New Wife Fooling Around

Q: After a six-month courtship, I married my wife (I'm 54, she's 49). Only then did I realize how flirtatious she was. And now, after four months of separation with no communication, I just filed for a divorce that I do not want.

One of the serious issues is that she was on a rodeo committee, and she would tell me about guys kidding with her about using her as bait to attract men to her committee . Once when we were married only a month, she came home from a parade slightly drunk and called me the name of the guy she spent the day with. She would not let me meet any of these men. She would never tell me where she was, and she wouldn't even let me take her to rodeo events not involving her committee. When the rodeo came around, I asked her to drop it because it brought me much pain. I won't go into all the giving I did to make this marriage work. But my wife is very self-centered.

On top of that, I lost a big job at the same time she got a big job on an interim basis. Then she threw me out of her house. Now, I have learned that she is not doing well in her job and may lose it shortly. In addition, she has not paid her mortgage in four months and stands to lose her house. (I saved the house when I first married her.) I hear and suspect that she may try to come back to me after I finish my new job negotiations.

I have been in therapy for love addiction and codependency. I still care for her. Any recommendations? -- Stan

Dr. Susan: One of the hardest parts of this job is the fact that men tend to write me letters only when things are really complicated and their problems have already been going on a long time. Stan, you mentioned you'd been in therapy. I hope you're still going, because the mess you've gotten yourself into isn't one you can solve in an instant. I think you made a mistake getting hooked up with this woman, if what you say is true and there's not another whole side to the story (there often is). Apparently, in your short marriage, she's broken every trust-building rule in the book.

Though she's entitled to a life of her own, and it's fine that she's a rodeo lover, it's suspicious that she won't allow you to meet her male friends. Both partners need to give one hundred percent and have no real secrets from one another (other than minor stuff like what they ate for lunch or fantasized during sex). Co-dependence of the sort you're describing, where you repeatedly put up with outrageous behavior because you can't live without her, dooms you to misery. You say you helped her financially, lost your job, then got kicked out. You think she may "come back" after you are once again making good money. My advice? For now, lock your door and hide. Then bright and early, get back to your therapist and figure out why you're choosing to be with a woman who walks all over you rather than one who reciprocates your giving attitude.

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