Question: Dear Luise: I’ve been reading your site and I know not many men post here but I feel I need some input and your words seem to be true. My wife and I have been married for almost 3 years and we now have a 1 year-old daughter. A year into the marriage, my wife had a work stress induced mental break down and quit her job. Subsequently she developed an unhealthy hatred for my mother with whom I have a strong bond. She is constantly jealous of my relationship with my mother and feels inadequate. On top of all of this our financial situation was such that we needed two incomes to survive but she refused to get a job after she leveled off from her breakdown and I was forced to go into bankruptcy to salvage our family and still be able to put food on the table and buy diapers for the baby and formula. I love my wife, and yes we had a rough time when our daughter was born. She had a brush with death and it was touch and go the first week of her life but now she’s healthy and happy 1 year-old girl and I know that that had an affect on my wife that I will never understand. Now we live in separate locations. She didn’t want to relocate with me when my job moved and now she and my daughter live 100 miles away with her grandmother and I live alone in the city. She and I both talked things over and agreed that she should live with her grandmother until she was capable of dealing with things better but recently she has gotten worse and when I come to visit we fight a lot and she threatens suicide to get my attention but I’m not ignoring her. I don’t understand what I need to do to make this work or if I need to let her go so she can rebuild her life on her own. Every time I try to help we just argue. I mean she knew that my parents are an important part of my life and that my family means a lot to me. So what do I do? She has mentioned couples counseling and I agreed to go but she has yet to arrange it. Jay
Answer: Dear Jay: I think you need professional help. However, it obviously isn’t working to leave it up to your wife to arrange it. It’s probably going to boil down to what you have to work with as a couple and the bottom line beyond that is what kind of resources you have as individuals. Fighting doesn’t help. She needs to be heard and understood and so do you…if you are going to find a way to move through this.
To me, it doesn’t sound like a marriage. It sounds like a mistake…but that is just one person’s point of view. We all have different levels of tolerance, commitment and maturity. Marriage is usually about getting together, not living apart. Working together, not one person carrying the whole financial load and the other doing all of the child rearing. Or is her grandmother doing that?
There are many reasons that a spouse may want to stop us from our continued connection to our family of origin. Most of them are about the spouse unless war has been declared against her/him. It is true that a new marriage supercedes our old ties to our parents, but/and it is also true that our family may be our major support.
Get help. What you’re doing now isn’t working for anyone. Blessings, Luise