Obstinate wife
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Obstinate wife

Hello all. I am here seeking advice on how to make a difference in my marriage. My wife of 12+ years, 7 years of courtship, and 5 years of being best friends prior to that is ready to leave me. Our marriage started out strong - we were best friends who found love in one another and had a very desirable courtship and early years of our marriage.

After being married for about 3 years, we were ready to try to have a child....my wife quit her full-time job to work for her father in preparation for having a family (we did not want to use a daycare).

Shortly after she quit her fulltime job, it became apparent that her father was unable to keep up with paying her wages, and money started to become tighter and tighter. As a result of these monetary issues, I began losing focus on our relationship, and instead started to worry more about money. The further along and worse the money situation got, the worse I got.

In addition to money issues, my wife and I decided I would handle the finances and bills. I became a bit controlling of monetary matters, including telling her she wasn't able to spend xxx dollars for this, etc. And if she DID spend money in a way I perceived as frivolous, I would tell her so...

As time went on, my frustration from lack of financial security wore on me more and more. I always loved my wife, but failed miserably to show it. I told her repeatedly that the only things that make me happy in this world were her and my now 8 year old daughter, but apparently, that was not enough.

She had voiced that she was not happy on multiple occasions, but I had become accustomed to hearing her say negative things about life...I suppose I brushed it off as complaining (not that I should have, but hindsight is always 20/20)

On July 29 2012, I made a discovery that literally changed my perspective on everything overnight...she was being emotionally unfaithful to me with a male friend that she had a 'crush' on in high school. They had recently reconnected by chance, and started chit-chatting. Nothing big, but in the past 3 months it had escalated to over 500 text messages in a 2 week period.

This event, coupled with her telling me (coincidentally) the night before this discovery that she wasn't happy, has turned my world upside down. I now see with crystal clarity that my wife and my daughter are the two most important things to me in my life. I have completely changed my thinking, and no longer want to exercise control or in any other manipulate my wife's life...I just want to be part of it.

I know many people think that people like myself cannot change...and I respect that opinion, but from my own perspective, I not only believe they can, but I feel as though I truly have.

My problems right now stem from the fact that my wife is apparently of the mindset that people do not change. We have begun couples counseling, I am going through the MarriageMax course, and I am waiting for several self-help type books (including Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) to arrive as well. I also am inquiring about counseling for my control issues, just to ensure that I'm going everything to keep that on the right track and in check. I am a very strong-willed person, and am determined when I set my mind to do something, and believe that I am doing a good job of dealing with any concerns or fears that previously caused me to "lose my cool". I'm a work in progress, but I feel as though I'm making a lot of positive changes.

I love my wife more than anything, and I want to help her get back the self-confidence, courage, and self-respect that she feels she has lost over the years. Despite attending counseling, she remains obstinate and cold, and is probably ready to leave today. We have promised to try to work this out for 3 months, but I fear that it's not long enough, and that her heart is not really letting her "try".

As I said, we have an 8 year old daughter, and believe that the best family situation to raise a child is one which provides both parents at all times.

Additionally, I come from the "til death do us part" culture, and only 1 person in my extended family has ever been divorced. Sadly, my father was similar to me with regards to his relationship with my mother, and I suppose that seeing this growing up mislead me to believe that relationships have high and low points, but everything is recoverable.

My wife is very clearly from the other culture, as every female in her extended family has been divorced except one, and that person's marriage only ended because the husband died of cancer at an early age.

I know that my backstory has been long, but I want all of my info to be available to anyone who chooses to weigh-in on my dilemma.

So, after 5 or 6 years of "more bad than good", my wife finally had the courage to tell me that she's not happy, and she thinks she is ready to move on. She has stated the following things:

1> She loves (cares) for me, but she's not IN LOVE (excited about) me.
2> She wants to be in total control of her life
3> She feels as though her well is completely dry (with regards to being able to love me)

Unfortunately, my wife does not have a full-time income, and she says she would refuse spousal support from me if I try to give it to her. She is setting herself up for a very challenging time of trying to be self-supportive. I am supporting her as much as I can, even helping her with starting her own mural painting business (she's an artist) so that she can have as much independence and freedom as she wants. I don't ask when she's coming home from her friends house anymore (background: her best friend, a female, who also has a history of failed relationships).

With regards to myself, I have made the following changes in my life:

From: ::: To:
Uninvolved with household duties ::: Choremaster
Uncomplimentary ::: Observant and complimentary
Money First ::: Love First
Not involved with many special events ::: Want to be involved in everything
Bad personal image/fat ::: Lost 40 pounds since 7/29, taking better general care
Refused help/counseling ::: Attending couples counseling/starting individual

The advice I'm looking for is this: How do I let her know these changes are legitimate? I know I cannot force free will and make her choose me again, but I know that love can conquer all. Is there anything I can do to help her believe that I am for real, and that I want to above all else fix what I broke, and get us on the road to recovery? I truly believe that, with the help of counseling and the self-help marriage enhancement programs I'm learning about, we can have a very happy and fulfilling marriage, full of love and mutual respect. Unfortunately, she's so focused on how she'll survive once she leaves that she's unable to have positive thoughts about us.

Again, I know I cannot force anything. But I'm hoping that someone might be able to give me a look into my wife's perspective of this situation, and tell me what their spouse did that helped or would have helped in a similar situation. My wife means more to me than anything in this world, and I plan to do everything in my power to keep our love and marriage moving forward, and avoiding this split.

Any and all advice is appreciated. However, if you're someone who believes people can NOT change, please do not weigh in on this - I have read plenty of ideas from your perspective, and I understand the natural disbelief that you have with regards to people's fundamental characters changing. I respect your doubts, but right now, I'm searching for guidance and perspective on if there's anything I can do. I am doing my best to be positive, loving, understanding, observant, and caring. I receive enough negativity from my poor wife, and would greatly appreciate if those of you who have doubt in my sincerity would have the courtesy to not express any negativity on this thread.

To any and all who are going to offer advice, I thank you in advance.

Last edited by FuzzieStump; 09-17-2012 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Bad formatting in from-to 'table'
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Obstinate wife

Fuzzie

There are some personalities that will not change but for the most part personalities are dynamic. You may want to read the Steven Harley book "His needs, her needs" and he has a website also. His book is very good and you could do it together with your wife, his web site may also help.

Marriage Builders - Successful Marriage Advice

No marriage is perfect and most could be made better by each party; but there is a disturbing trend and that is that she is connected with an old flame. She may have an agenda making the marriage out to be worse than it was or is. You should read the Shirley Glass's book, "Not just friends". Also (according to Dr. Glass) the affairs involving reconnecting with an old flame is one of the most damaging to a marriage.

Anyway the best was to convince someone that you can change is to show them. Live for now find out what can be done better and work on change, try not to get trapped in her idea of past events, if this is an excuse she will cherry pick the bad and ignore the good.

Ultimately the one who you have the most control over is yourself. The goal is to make yourself a stronger better man, better husband and better father. If that works and it saves the marriage you have avoided divorce that is great. If not and you have done your best then you will be better able to cope with the anxiety and depression involved with a relationship failure.

Also a continuing emotional affair will greatly diminish the chance for a recovery, the best marriage counselors who have high success rate and waiting list often refuse counseling when one of the partners is romantically involved with someone outside the damaged marriage.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Obstinate wife

Patrick,

Thank you very much for the insight, and for the book recommendations. I certainly have found that reading about everything helps me understand what's going on.

I should provide some clarity, however, on the "old flame" issue. She is not romantically involved with him. He was an interest in high school, but they did not date. Furthermore, she is not in or trying to be in a relationship with him now...they merely were flirty and complimentary with one another to the point where she counts him as a good friend now...they have similar interests (both artists, him now being a teacher of art) and have a lot in common. However, she swears that she is not doing this to our marriage to satisfy any desire to be with him...in fact, they have stopped talking altogether whilst we try to fix our marriage...it's the only positive action I can say that she has taken, in fact.

However, I will keep that point in mind as well, as I feel like it's quite possible that if she does decide to leave, he would be an obvious first choice for male companionship. :/

Thanks again, Patrick! Going to look into those book recommendations now!!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Obstinate wife

I believe you can change because you have a plan. More action than talk.

I left my husband (22 yrs.) because he REFUSED to make changes. Had he, I would have stayed.

I feel bad for your wife. She thinks her life will be better w/o you right now, but she will find out that it won't be.

I really hope she can wait & see you make all of the changes that will make her happy.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Obstinate wife

All that said.. you've done a lot work it seems on recognizing and altering your part in the dynamics.

At this point, do you still have sex, share a bedroom, eat meals together, do things as a couple?

How often do you talk during the day?

The marriage builders program also comes in a condensed version on dvd -- it's worth buying.

It will give you both a roadmap \ directions on what to do,how to treat each other, and if you both follow it, the intent is to allow you to fall back in love again.

Which is much different than just modifying your behavior and hoping it sticks. You say you love your wife, are you also "not in love" with her? Do you see the difference in what she is saying?
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Obstinate wife

Sounds like you have a case of "don't know what you got til it's gone" syndrome. She's found someone else that gives her the time of day. Someone she'd rather spend time talking to. She already said she isn't in love with you anymore. You need to step back and let her breathe. If you truly love her, let her go. And as for her not being better off without you, sounds like she's already put you behind her -- she's with the other guy and all.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You have a lot of work to do. If you are successful or not is to be seen. What ever the outcome, if you work on yourself, you will be a better man. Read "His Needs, Her Needs" by W Harley and "Married Man's Sex Life' by A. Kay.

GET THEM, READ THEM.

And be vigilant about the OM. You haven't filled your wife's needs in a long while. Your wife is getting her needs filled by him. Beware, look out for contact between them. Do not become complacent and think it's over. They are "Not Just Friends"
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Last edited by anchorwatch; 09-17-2012 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by deejov View Post
All that said.. you've done a lot work it seems on recognizing and altering your part in the dynamics.

At this point, do you still have sex, share a bedroom, eat meals together, do things as a couple?

How often do you talk during the day?

The marriage builders program also comes in a condensed version on dvd -- it's worth buying.

It will give you both a roadmap \ directions on what to do,how to treat each other, and if you both follow it, the intent is to allow you to fall back in love again.

Which is much different than just modifying your behavior and hoping it sticks. You say you love your wife, are you also "not in love" with her? Do you see the difference in what she is saying?
Firstly, thank you for your reply and insight. To answer your questions directly, no, we have not had sex for about 3 weeks, she started sleeping on the couch about a week ago, but everything else, is yes. We just went out for dinner last night, and have been on at least one date a week since this all happened. We talk all the time, and are in contact throughout the day. We also do things together with our daughter, such as when she cheers for our community football team, school events, etc. However, yes, the physical intimacy is just about dead, and she just doesn't feel right sleeping in the bed with me.

I may look into the marriage builders program, but money (as you may have gathered from the initial post) is tight, and I just dropped a pretty penny on the Marriage Max program...I suspect there's a lot of similarities in the programs, as it deals with tabling your problems for now, and doing couples-build exercises. She has said she will read the program and get involved with it, but she has yet to do anything more than the couple of activities I've asked her to do with me. She hasn't read the book or listened to any of the audio CD's, so that's a bit discouraging.....

As for being "in love" with her, I believe i very much am...I love everything about her, even her imperfections, and long to be close with her...physically and emotionally. There isn't a thing about her that I would change, except the way she's been treating me since this has all happened.

Thanks again for making me think more.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald View Post
I believe you can change because you have a plan. More action than talk.

I left my husband (22 yrs.) because he REFUSED to make changes. Had he, I would have stayed.

I feel bad for your wife. She thinks her life will be better w/o you right now, but she will find out that it won't be.

I really hope she can wait & see you make all of the changes that will make her happy.
Thank you, Emerald....I hope she waits to see the changes too.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by katiebelle View Post
Sounds like you have a case of "don't know what you got til it's gone" syndrome. She's found someone else that gives her the time of day. Someone she'd rather spend time talking to. She already said she isn't in love with you anymore. You need to step back and let her breathe. If you truly love her, let her go. And as for her not being better off without you, sounds like she's already put you behind her -- she's with the other guy and all.
While I respect your opinion, KatieBelle, I feel you missed a few key points either in the original post or in my reply to Patrick.

Firstly, and most importantly, she is not with the other guy. There has been nothing but complimentary exchanges between them via text messaging. They flirted, but she is not interested in him as my replacement... and I believe her. I know you don't know my wife, but one of the reasons I love her so much is because she is a genuine, honest, and sincere person, especially in the context of society today. If she tells me that she didn't cheat on me, then I believe that. So, she's not "with him".

However, that is not to say that the emotional infidelity is not having an effect on our ability to work on things. As mentioned in the original post, she has cut off ties with him, so again, she's not with him.

To speak to your other points, I have stepped back, and I am "going with the flow".....I ask nothing of her, and do not impose any rules or restrictions on her. Everything that I thought mattered before (money matters) seems to have completely faded from my attention, and I have learned (or at least, am learning) to put love first. If anything, I might benefit from being LESS present and attentive, as she clearly is not accustomed to this behavior from me. The only issue with that, is that I dont want her to perceive my reduced attention as "going back to the way I was".

Again, thanks for your input, even though I perceived it as somewhat negative, as it's keeping me thinking about everything I need to do and keep doing to stay on track.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by anchorwatch View Post
You have a lot of work to do. If you are successful or not is to be seen. What ever the outcome, if you work on yourself, you will be a better man. Read "His Needs, Her Needs" by W Harley and "Married Man's Sex Life' by A. Kay.

GET THEM, READ THEM.

And be vigilant about the OM. You haven't filled your wife's needs in a long while. Your wife is getting her needs filled by him. Beware, look out for contact between them. Do not become complacent and think it's over. They are "Not Just Friends"
I purchased His Needs, Her Needs today, actually. I'm looking forward to reading it. The other book is new to me, so I'll have to check into that...thank you for the tip.

And pardon my ignorance, but does "OM" mean "Other Man"? If so, I would just like to restate that he and she are not intimately involved. They never were. They were friends in highschool, and she had a little crush on him. There was no physical infidelity, and the extent of the emotional infidelity seems to have been limited to just a couple of weeks of text messages...not even 'sexting'...fortunately, I pay the bills and noticed the unusually high number of text messages before it got out of hand. I'm still concerned about it, but she has vowed not to contact him while we work on us, and we have both de-activated our Facebook accounts as well, to minimize distraction (which, btw, I highly suggest regardless of your marital situation - being liberated from Facebook is awesome in and of itself...lol).

I am still being cautious with her contacting him. She is a big fan of her smartphone, and sometimes I get suspicious, but part of the 'breathing room' I have to give her right now includes not always asking what she's doing with her phone.

Thanks for the book recommendations, and reminding me to keep alert to outside influences.

Last edited by FuzzieStump; 09-17-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Those books are a basic training for you.

"His Needs, Her Needs" will give you an understanding how to identify and keep each other's emotional needs fulfilled. If your needs are fulfilled in the marriage, the idea is, you won't be susceptible to finding them else where.

"Married man's Sex Life" is not a sex guide. It does explain how women look at men and what traits attract them. Once you understand that then you can make a plan to achieve those traits. If your wife is attracted to you she won't look elsewhere.
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I too would be wary of her smart phone. I love your suggestion about face book though. The EA has changed the game. The OM is a new choice for her or at least represents one. Your statement that she is putting in little effort toward reading or listing to the marriage books and aids is also troubling. How committed is she to giving rebuilding a try? If she is resistant you may have to take steps to up the ante. For now I would do the reads and concentrate on improving myself, for my own sake. As you improve yourself others will notice and be attracted to you, not just your wife.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by anchorwatch View Post
Those books are a basic training for you.

"His Needs, Her Needs" will give you an understanding how to identify and keep each other's emotional needs fulfilled. If your needs are fulfilled in the marriage, the idea is, you won't be susceptible to finding them else where.

"Married man's Sex Life" is not a sex guide. It does explain how women look at men and what traits attract them. Once you understand that then you can make a plan to achieve those traits. If your wife is attracted to you she won't look elsewhere.
Married Man Sex Life

I too would be wary of her smart phone. I love your suggestion about face book though. The EA has changed the game. The OM is a new choice for her or at least represents one. Your statement that she is putting in little effort toward reading or listing to the marriage books and aids is also troubling. How committed is she to giving rebuilding a try? If she is resistant you may have to take steps to up the ante. For now I would do the reads and concentrate on improving myself, for my own sake. As you improve yourself others will notice and be attracted to you, not just your wife.
Thanks again, Anchorwatch. I expect His Needs, Her Needs to be delivered tomorrow. I am going to hold off of the other one for now, and may buy the Kindle edition of it.

And again, I'm sorry, but I dont know what "EA" refers to....I can only assume it has to do with social networking and such.

As for her willingness to try, it may be that I'm doing too much, too soon....she has told me that I've been overbearing at times, and I'm still trying to find balance between giving her space, and paying her attention. She also just completed a rather large freelance job, and that may have taken more time than she anticipated, preventing her from reading the books, etc. I have faith that she will begin reading them, but as with anything else, I will have to wait until it's her time to do so....pressure from me will likely only result in a push in the opposite direction.

Also, for anyone who has been following this thread, I found a book today which I suspect is similar to the His Needs, Her Needs book, called "If Only He Knew: Understanding your Wife", by Gary and Norma Smalley. It talks about the fundamental differences between men and women, and what men typically do to upset the harmony of the marriage. It's a short book (only 140 pages) but an easy read - the only problem I have with it is the number of religious references in the book, as I'm a man without firm religious belief. However, the fundamentals are solid, and enlightening....check it out

Thanks again for your advice, Anchorwatch!
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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OM = Other Man
EA = Emotional Affair

Common Message Board Abbreviations & Acronyms

Reading can only help. Knowledge is power. Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Anchorwatch,

In a previous reply, you said that if she's not very willing to work on the relationship, I may have to take steps to up the ante...

Any recommendations on what I might be able to do to do that? It's getting very awkward to be around her now, since she keeps pushing against my efforts....I'm perplexed by everything so much, I'm having a hard time thinking outside of the proverbial box....any suggestions you might have would be appreciated.
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