When we married, my wife and I were in love, and created a happy life together.
We had two children (now ages seven and five), we both had good jobs and enjoyed being parents, doing normal domestic things, and being together at night.
Two years ago, my wife changed. She went to therapy to deal with whatever was bothering her.
Meanwhile, she surprised me with getting a tattoo, started going out at night without me, and partying with friends.
If I’d known she would change to this other person, I wouldn’t have married her.
Now, she’s insisted I leave the home I loved so much, and we’re in the process of divorcing.
Is there any hope that we can return to who we once were?
Not My Same Wife
Sometimes, there’s still hope for a couple to re-unite after a split and behaviour changes, if both partners go through therapy that re-examines the past.
But both must also have the will and make the effort to try again, together.
For now, it’s the children who need your focus. Try to come to amicable agreements with your wife about how to carry on with joint parenting.
Since her lifestyle has changed somewhat, you want to assure, with her, that the kids are kept comfortable and secure through their times spent with each of you.
As things settle, try to learn what it was that prompted some of the changes in your wife – perhaps, marrying too young, restlessness, etc.
Understanding is a step towards feeling compassion and even forgiveness.
What happens after that depends on whether there’s any emotional ties left between you.
At the least, understanding her better allows for a healthier ex-spouse relationship.
I love my husband of ten years. We have three young children and agree on most things related to our home, schedules, and finances.
Even when we disagree on some things, we can usually work it out.
But when it comes to parenting, my husband can be so extreme in his thoughts on punishment, that he scares me!
In every other aspect, he’s a great father and would never harm our children.
But I’m afraid that one day he’ll go too far.
When our eldest son, who’s nine, misbehaves even mildly, my husband overreacts and threatens him with something extreme.
He’ll start to undo his belt, and chase the boy, yelling.
I start to cry, as do the other kids, my son’s shrieking, and the house is in chaos.
When he catches our son, he’ll take down his pants and put him over his knee, then wave the belt in his hand, and say something like, “that’s what you deserve, next time this happens.”
I’ve told him it’s extreme, and too frightening for us all. But he brushes me off.
How can I convince him that this scare-tactic is wrong, and that one day he’ll regret going too far?
Discipline through Fear
These are your children too, and you have every right and need to protect them from frightening tactics and excessive discipline, which amounts to emotional abuse.
This isn’t about “convincing” him. It’s about insisting that he get anger management counselling, immediately.
Before he resorts to physical abuse and you have to deal with children’s protection services.
His overreaction comes from somewhere deep inside – other frustrations, his upbringing – things that have nothing to do with this child.
Say that the problem is his, not the child’s. And you won’t stand for it any more.
I work with a small group of women in an intense environment in a health-care facility.
Our “motherly” boss is always asking how we are, whether we need help, whether anything at home’s bothering us, etc.
I feel that I’ve already told her too much about my relationship with my husband, and our ongoing issues.
I’m now working on these things with him and professional help.
I no longer want to share with her but don’t know how to say so without insulting her.
Want My Privacy
Put a smile on your face and simply respond to any inquiry, “things are better now. Thanks.”
She’s mostly interested in having you able to give your best to the work at hand. Any further inquiries, though well meant, are intrusive if you don’t care to share.
If she persists, tell her you appreciate her interest and help in the past, but you’re handling it fine with your husband now. Period.
Tip of the day:
People change dramatically for a reason. Understanding is key to getting along even after separating.