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Thursday, 22 March 2001

I Want to Stay Married So Bad!

Written by  Dr. Louise Klein

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QDear WholeFamily,

I have recently been told by wife of just under two years that she doesn't want anything to do with me. I should have seen it coming. I never thought it was ever going to come. She told me she wanted out and wanted to end the marriage. Right before Christmas I sensed our marriage going down in flames. I was right. She would go out and not come home until the morning while I was watching our son (my stepson). This continued just up until two days ago. I asked her to stay home with me on several occasions and to no avail. She refused and went on to do her own thing. Even on New Years' Eve I again asked her to stay home with me and said she had sort of made plans.

Let me back up, two days before Christmas I took some time off so we could be together. She refused and said she was going with her sister. And even said we can talk later. I began to get suspicious and went through her things and found nothing relevant. I waited up for her and she was caught in a lie. She has never come out and said she is having an affair, but I caught her in a lie on New Years' Eve. She didn't come home until after 8:00p.m. on New Years' Day! Although she didn't know it I called around looking for her with the people she said she was going with. They all had no idea where was. She comes strolling in and is pissed off at me for calling all her friends. I was worried and concerned for the both of us.

Our arguments have gotten physical in the past. But not while we were married, until recently. After the second or third time she refused to come home. We got in and it turned out to be pretty bad. I was drinking and destroyed some furniture and a small TV. I suppose this is a big part of the problem.

The fact of the matter is I drove her from me by being callous to her feelings and being selfish. I told her I was sorry and she said okay but continued. I have no idea what else to do. I have begged for forgiveness. I told her that whatever happened with her on New Years' Eve could and would be forgotten. But she won't have it.

I have become obsessed she says. I don't know if I will call it obsessed as she does. I never expected her to be out all night. Know I find myself calling her on her cell phone even if she has only been gone for an hour. I think to myself maybe I should let her go? But I can't. I feel remorse for what has happened and for the way I have treated her in the past. It seems sometimes she wants to be with me and then shrugs it off and says I want out. See, she has two friends she just met. One of them is a guy she knew in high school but hadn't seen him for about ten years or so. (He has been the victim of two marriages destroyed by cheating spouses.) The other is his girlfriend ( who is married and some kind of social worker) Whenever she is with these people she confides in them and tells our problems I know she listens to them. She has only known them for two months as friends or re-acquainted friends.

I love her and our son. I want to try to work it out but she won't talk. We still live together. Her son is with his real dad in Denver. I want to stay married so bad it hurts.

I love her! Help!

ADear Hopeless,

The pain in your letter is obvious. Your situation is complicated so let's try to sort out some of the questions that you raise. You don't say how old your stepson is but I'm glad that he's been able to go to live with his dad. If you choose to keep in touch with this boy while you're dealing with his mom, please remember that he is just a child and is not to be drawn into your conflicts. You can talk with him about school, or his friends, or other neutral topics. You say that you have been married for two years but it's not clear how long you were involved before the marriage. You say that during your dating stage that there were times when the arguments got physical. How physical? Throwing and breaking things or physically violent? Were the police ever called? How did these situations arise and ho w did you two deal with their aftermath? If these episodes got glossed over then and not dealt with then it's no surprise that they've escalated now with all of these other stressors.

I'm glad that you were honest with me about your drinking. How much of a problem is this? If your first response is to deny the amount that you drink or how often you drink, then you do have a problem. First, let me make some suggestions of how you can take care of yourself and then we'll talk about dealing with your wife. Get yourself into therapy. You need to explore what attracted you to this woman, why you married her, and what you're still hoping to get out of this marriage.

You need to deal with your anger and your drinking. Your therapist may recommend an anger management class as well as a support group. Maybe Alcoholics Anonymous would be right for you. Your therapist will know what resources are available locally.

Second, how to respond to your wife. Was her behaviour always like this or is this going out/staying out new? Maybe she is having an affair, or it might be possible that she may have become involved with drugs. The latter can also lead to irresponsible behavior, lying and covering up. With your therapist's help you may want to question her about this. I don't feel that you should do this on your own at this time as it could just lead to another fight.

You say that you love her and want to stay married to her but she is telling you that it's over and she wants out. Right now there's not a lot of room for compromise between your two positions. Communication and trust are at an all-time low. A trial separation might give each of you the distance to assess the situation. I'm sorry to say that if she's determined to leave, you won't be able to change her mind. For many couples who get divorced it is one of the pair that initiates it while the other feels blindsided. The one who states that they want to end the marriage has usually been unhappy for a long time and sending out those messages. The other person has not read the clues and feels shocked when their partner announces that they are leaving.

You must take care of yourself! You cannot change your wife's behavior, only she can, and that will happen only if she wants it to change. Get a therapist to help you figure out how you came to be in your present situation and what you can do to move ahead with your life. Be prepared for some hard work but know that you will be stronger for it once you've had the courage to look at yourself. Good luck!

Dr. Louise Klein PsyD

Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2012 07:43
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Dr. Louise Klein

Dr. Louise Klein

Louise Klein was born on the West Coast of Canada but lived for many years in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Widener University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Louise Klein is an experienced therapist in insight-oriented talk therapy. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups for many years. Her experience with families includes stepfamilies, adoptive families, nuclear families and families dealing with illness or death. Dr Klein is also trained in thought field therapy and regression therapy and has taught and worked internationally. Louise Klein lives in a rural community with her husband and St. Bernard and has a stepdaughter in college in New England.

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