Wife is Pulling Away
Q: My wife and I have been married for 14 years and we have three boys together. Up until two years ago everything was going great and then something changed. She started wanting to go out with friends for drinks. She also opened her own checking account. I know that she has been lying to me about a lot of things, and I have confronted her. She says that I am too controlling and she doesn't want to argue and that is why she lies. She promised that she is done lying to me. I can't help but feel like she is pulling away from me. When we are out she spends a lot of time texting friends. She says she loves me and that she just needs to blow off some steam. I don't feel that she is having an affair or anything, but I feel left out of her life and lonely. I have never thought about having an affair until now. I am desperately trying to hold it together, but her new-found social life has tanked our marriage. Any suggestions? I still really truly love her. -- Bob, 34
Dr. Susan: The two of you need to get all your feelings out in the open. When she says you're too controlling, could there be some truth to that? What does she mean exactly? Does she have to account for every hour and every dollar? In my opinion, a wife who wants to go out drinking with friends without inviting her husband along is saying something. What she may be saying is "I'm bored, I want to have fun, I want a little excitement in my life." But what she may find is trouble. Her excuses for lying to you are common ones, but relationships cannot thrive without honesty. As for her texting her friends when she's out with you, that's plain rude. Even if everyone does it. Tell her the truth, that you need her, miss her, and want to do more things together that are fun for both of you, that allow both of you to blow off steam. I fear she's begun to take steps to distance herself from you, exactly as you suspect. It's your job to find out why and to get her to realize she's risking your marriage.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.