I’m losing it in this marriage. She was the first girl I’d met on the internet, eight years ago.
Several dates later, she stayed over. I had to work next morning, so gave her my key to lock up.
But after a while of her yelling at me whenever I’d go out and constant accusations of cheating, I asked her to move out. She refused.
I began to drink more. When I tried to break up, she’d threaten to inform my parents that I was a heavy drinker. She kept refusing my suggestions that she leave. She was in school so I didn’t want to impact her education by insisting.
When she finished school, it was a good time to end it, but she’d bought herself an engagement ring. She ignored my saying I couldn’t be engaged.
She experienced many lows throughout the next couple of years - being in a bad workplace, and then getting caught innocently in the midst of a street shooting which killed two people and wounded others.
Her wedding planning gave her something to focus on and distract her. She couldn’t/wouldn’t accept my not wanting to get married, threatening harming herself.
Now I’m miserable and don’t know what to do. We’re incompatible. She’s very anxious about the world; I’m adventurous and social.
I’m accused of always putting her down and not understanding her.
Married and Miserable
Step One: Go to a website with lists of online experts who can diagnose whether Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is what’s affecting her, and counsel you both about her anxiety. She needs help to rebuild self-confidence and trust others.
Step Two: Stop excusing your own inaction and urge her to choose someone to counsel her online, individually.
From earliest days, you’ve unintentionally added to her insecurity by caving to her moving in, drinking to avoid discussion, hiding from serious confrontation, and marrying against your own feelings.
But now you recognize the effects of her terrifying exposure to gun violence.
This isn’t only about your unhappiness. Help her deal with her anxieties, so she can handle her daily life and become able to face the future.
Once she can regain self-confidence, she may also recognize that you’re not the right partner for her.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding losing in-laws who’ve become friends when adult children divorce (December 26):
“I suffered a painful divorce after 24 years of marriage. I’d become particularly close with my sister-in-law and got along extremely well with my ex-husband's parents/siblings.
“These ex-in-laws were still my children's family. After a lot of soul-searching and therapy, I decided they were still family.
“I advise leading by example. I held a graduation party for one of my children and I invited everybody as I’d done before.
“I discovered that if I made everyone feel welcome and comfortable, they reciprocated.
“My in-laws were so happy to attend. Since then, there’ve been showers, weddings, babies, funerals, illnesses. I've been included in many of their family functions. I go along not necessarily to everything but to important family events.
“The key is having good boundaries, not creating drama, and not doing too much too soon or too fast.
“If the friendships were strong before the break up, everyone knows it.
“I believe that I was a good role model for how to weather a difficult break-up and be an adult.
“We're all still connected because of children and grandchildren and none of us want to miss those important events that we would’ve shared before.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding living with an alcoholic partner:
“In 2015, my partner died of a heart attack brought on by his chronic alcoholism. I’d tried everything - doctors, lawyers, police, counsellors, rehabilitation programs, psychologists, over a 10-year period.
“He was considered the victim of circumstances related to the disease of alcohol addiction, and there was nothing legally I could do to force a resolution.
“He was unwilling or unable to stop. I was left to pick up the pieces during this nightmare of seizures, cleaning up sickness, severe depression, etc.
“Some people are incapable of a cure from this disease, and some are unable to establish the parameters of “tough love.” That was our relationship.
“My advice - knowing the difficulty of separating the past loving person to the current unruly one - is to let them go and stand by your decision!
“I wish I’d had the strength to force the issue.”
Tip of the day:
If negative about a relationship, caving in is unfair to you both.