angles that you presented. Appreciate it!

December 13, 2000
1:41 pm
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Cici
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Yes, you might want to invite her to some of the sessionswith your therapist. Having someone there to help you learn how to communicate your true feelings effectively is sometimes a necessary step in revitalizing a fading relationship.

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