Confused about counselor advice - Talk About Marriage
Experiences in Counseling Have you been through professional marriage or relationship counseling? Are you considering it? This section is for topics related to seeing a therapist.

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Confused about counselor advice

My wife and I have been seeing this marriage counselor for about 6 months or so. He's a PhD Psychologist who also does marriage counseling. I'm not sure if that makes any difference. My wife seems to like him and says the sessions are helping her, even though I almost always feel worse after I leave our sessions.

In this case, I not only feel like he was taking sides again, but I don't understand what he is asking me to do. I'm hoping for some insight.

Whenever I go do something on my own, my wife gets upset either before, during, or after I go somewhere. It can be a business trip, a guy's night out, whatever. Trust me, I am no bar hopping wild guy. I'm the complete opposite, but once in a while I enjoy doing things on my own. I have to admit that I have been very passive and haven't kept up with friends for years, so perhaps my wife is justifiably suspicious now that I go do stuff on my own once in a while.

She brought up her concern with our counselor and strung together the 4 times I've done something on my own in the last 6 months and how I didn't tell her the right way or at the right time that I want to go out for a guy's night out. The counselor, as usual, turned to me and translated my wife's feelings and how I might better approach the situation next time to better meet her needs. Even though he seems one sided to me, I really want to take his input seriously because I think it can make me a better husband. But this time I got a little frustrated and said that I also have a need to feel independent and he can't just expect me to always approach my wife just perfectly to protect her feelings. While my wife says that she supports me doing things on my own and I honestly think that she means it, every time I actually do something I get a guilt trip. If the guilt trip doesn't come right away, it will come a week or a month later when she reminds me of my night out or my business trip and asks me if I'm cheating on her. He was clearly surprised by my response.

Finally.... my question. The counselor told me that it is clear that my wife has no problem with me doing things on my own because she said so multiple times. Since I kept bringing up my "independence" during the counseling session, I need to figure out what that means to me, separate from my wife. I am completely lost on this homework from the counselor. It seems to me that I'm not too weird for wanting to do things on my own once in a while and it bums me out when my wife invariably gets upset over it. Given that my tendency is to be passive and reserved, it would help me if she encouraged me to get out once in a while. Perhaps that's asking too much, but how can I figure out my independence issue separate from my wife? I have a great time with my friends when I go out, the problem comes when I end up arguing with my wife over it. Perhaps independence is the wrong word to use for this?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 12:29 PM
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

Does your wife ever go out on her own with her friends? Maybe she if feeling like she needs some of these nights out? Do youlet her know well in advance that you are going out with the boys Friday night, or just spring it on her? Maybe she feels like i is always about what you want.

How often do just the two of you go out together? Maybe she wants some of your free time?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

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Does your wife ever go out on her own with her friends?
Yes, absolutely. She does girls nights out, goes for massages and what not and goes away once in a while on weekends to pursue her hobby. And I'm happy for her and encourage her when she does. It's not like she's gone all the time or anything, but she does have a chance to do her own thing.

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Maybe she if feeling like she needs some of these nights out? Do youlet her know well in advance that you are going out with the boys Friday night, or just spring it on her? Maybe she feels like i is always about what you want.
For my night out, I let her know a week in advance. For a weekend trip or a business trip I let her know months in advance.

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How often do just the two of you go out together? Maybe she wants some of your free time?
Absolutely a problem for us. We have a small child and we don't get out nearly as much as we used to. This is something that we need more of.

Even so, I think I should be able to go out on my own once in a while. Going out once every two or three months doesn't seem excessive, especially when she does the same thing. I have learned that I need to be more understanding about her feelings, even when they are based on something untrue or illogical. But why isn't there a need for her to understand me and my feelings? If she gets upset every time I do something on my own, I end up feeling guilty and it frankly irritates me. For MC's out there, am I being irrational? Do I need to support my wife's feelings no matter what and hope that eventually she will calm down?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:12 PM
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

DING DING DING.

You need to get a baby sitter and start dating her.

The time away would be less of an issue if you had couple time.

Trust me.

That will $150 please.

Rectitude--Courage--Benevolence--Respect--Honesty--Honor--Loyalty
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

Where do I send the check? Your advice is much more helpful than my MC who tells me I have an issue with independence.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:47 PM
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Confused about counselor advice

I think independence is the wrong word. It rattles insecure people. What you are looking for is some ME time to do as you please.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

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I think independence is the wrong word. It rattles insecure people. What you are looking for is some ME time to do as you please.
PERFECT! I will use "ME time" the next time I talk to our marriage counselor.

Unfortunately the counselor will tell me again that I'm confused, because my wife is perfectly fine with me having "ME time" because she keeps saying that she is ok with it. And I will say... but when I go to "ME time" my wife gets upset with me, so I have a tough time reconciling her words with her actions. Then the counselor shall roll his eyes at me and tell me that it's my fault because I don't tell my wife about "ME time" in just the right way or at just the right time, despite my efforts to be as considerate as I can be. Then I will just sit quietly, nod my head, ignore the counselor, and plan to go out on more dates with my wife to bring more joy into our relationship.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 08:52 AM
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Confused about counselor advice

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PERFECT! I will use "ME time" the next time I talk to our marriage counselor.

Unfortunately the counselor will tell me again that I'm confused, because my wife is perfectly fine with me having "ME time" because she keeps saying that she is ok with it. And I will say... but when I go to "ME time" my wife gets upset with me, so I have a tough time reconciling her words with her actions. Then the counselor shall roll his eyes at me and tell me that it's my fault because I don't tell my wife about "ME time" in just the right way or at just the right time, despite my efforts to be as considerate as I can be. Then I will just sit quietly, nod my head, ignore the counselor, and plan to go out on more dates with my wife to bring more joy into our relationship.
Stand up to your counselor. Say you aren't confused at all in fact you're quite clear on what you want. Also tell you counselor that jumping through hoops to tell your wife you are taking me time doesn't work because she still gets angry with you.

I suspect what's going on with you two is you are rug sweeping the real problem which is her insecurity. My counselor did that too. She tried once to get my husband to take ownership of my insecurity. Luckily I had enough insight to know that wasn't his problem so I said no. I said let's focus on me and my insecurity because truthfully no matter how my husband tells me he's leaving I'm still going to be upset. I'm insecure with a fear of abandonment. That's my problem not his.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

Yeah, that's really frustrating in these counseling sessions when we only deal with the problems on the surface. My wife feels this way or feels that way and I have to understand her, validate her, and make her feel better no matter the reason. If she gets angry with me because I didn't tell her in quite the right way that I would like to go out with some friends, I have to fight my urge to get defensive and understand how she feels and ask her how she would like me to tell her in the future. That's fine and of course I'm working on doing just that, but we never get to the root of the problem. It might be insecurity or something else, I don't know. You are completely right that it sometimes feels like no matter what I say or how I say it she will still find a reason to be upset with me. Unfortunately I can't get this point across in counseling sessions.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 02:37 PM
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

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Yeah, that's really frustrating in these counseling sessions when we only deal with the problems on the surface. My wife feels this way or feels that way and I have to understand her, validate her, and make her feel better no matter the reason. If she gets angry with me because I didn't tell her in quite the right way that I would like to go out with some friends, I have to fight my urge to get defensive and understand how she feels and ask her how she would like me to tell her in the future. That's fine and of course I'm working on doing just that, but we never get to the root of the problem. It might be insecurity or something else, I don't know. You are completely right that it sometimes feels like no matter what I say or how I say it she will still find a reason to be upset with me. Unfortunately I can't get this point across in counseling sessions.
Have you tried recreating the situation in front of your counselor and then let him dig into her reaction and your statement? Maybe he would finally see your point, or possibly once again telling you that you're doing it wrong. If she be open and honest in the session, and react the same way she does at home when you tell her you are going out next Friday night, then maybe that could lead somewhere to her issue with it.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 10:28 PM
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

Has your wife ever had a trust issue with you such as infidelity, addiction or lying? Something doesn't seem to add up as to why she will give you a hard time about having "ME time" but she will have her "ME time." I understand that it's not often that either of you go out but it seems more like a trust issue to me.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 05:38 PM
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Re: Confused about counselor advice

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DING DING DING.

You need to get a baby sitter and start dating her.

The time away would be less of an issue if you had couple time.

Trust me.

That will $150 please.
Entropy3000 - why do you know this and most husbands don't? I'd like your advice on on a prescription pad please!
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