QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
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My wife and I have had a tumultuous five-year
marriage. The main cause of the stress, in my opinion, has been my wife's
attachment to her parents. In addition, we are both jealous and controlling.
Furthermore, my wife has been unemployed. She is confused by all of this and
questions whether she loves me. She wants to separate. This has devastated me.
What can I do other than just give her the space she wants and
Your marriage sounds very rocky with many issues in need of
resolution: jealousy, relations with parents, possessiveness, and
unemployment. There are probably other issues as well. All relationships
take two parties to create conflict. Even if only one person learns more
effective ways of communicating, it can greatly improve the relationship.
Thus, I see three possible courses of action open to you:
1. You could do nothing and hope that your wife returns. Of course the
chances are that if she returns, your marriage will return to where it was and
the problems will continue. If she doesn't return, you will still be the same
possessive, jealous, controlling guy you have always been. It is likely that
you will find yourself in similar circumstances again.
2. While you are waiting, you could seek professional help yourself so that
you can get a better understanding of your jealousy and controlling behavior.
At least by seeking help you might be able to avoid the same problems with
others. This will also help you to relate to your wife more
effectively should she return. It may also help you demonstrate that you have
changed which could affect her decision to return.
3. You could suggest to your wife that you both seek professional marriage
counseling. A marriage counselor might be able to help you both understand
how you are contributing to the stress and your marriage and assist you in
finding better ways to communicate. Once you learn how to communicate you
might be able to find workable solutions to your marital struggles.
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.