I'm a 49 yo male, married for 27 years with 3 children, ages 19, 13 and 6. My wife and I have had our share of issues over the years, and she has always had control issues, but things have really taken a turn for the worst. My wife has became obsessed with ADHD, our 13 yo and 19 yo have both been diagnosed with it, and she surfs the internet constantly reading about it. She is convinced that I have it and that is the root of all our problems. She told me that I need to be tested for ADHD and I told her I would as long as she would be willing to address her control issues. She refused to even respond to my request and when I asked her if she had any responsibility for some of our issues, she flat out said no. She told me that ALL of our issues stemmed from me and my ADHD.
She dismisses any points I make during a disagreement and flips it around on me. I'm so tired! Finally after much persuasion, my wife agreed to go with me to a psychologist. When he started to say that there are two people in a marriage and the both bare responsibility for making things work, she stopped him dead in his tracks and said, “If you try to turn any of his issues on me, I'll walk right out!” I had been wrestling with the thought of divorce for some time, but that kind of sealed the deal for me. It ripped my heart out to think that's how she really feels. The mind games kill me, later at home she asked for a hug, like she has no idea how much she hurt me.
I feel that there is no true love or respect in our relationship. I don't want to put my kids through divorce that I'm sure she will make ugly, but I can't keep living like this. Is it over?
Reply from NIC on Aug 14 2013 at 17:17
- unregistered user
Hi there. I'm sorry you're going through such a bad time. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you.
Firstly, you say your marriage has had issues over the years. In any marriage, there will be ups and downs, but resolving issues is a vital part of any successful relationship. However, there has to be a balance, and this balance should be irrespective of the amount of time you have been together in my opinion. Just because a couple have spent many years together, I don't think that either one should make sacrifices to their happiness to maintain the relationship, but this is just my opinion.
Have you told your wife that you feel the relationship could be over? Perhaps if you insist that she listens to you more, and accepts partial responsibility for problems you both experience or its over, she may be more likely to listen?
It's extremely important for you to look after your own well being as well as your familys. If you feel that your relationship does not have any true love or respect, and if you think that it would be for the best that you seperate, even for a little while, then don't feel that you cannot make that choice. A relationship should not consist of one or both persons trying to control each other. I myself have experience with controlling people, and I can relate to your frustration, but for me it was very important that I stood up to the person even when they were being extremely stubborn.
My mother complains of a similar situation, in the sense that my father has control issues. He is a very very controlling and stubborn man, and often plays mind games on my mother and his children. They have been married for 30 years, still together, and she is thoroughly miserable. I don't think she will ever leave him, simply because she is so dependant on him now, but I digress.
I guess my point is, please don't let yourself become so unhappy. Think about what you really really want, be it a better relationship with your wife or a divorce, and make sure you put your heart and soul into making things work out and end up with you being happy. I know if you did go through a divorce, the effect on your children worries you, and I'm not going to lie, I know plenty of people who were effected badly by their parents divorce, but children see their parents relationship and learn from it. If there is a loveless or adversarial environment, this is much more harmful to your children than a divorce. The way you and your wife handle a divorce plays a crucial part in how your children would be affected. If both parties made sure the children understood they were still equally loved and not abandoned, and that their parents may not love each other anymore but still respect one another as the parent of their child, it may not be so bad.
I really hope you find happiness.
Reply from RUBICCON13 on Aug 14 2013 at 17:22
Member since: 15 July 2013 Gender: Female
Lets start off with you are not at fault. Both you and your wife need a break from the reading, blaming, and the elevation of this diagnosis. By now you both know enough facts about ADHD, so take a break from all that and switch the focus. The focus is the children, they may have concerns, address them together, they will need more love and attention, give that to them together. Seek counseling.... Together. I'm a mom of an Autistic young man. His dad and I work always as I team. When I tried to blame myself , he would not let me. Instead we poured out more love and attention on our son and that has made him progress in his life positively. No control issues, no pointing, we a 360 from fighting, to just loving our son and it worked. When the kids are happy, you are happier. Hugs to you and your family. Try this and I am praying you both participate in Not letting ADHD destroy your family.
Reply from SOTIRED on Aug 14 2013 at 20:39
Member since: 14 August 2013
Hi NIC and RUBICCON13,
Thank you for you responses. I guess I've left a few things out. We have attended marriage counseling for about 7-8 months two years ago. Anything the counselor said that my didn't like, she would dismiss. So needless to say we didn't make much progress. In my opinion she needs to accept the fact that if this relationship is going to work, she needs put in the work too.
We went to one session last we with an different psychologist and after her comments he asked me if I wanted to continue seeing him and I said of course. He then told her that she didn't need to come back. I haven't met with him yet but I'm really curious to see what he has to say about her demeanor. I know in her mind she has been vindicated that I am the problem and he needs to work on me and not her.
I have told her where I am with our marriage and she acts like the one being hurt and betrayed. No matter what I say, I'm at fault and I need fix something or change my attitude. I'm at a point where I don't want fall into the Grass is Greener syndrome, but life like this pretty much sucks and there has to be something / someone better. I am very involved with and devoted to my children. I love them VERY much and am fearful that my wife will do whatever she can to destroy that if I choose to end the marriage. That's really why I'm still in the marriage.
Again thanks for taking the time to respond, it's greatly appreciated.
Reply from TINAW on Aug 15 2013 at 01:34
Member since: 12 July 2013 Gender: Female
Here is the skinny on your situation, it is always complicated. Divorce is complicated. Do not fool yourself into thinking it will not hurt. The ultimate question for you is, can you go through the process or is it simply easier to stay? In most cases, it is easier to stay and be unhappy-its familiar. Life as a single man is the unknown. Make yourself happy. Happiness is a series of events. Happiness is not peace. Believe it or not, an unhappy spouse can find peace in the marriage-its familiar. All of the bad vices between the two is familiar. Sounds crazy, but its a way of coping. However, if you are looking for happiness, then you have to create the series of events as a married man, away from your spouse or as a single man. Start to do things, JUST FOR YOU. People consider divorce, but their are other alternatives-no I lam not speaking of adultery. Take a trip, just for you. Join a bowling league, just for you. Go swimming-just for you. When you return to your familiar complaining wife, she will effect you less and less. Also, stop responding to negative energy. When she starts complaining and blaming find something positive to do for yourself. After 27 years of marriage, she needs to learn to sit down and probably BE QUIET.
Reply from NIC on Aug 15 2013 at 09:05
- unregistered user
Well it's good at least that you could return to see the psychologist on your own. I highly doubt from what you've said he would want to see you alone because he feels the problem is with you. You could have a word with him about your wife and her nature, he may have some advice on how to deal with her attitude, and get through to her. Perhaps he may even have ideas for introuducing ways to compromise without your wife feeling she is being blamed somehow. It's unfortunate, but there are just some people who will not accept responsibility for things they feel arn't their fault, even when others can see differently.
It's disheartening that sometimes, ladies take divorce badly and make the situation around the children difficult. I respect you for sticking around in such a difficult situation for your children, and I'm sure you are a fantastic father, but should this situation arise I'm sure there are legal routes you could try to protect your rights as a Father.
I do highly agree with TINAW though, you do need to make time for yourself, it will make you happier and more relaxed. It's cliche I know, but life is so brief and fragile, get out there and make yourself happy even if its just something simple that you enjoy.
Reply from SOTIRED on Aug 15 2013 at 11:36
Member since: 14 August 2013
TINAW and NIC thanks for the feedback.
I do get some alone time, maybe not a trip though. As I said before , I am very involved with my children, Boy Scouts, soccer, ballet, fishing, camping etc., so my spare time isn't abundant. I'm okay with that because my kids bring me so much happiness! Unfortunately, my wife has managed to push most of our friends away, but I am still able to get together with some of them from time to time.
I'm not sure I agree with staying in a relationship just because it's familiar. I, and I'm sure most people do, yearn for passion, to be loved and wanted and to feel the same for another. To want spend every moment with them, rather then avoid each other.
So, is it better to stay in an unhappy but familiar relationship, or go it alone and hope to find someone that will make you happy?
Again, your responses have been very helpful. I'm in a bad place right now and just being able get some input/perspective from others is therapeutic. I have my first one on one with my psychologist tonight. I am very curious to see what he has to said about our relationship. Like I said before, she saw it as a huge win that he said he didn't need to meet with her. We'll see....
Reply from SOTIRED on Aug 19 2013 at 16:57
Member since: 14 August 2013
Okay, so I met with the psychologist last week and he asked for my perspective on the situation and I laid out pretty much what I have here, maybe a few more details. He thought I was spot on with my assessment. Keep in mind that both my wife and I have met with him on several separate occasions when our oldest was in counseling for his ADHD. So it isn't like he has only talked with her once. Without coming out and saying it, he made it clear he didn't have much hope of her coming to grips with some of her issues. I know I'm not perfect, but she really has to be able to look in the mirror. I feel closer to leaving the relationship now.
One of my big points was that even if I have ADD or ADHD, I would still be who I am even with treatment and my wife would still be unhappy. He agreed with this, so it seems to me no matter what I do, she ultimately has an issue who I am.
For the week or so I have been keeping my distance, mostly because I'm exhausted with the same conversation. Any time I point out something she has done that hurts me, she simply dismisses, minimizes or flips it back to me. Exhausting! Plus, it's kind of hard for me to be around her when she has no concept of how embarrassing and hurtful her behavior was when she told the psychologist she would walk out if he “flipped” anything back to her.
So this past weekend we didn't do much together. There was a movie we have been wanting to see, but I suggested that she go with her childhood friend on Saturday night and I would find something to do with our younger two kids, the oldest was working. As luck would have it a co-worker offered me three tickets for a Saturday night ball game he was unable to use. When I talked to the kids Friday evening, they were both ready to go to the game, but my daughter changed her mind on Saturday morning. I told her it was no big deal and we would find something else to do.
Around mid-morning, away from the children, my wife suggested that I take them bowling. I thanked her for the suggestion and told her was still considering a few ideas. In less than a half hour, my daughter asked if we could go bowling the night. When I asked where she got that idea, she said mommy told her. Frankly, I was a little pissed and felt like my wife was trying to manipulate and or control our evening even though she wouldn't be there.
When I asked her why she did that and that I thought it was manipulative, she dismissed that idea and said she felt sorry for me because my daughter changed her mind about going to the game.
This common behavior from my wife and my perspective is that this was totally manipulative and controlling behavior. Any thoughts or feedback?
Oh by the way, we didn't go bowling. We went to the park with our dog and kicked the soccer ball around for a while, then went for ice cream, came home and played a few board games. We had a great time!