My wife and I have been married for 5 years. Our
relationship has had many ups and down and lots of stress. The main causes of
stress are: my wife being too close to her parents, being too jealous of each
other, wanting to control each other, and my wife not being able to find a
job. My wife feels overwhelmed by all this even though she knows that I love
her and am willing to make things better. She now feels confused and that she
may not love me. She wants us to be separated until she makes a decision.
She says that she needs space and time to make sure she loves me. This is
devastating to me. Also, she told me because of all our problems that she has
looked at another man as better and let him flirt at her. She said that is
not the reason why we are splitting, but I think it added to her confusion.
She said there is nothing I could do to get her back, it will be her decision
when she feels ready to make it. I am giving her the space, what else can I
I can sense your pain and feeling of devastation. Your marriage has
been difficult. Despite loving each other, there have been many issues that
seem to drive you apart. Recently your wife has made a decision to separate
in order to give herself the time and space to think things through. In the
meantime you are feeling helpless, feeling that you have no alternative but
to give her the time and space she needs.
You might want to use this time as an opportunity for you to evaluate
yourself. You might want to examine the role you played in creating the
stress between you. Marriage is like a dance, each partner making a
contribution. When one person begins to change, the dance changes. You can
change some aspects of your behavior and thereby change the nature of the
interaction between you.
The issues of jealousy and control can be very destructive to any
relationship. You state that you both have difficulties in these areas.
What contribution has your jealousy and wish to control your wife played in
creating the current situation? How can you change in these areas to be more
accepting, trusting, and loving? What can you do about being more of a "best
friend" to your wife and less of a critic? Perhaps you could suggest to your
wife that you would like to seek professional help together to learn how you
can be a better husband.
Most men have few good role models for relating to women. What we learn, we
learn in the street, from observing those around us, and from our friends.
Given the high proportion of marriages that end in divorce, it becomes clear
that these are not good sources of information.
Since both of you have invested five years into your marriage it might be a
good idea to seek some expert guidance from a licensed marriage counselor
before you end the marriage. Time and space, without intervention, may not
be sufficient to get your marriage on track.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.