This is my first post. I've been reading a lot on the forums and finally decided to post something here. I'm not sure how to progress to the next step. I've been married over 15 years and our relationship has been tumultuous from the beginning. Before we got married we used to fight all the time. After we got married, we'd fight weekly, if not daily. We would fight mostly over money but really just about anything, differences of opinion and such. I believe she had an anger problem but at the time I didn't have enough confidence to call her on it. There was just this weird pull that kept us together. I suppose it was love or some kind of need but I don't know anymore. My family really never fought when I was growing up. Not that this is good either, its just the way it was. I could write a book but I'm not sure what details of us would be best for you to know but we also have two kids. Teenager boy and almost teenager girl.
The bottom line is that she has always felt like I was too clingy. I'm a guy and I have always felt like I wanted to have a very close marriage. I've always had a bit of trouble making friends and before our marriage I had friends (not a lot) but since being married I haven't really made any new friends. I've been pretty isolated and put a lot of attention on our relationship. I guess I've always been trying to heal the wounds of our relationship and have been so exhausted from our fighting. She doesn't think of it that way. I felt like I was the only one who cared about the marriage. I'd always be trying to improve our relationship. Trying to fill her needs, trying to make her happy, etc. but it seemed to push her away. This has happened slowly over the years. I think part of it is I've looked to her as infallible because she is externally actually a very giving person and part of her life is buying gifts for people and giving people things (which was a cause of arguments because we often would be short of money at the end of month). Only recently (a few years ago) that I realized that that was only part of her, but there are other parts of her that aren't so nice, especially in a marriage. Her brothers use to abuse her in ways (not sexually), but very emotionally. Finally over the last few years, I realized it was only me holding this relationship together so I let up. I decided to not to be as clingy (she says I have fear of abandonement). Well, changing myself among other things has helped but I think I still can be clingy. I guess to the degree she pulls away, I get more clingy. Again, I could write a book.
Bottom line, her old best female friend who has divorced and recently remarried has been convincing her to live her dreams. She's always wanted to go to England, Scotland, Ireland, etc. again but feels that I have been stopping her somehow. Actually, I feel what has stopped her is that we've had lack of money because I feel we mismanage it. In the past she would say, I want to go to England in two months or for Christmas which is only a few months away and I would say we don't have the money. And really I never controlled it. It was a joint account and she always spend a lot on the groceries and clothes and gifts. She would not plan it ahead of time or saved any money ahead of time. I always felt guilty about all this and thought it was my fault because I didn't make enough when in actuality I was making a very good salary. Anyway, lately she's been hiding her phone all the time and I found it the other day and see that she really is planning a trip to England with her old best friend. She's never overtly been hidden about things in our relationship but now she is really secretively about her phone and her text messages. I know what is going and I know that now she isn't fooling around or doesn't have any direct plans but she is hiding this from me. I don't know what to say or do. I almost feel this is the biggest disrespect someone could get in a relationship. But, on the other hand, is it time to give each other space. I've decided as well to look into far off retreat centers to work on myself. I just don't like the secretiveness and don't think I could tolerate it in a relationship. Any suggestions on what to do next. I really don't care that she plans this trip but its the covertness that is killing me. If she could do this, she could do anything. I'd almost rather divorce then eventually face something that could be worse. I'm getting very anxious over what is happening and not sure what kind of action I could take. I am losing trust fast.
Reading your post I think you have a (not uncommon) problem in your relationship. Your wife stands completely on top of you and you keep feeding that situation through your fear of losing her. That is an attitude she cannot really find attractive.
I really don't mean to advertise here. But I believe you would absolutely benefit a lot from one of those books down there in my signature (5 Keys to getting anything you want from your wife). It's free, after all.
I have had a similar problem with my wife in the past. I was too concerned about losing her and would always keep her around. It did get very ugly as we had huge fights between us, and the fights went as far that we wouldn't speak to each other for a long time, at one time it even crossed 2 months. My wife and I had zero communication for 2 whole months but we'd see each other everyday.
Ultimately, I loosened the grip on my wife. I moved away, and I stopped being the one who has to save the relationship every time. Later, I realized that it was so easy for my wife to fight with me because it had become a cemented fact in her head that I can't let go her, and consequently would go crawling back to her sooner or later. Those 2 months of silence proved her wrong as she realized that I was finally able to muster the courage to move on. She couldn't take it, and came running back to me. Thank God, since then my wife and I have developed an intimate understanding of each other's needs & values, and now we are happily married and are looking forward to our baby due next month, God willing.
The best option for you is to not press your wife too much about you being the one who's working on the relationship and she's not. She's trying her share as well, but you're being too dominating and want all the credit for yourself. You should take a backseat, enjoy your time, do something which you'd love to do other than just saving your marriage, and let your wife go for the UK trip. What I'd do is I won't send her alone. I'd probably ask her brother or her father or your son to go with her so that there can be someone to protect her. I won't trust that friend as such friends only cause more turmoil in marriages.
Stay away from each other and you two will realize each other's worth and will value each other better, God willing.
Honestly, man, she's walking all over you because you let her. As a man, you should never be clingy or more worried about her than she's worried about you or yourself.
You said that you don't hang out with the fellas and basically put your life on hold to work on the relationship. While that's noble on paper, you're really smothering her and not expressing the type of love she needs from you. She needs you to be strong and secure, so that she can lean on you when she's going through crisis. By you constantly acting with emotion instead of steadfast logic, you two have switched "roles," she's having to step up and be the man in the relationship and you're playing her role.
She doesn't want to be the man.
I don't say that to insult you, but that's what's happening. The fighting is because she's dissatisfied that she had to play a role she doesn't want. She's irritated with you because you're not stepping up and playing that role, which would allow her the comfort of sliding into her natural role.
And the arguments are taking place because you're allowing her to beat you down. Instead of standing up to her, you're failing fitness test after fitness test, making her look elsewhere.
I'll send you a PM for some more info, but just know that you need to change your outlook on things.