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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5053
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My husbamd filed for divorce behind my back and I was served

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My husbamd filed for divorce behind my back and I was served with papers last week. I am heartbroken, devastated, and panicking. We have only been married 2 years. I can't beg him to.go to marriage counseling. He thinks it's not going to work and that it's hopeless. I disagree. I know we can work things out. He says he doesn't want it. I, however am willing to do what it takes to save my marriage. I don't know what to do. I have to back off and allow him breathing room. Otherwise, I know I will push him further away. I want to let thongs settle a bit before attempting to talk with him again. How long should I wait before brining up the subject again?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern today

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that this is occurring for you right now, I can understand how hurt and devastated you must be feeling right now.

Dr. Z :

I would like to ask you a few questions to get some more information, so that I can better assist you today

Dr. Z :

It sounds like that him filing for divorce was a shock to you by how you phrased the question, but I would like to ask if you saw any signs that the marriage was in trouble for this? For example, increasing in fights, less intimacy, more isolation, etc...?

Dr. Z :

Also has your husband ever threatened with divorce or ending the marriage before this?

Customer:

we have been married two years. We have had a lot of arguments and fights. He has never threatened divorce but I have

Customer:

We have only been married for two years. We have been having a lot of fights and arguments. However, during this time we have never really tried to work things out. We have never been to marriage counseling. we have only tried to work thimgs out

Customer:

amongst ourselves and two angry people trying to work tjings out doesn't work.

Dr. Z :

I am also reading your other question that you posed to the legal department and it sounds like your husband was very emotionally abusive and controlling, which led to a lot of the fights because you are an independent person who does not like to be controlled, is that correct?

Customer:

I have threatened divorce because I was angry. not because I meant it.

Customer:

Ues

Customer:

Yes. that is.correct

Dr. Z :

So many individuals who appear to be controlling like you describe your Husband do not like couple's therapy because then they lose that sense of control and dominance. So getting him to therapy will be difficult, but you describe him as a loving father, so if you focus on your child during this that may persuade him about marital counseling

Dr. Z :

The way you want to bring up the subject is in a couple weeks, you probably want to ask him if he wants to have coffee to talk about things face to face. A public place will be good so that neither person can get too angry, and then you can pose that you believe that marriage counseling would be best to help salvage the relationship and help you both communicate better with each other. It will also help you both to be more loving parents for your child.

Dr. Z :

You are definitely right that he should take some time to breathe and get some space to think about things, but you do not want it to be too much time, this is why I suggest 2 weeks to talk to him about this subject.

Dr. Z :

Also in the meantime you can start reading some really good books on this subject to show that you are making the effort and really want to resume and save the relationship. I think he will appreciate this and will help him lean more towards possible marriage counseling

Dr. Z :

I would like to recommend these books for you

Customer:

I have tried that. Then he tells me it should be for us and not for our daughter. He said we shouldn't be in a marriage for her. Not for the kids. He's also a very stubborn person. I believe this can be done. I

Dr. Z :

Now when he gets controlling and frustrates/angers you, I definitely think that is not appropriate behavior and hopefully therapy can change that behavior in him. But I think you should express that anger, but only in an assertive and appropriate manner. This worksheet can help with that because it will teach how to be assertive with your anger, so that you are more in control

Dr. Z :

Well then you can tell him that at least give it a try for "us as there is no harm in this. Since he is stubborn and controlling, you may want to coax him into therapy by stating things you want to work on yourself with him through therapy, this help lower his defenses and help him be more approachable about therapy

Dr. Z :

Because right now he is failing to take responsibility for his actions and hopefully with the use of therapy he will change that, but that is no guarantee. But if you boost his ego a little bit by pointing out more faults of yours, you may be able to get his foot in the door to therapy, which is what you want

Customer:

I keep telling myself that this isn't happening or he'll change his.mind or he'll come around. I seem to be more interested in this than accepting the fact that is just may be over.

Dr. Z :

Now obviously his issues are very important, but this is about getting him into therapy and then issues can be brought up gradually so as to correct his behavior and help the marriage succeed.

Dr. Z :

Well I think your husband may have issues beyond this where he may not be interested in continuing the marriage and your grief over the possible loss of your marriage can be causing a denial. I am just trying to give you tactics to help him get to therapy because that is what you want, but even if he goes to therapy there is no guarantee that he will respond well to it.

Customer:

At least we would have tried. If It doesn't work it doesn't work. But at least we would have tried.

Dr. Z :

I understand, I think this is your best approach to trying to make it work, but it is up to him to make the effort now. You are making an enormous effort and sacrifice to save this marriage, but you cannot do it all on your own. He must meet you half-way and be dedicated to the marriage as you are.

Customer:

Of course, I am.also terrified of losing my daugter because of what I stated in my previous question. So I have that feeling of loss on top of this feeling of loss.

Dr. Z :

Well actually I have testified in a number of similar cases for child custody and while I do not see full custody being possible for you or him, I do see joint/shared custody being possible with a possible stipulation that you all go through family counseling to help with his emotional abuse and your anger reactions, since both will be brought up in a custody battle, if there is a custody battle.

Dr. Z :

This is what I have recommended and seen judges recommend in cases very similar to yours.

Dr. Z :

Are you still there?

Dr. Z :

I see that you are offline right now, but when you get back online I would be very interested in continuing this discussion with you and talking about anything further you would like to share regarding your concern, so if you respond in the chat box I will be able to get back to you as soon as possible.

Dr. Z :

I see that you are online do you have any questions or concerns that I can assist you with?

Customer:

My apologies for going offline. Had to get on a plane to L.A. I did some thinking about what you suggested about how I and he should focus on our daughter. Iwas able to locate the name of a social worker in my town who specilaizes in parent/toddler relations. I think maybe going to see her during this difficult time may be helpful to all 3 of us. She also does couples counseling. But I think if I make an appointment hopefully I could agree to get him to go. I can explain to him that I am having a rough time accepting this and I am worried about the effect of my emotions on the baby maybe through my daughter we can start to get things worked out. Also, if he doesn't agree to even that, I could use that against him during a custody hearing. What do you think? Good or will it push him further away?

Customer:

If he really loves her and cares about her well being, I don't see why I couldn't get him to go to something like that.

Dr. Z :

No worries, I understand that you had to catch a flight to LA, I actually went to my doctoral program in LA. I actually think that is a very good idea because you are putting the whole family first and your concern for the whole family is your chief priority, so I fully support you making an appointment with that Social worker.

Customer:

What if he still won't go?

Dr. Z :

And yes I do agree that you are making an effort to do what is best for your daughter, your marriage, and the marriage as whole and that will look positively on you in a custody hearing

Dr. Z :

If he does not go, continue the appointment with you and your daughter. This will help you psychologically and will help again with your custody hearing too

Dr. Z :

Eventually he may decide to go in time because he wants his voice to be heard as well

Dr. Z :

Remember he likes to be in control and being out of the loop will cause him anxiety

Customer:

Part of the point though is for all three of us. But the focus will be on how we relate to her and how this will effect her. Then slowly maybe it'll help us better understand her so we can be betterparents to her and if we can see that, maybe it'll slowly help us.

Dr. Z :

I agree, and I think it would be better for all three of you and for your daughter, but if he refuses to go, there will still be some benefits for your daughter even if it is just you going to the sessions.

Dr. Z :

So I think it is a win-win situation for you as if he goes than you work on repairing your marriage possibly, and if he refuses then this looks good for you during a custody hearing and you will be closer with your daughter too

Customer:

Should I make the appointment first then tell him? Or should I ask him first? I think I should ask him. But then when I think how he filed for divorce without even talking to me about it, I think I should just go ahead and do it.

Dr. Z :

I think you should tell him and give him the opportunity to have a say in this and come to the appointment, but if he declines make the appointment anyway and say that he has an open invitation if he wants to join. Just because he filed for divorce behind your back does not mean you have to stoop to his level

Customer:

I know how much he adores her, so I hope he'll agree to it.

Dr. Z :

I hope he agrees to it as well

Dr. Z :

I think you have a good plan here and a lot of valuable resources as well to help you

Customer:

I'll tell him the appointment is for Caroline. If he does refuse, it just confirms what kind of man he is and do I really need him in my life?

Customer:

Caroline is our daughter

Dr. Z :

Exactly if he refuses you do not deserve this man in your life and you deserve someone better.

Dr. Z :

I think though he will consider the appointment for Caroline's well being

Customer:

I hope so.

Dr. Z :

Me too :)

Dr. Z :

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5053
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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