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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Ive been married now for 10 years. I married a professional

Customer Question

I've been married now for 10 years. I married a professional golfer. He's never made the PGA tournament but been close. He instead has played mini tours and the first half of our marriage was successful. The past few years have been really bad though and I'm watching a 40 year old man not being able to cope. We now have 2 little girls, 2 and 5. Golf is expensive and he's put us in major credit card debt for 3 years now. 80,000-100,000 each time his father Takes care of it each year how? Ive no clue hes an accountant and doesnt seem to have that kind of money His father is as desperate as he is in wanting his son to keep living the dream my husband is very dependent on him and i think hes more concerned about what his father thinks than me ive even tried to talk to his father when he and my husband did not let me have a dime of our tax refund and he told me that he didnt like me and that i was evil!

My husband has also spiraled into heavy drinking where one night he physically harmed me. I tried to talk to his parents about it but they make excuses for him and blame his behavior on me.


me. Infidelity has also been an issue.
He's also wiped out our daughters savings account you name it he's done it. Why can't I have the courage to divorce? I keep holding onto hope when he speaks of getting another career but it falls through. What am I waiting for? I don't want to be the one to tear up the family.

that my father contributed.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

You don't have the courage to divorce him because I suspect, you haven't planned out your 'exit' from the marriage carefully enough. If you don't have a really well thought-out plan for leaving a marriage, you won't have the confidence to actually do it. So, lets walk through what you've done. First, you're realizing that things are probably going to get much worse before he sees 'the light' if he ever does i.e., that his is almost certainly over the hill as a competitive golf pro and since he hasn't 'made it' now, he probably won't. In fact, he is like thousands and thousands of other golfers who 'nearly' made it. So financially you need to be well prepared to take care of yourself if you do decide to ever leave. Do you have a good job or solid career skills with adequate earning power? If you do not, before you consider divorcing, you should probably start taking vocational training classes or retool with evening classes at a local college, or online. If you are set with a decent career plan, all ready to execute, then great. Next is money. You need to be squirreling away a few dollars here and there---perhaps have a trusted parent put it in an account, because you may need to relocate if you don't succeed in sending your husband packing, and staying in your present home. But there are inevitable attorney fees or other sudden expenses associated with breaking up a relationship, such as paperwork, paying for extra child care so you can take care of separation or divorce details, etc. You've talked to an attorney and I assume, you understand the divorce laws in your state, property distribution laws, custody/visitation arrangements that are customary, etc. As mean-spirited as it sounds, you should probably develop a few points of leverage with your husband if he becomes unreasonable with any of his treatment of you during a separation or divorce. If you have hard evidence of his infidelity, then any exposure of this sort of think in a divorce proceeding will taint his professional reputation, in the event he wants to move into training, lessons, etc., as a training pro some day. And, you may want to spend a few more therapy or counseling sessions sorting out your conflicting thoughts about your life and marriage, if you are still in conflict about what you want your life to be, say, 3 years from now. My main point with the above discussion is to help you have good detailed plans in place that you feel confident about, in the event you want to take action some day with separation or divorce.

The way you push for change is to have a talk with your husband or put your thoughts in a letter. Tell him that 'enough is enough'. You want to set a firm time line for him to either move into another profession, or start retraining for a new career by a certain date, or you will ask him to move out. He can then pursue his golf dream entirely on his own. Tell him the gradual increase in his drinking is a clear sign that he is struggling to cope with his disappointment regarding his failure to fulfill his dream of being a successful pro golfer. But the drinking is also blinding him to the reality that he needs to make a difficult career change. So I would set a 1-2 month deadline for him to get moving on something else. That 1-2 month deadline means that he needs to be showing he is either enrolled in classes to retrain, or working at a regular job, even if it is selling sporting goods/golf equipment in a major chain sporting goods store. What do you think?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Makes sense. Yes, im lacking confidence bc i dont know how i could afford to be a single parent id be in better shape actually since i would be free of his thousands of dollars of debt on credit cards

I'm a school teacher and assuming we'd need to sell the house. That's an issue too for me. I love where I live.

You're right that I need more therapy to talk this through.

The deadline talk has happened before yet I don't follow through bc I'm not really prepared with a plan that I can fall back on. This is what I need to be concentrating on.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
Very well. You need to take all of the time you need to protect yourself and get prepared. You would almost certainly have to sell the house unfortunately, because even if it was turned over to you through a divorce settlement, he wouldn't keep up the payments on it, even if this was court-ordered, and you couldn't afford the payments if it basically has no equity in it. I suspect your monthly house payments are $3-$4K per month---nothing a teacher's salary can handle, of course. But, on a teacher's salary, and without the burden of your husband's financial problems, you could probably afford to pick up something through a short sale or distressed property owner on the cheap right now, and have a very low interest rate. It would be your place, under your control, on your terms. I have to believe that if your marriage broke down, the emotional pain and distress you'd experience would be offset a fair amount by simply the PEACE you'd feel in not having to worry about what this man does with his life, how he is creating utter emotional and financial helplessness in your life, etc. What burden that would be to have disappear, would it not?

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. I'd like to recommend that you cut/paste our posts together and save them, and print them out, so you can re-read them when you need to remind yourself to refocus on self-preservation issues. Please click on the green Accept button on the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I live in Texas. Low cost of living. Our mortgage is only 1300 a month but my salary is 3500 so with property taxes that are 4000 and homeowners fee which is about 350 every quarter it would hit me hard. He still is my best friend. On the surface, we have fun. We've been spending this holiday weekend together and been happy yet I have walls up when it comes to anything more intimate. He tries to be physical with me and I'm like an ice cube. He's so attracted to me, but I am distant. We women are complicated. Once we lose trust in our spouse, they have to earn it back. Like you're saying... I need action!!! No more talk... I can't trust or respect him until I see the change in him. He thinks I'm just going to be intimate with him after I've been building up these walls to protect myself? I'm not an animal. Im a complicated human being that has no physical drive for him at the present time.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
I hope you can make him understand what will be required of him in terms of direct actions and serious changes in his thinking about his career, how money is managed, etc. You may feel women are complicated and perhaps this is true, but what you are asking for is NOT complicated. Only serious behavior changes will pave the way for you to begin trusting him again, feel confidence in him as a marital partner. If guys don't realize that sexual activity with any meaning is contingent on faith, trust, and confidence in one's spouse, then I would guess they are fairly dull or stupid. I suspect your husband knows something is serously wrong about how you feel deeply/emotionally about sexual relations and serious intimacy; so he likely knows exactly what the roadblocks are ibut he isn't ready or willing to do anything about it yet. I wonder if you might find it useful to pool together some of the thoughts we have shared on this post, summarizing them and then sharing them with your husband. As I said, no matter what happens, I think there is plenty you can and should do in thinking and planning about how you may need to live by yourself in the event this situation gets worse or seems like it simply won't change for you. What do you think?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 3 years ago.
My customer roster shows that this question has been 'timed out'. If you would like to provide a response to my last post, please feel free to do so. Alternatively, please hit the green Accept button at the bottom of this screen so I may receive credit for answering this question. Thanks.

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Dr. Michael
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Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.