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?