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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5045
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My wife (filipino) and I (inidian) have been married 15 years

Resolved Question:

My wife (filipino) and I (inidian) have been married 15 years (officially married 15 yrs ago by justice of peace), and later married with family present 11 years ago). Two sons 8, and 6 (autistic). Wife just decided to move out because she feels she deserves better. She says she doesn't feel loved, doesn't feel like an equal. Her biggest gripes: questioning her expenses, overriding her opinions, generally not showing her love and affection;

I did not want her to leave when she first suggested it two months ago, I told her why--kids, and lesser chance of reconciliation if there is physical separation. She stayed then, and we attempted therapy with two solo sessions and one group session. in the past two months ive slept in a separate room, and no intimacy. We've tried to be nice and civil, but from time to time we get into discussions about our relationship and why we are here now. Ive tried to show her gestures of love (flowers, a mix cd, gift card to spa), but she says while they're nice, they make her angry and sad that i didnt do them all along. she says her mind is now hardened...

She also says when she decided to move out, she didnt think i would try or care to save the marriage. She says she has been thinking about separation on/off for a couple of years. Now she says shes even more confused, and it's "making her think" about it all. But she says she couldnt continue living together because the living arrangement is not allowing her mind to rest and come to terms with all the emotions she is feeling.

My question... what should i hope for in terms of possibilities of reconciliation? I plan on working on myself in order to address all those issues. I want her back, and I believe WE are worth saving.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry to hear about your marriage issues with your wife, I can understand how this would distress you

Customer:

thank you.

Dr. Z :

It is hard to say what the odds of reconciliation are going to be, but it appears her confusion is currently caused by her misjudgment of you because she you did not care about her or the marriage and that was clearly false, so this a good thing for you

Dr. Z :

So I think if you continue down this path working on yourself and working with her to repair the marriage, there is a positive chance that you two can re-conciliate, but it will take time.

Customer:

its because we have had bad fights before that i would get frustrated, and have said, "if you dont like me or want to be with me, you can just leave." i was saying at as a bluff, and hoping that she would be scared by that, and back off.

Dr. Z :

But now you understand that was passive aggressive and actually made her feel worse

Customer:

but unfortunately the seed was planted in her head. and i think it gave her the idea that i wouldnt care or try to save the marriage.

Customer:

i realize it will take time

Customer:

i have to SHOW her that im worth returning back to. my question is how do i SHOW her when she's not living with me? like she wants to feel loved, respected... all things that she deserves, but i didnt do lately because i took her for granted, and thought our relationship was strong enough.

Dr. Z :

Well have you asked her if you two can go on dates?

Customer:

she said at the present time she does not want to go on dates

Customer:

she has also asked me to stop those loving gestures such as flowers... but i've also been told "there's no rules in love"

Dr. Z :

Well I think she wants space to help her with her decision process, which is fair I would say. So I think if you respect her space and then in group therapy, ask her, or have the therapist ask her, what can be done to take steps towards reconciliation

Customer:

but she is ok doing activities together as a family

Dr. Z :

Well that is more for the children and not for you and her

Customer:

in our last group session, the therapist made it clear to her tthat separation was not a good idea. but i think she feels that she hasnt been able to make decisions, and now that she has made this decision, that she wants to follow it through.

Customer:

even though the professional, her family and friends have all advised her to very carefully consider her decision.

Customer:

but i feel as though the more people tell her separation isnt a good idea, the more she wanted it, just to prove that she is capable of making such a serious decision and follow through.

Customer:

yes i agree, that family activities are for the kids, but it will also allow her to see some changes in my behavior

Dr. Z :

Well separation is one thing and it does not have to be permanent. Maybe she wants to experience it for herself and then she can weight the pros and cons of it and then decide to come back to you now that she has experienced some time away from you to gather her thoughts.

Dr. Z :

It will allow her to see the changes in your behavior that is true and it will show that you are willing to make the effort to repair the marriage, which is good

Customer:

i feel the same, but another fear is that she has expressed to me that more recently she has been flirting more with people, and she has had thoughts of doing things with other people... but she also admitted that it would really mess things up right now.

Customer:

also in my opinion, women tend to be methodical, and if she has had time to come to this decision, she may have had a plan, ie, to "let me down slowly" so separation was her idea of the first step to the eventuality of a divorce.

Customer:

but my showing her that i care, and that i want to work on myself and the relationship has thrown a monkey wrench into her original plan.

Dr. Z :

Well everyone is different no matter the gender, but she stayed because she was confused and is still confused as well. The flirting could be her trying to experiment to see what it would be like to be "single" again. And she may not like it and decide to come back.

Dr. Z :

Yes it has thrown a monkey wrench, but she is confused and I think giving her the space to see your new behavior and not put pressure on her, will her make this decision

Customer:

now when it comes to material things that she wants to take to the new place, what is your suggestion

Dr. Z :

Well she should have her personal items, that can fit in luggage, but nothing too big.

Customer:

like the spare tv, fridge in garage etc... should i let her, or not help with that, and let her fend for herself and get those things by renting etc

Dr. Z :

Like furniture would be odd to bring to the new place

Customer:

she bought used furniture

Customer:

and new washer and dryer.

Customer:

she asked me about the tv

Customer:

and a couple of end tables

Dr. Z :

I think it would go a long way if you helped her because this can show that you are supportive of her even though you do not agree with her decision

Customer:

ok

Dr. Z :

The spare TV and fridge seem reasonable, but other stuff seems like much, but I think you should go with it to make the effort

Customer:

she also drives a minivan she bought in 2011, and now she is wanting to trade it in for something more economical, like a prius. ive always did all the car deals in the house... but i feel as though now that shes moving out, i dont want to assist her with that... she also mentioned that putting the van in valet was a bit embarrasing, and she wants something "cooler"

Dr. Z :

Well I think she can try to do the trade in herself as this is something for her independence that she wants and has nothing to do with this marriage at all. So she should do it herself.

Customer:

i saw it as a way to make herself look more "cool" or presentable in the singles market if she got rid of the minivan

Dr. Z :

I think that is one interpretation, but it can also be something that she wants as a symbol for her freedom too. Both interpretations are not good for you in this regard, but then there is always the chance that she just always wanted a Prius

Customer:

no shes always wanted a minivan, even before the first baby was born... but originally we were going to have more children, but ive had a very difficult time in having a third child after our 2nd son was diagnosed autistic. she wants a third child. although she states that is not the core reason for separation, i do believe that it has a role to play.

Customer:

last year, ive told her that i would rather take great care of our two kids rather than risk having another special needs child and making things even more difficult.

Dr. Z :

It is possible that the third child issue may have led to this separation. But I think your logical argument is the correct one regarding a third child

Customer:

if we were to reconcile, i would be willing to reconsider my position on having another child, i've told her this. but i also assured her i wasnt telling that to make her stay, but that i would not want her resenting me the rest of her life.

Dr. Z :

Well you can both try going to a geneticist and getting a probability analysis on if your third child will be a special needs child or not and then you both can go from there. It would bea an initial compromise.

Customer:

autism is not supposed to be genetically linked

Dr. Z :

So far you are doing everything right though by changing your behavior and participating in therapy too

Customer:

but then again, she has an older brother who is autistic

Dr. Z :

Autism has a strong genetic link

Dr. Z :

We do not know the exact causes for autism, but we know genetics plays a big role

Customer:

ok.

Customer:

i appreciate your input

Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can assist you with?

Customer:

if i would like to follow up with you, how would i do that, ie, if theres any new developments.

Dr. Z :

Well you can do it using two ways, you can put "For Dr. Z only" before you type your question in. Or the best way would be to use this link to my homepage and post your question there.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

thanks

Customer:

one more thing

Customer:

our co-parenting situation is that she will pick up them up from school, and take them to their respective after school activites

Customer:

when possible, i will pick them up from her house, or she can drop them at my house, and i will drop them off at school. weekends are open to either person

Customer:

i want to show her that i want to remain involved in the kids lives, and do as much as i can to help with their activities and helping her taking them to school etc (until the separation she would handle them pretty much by herself unless there was a scheduling conflict).

Customer:

while i do want to help, i also want her to "keep busy" with them so as to lessen the chance that she will meet someone

Customer:

is that the right outlook

Customer:

?

Customer:

her parents help with babysitting frequently, and are usually available throughout the week and weekends whenever needed

Dr. Z :

I can understand that outlook, but try not to make it transparent that is your goal because then she will suspect that you are not truly trying to support her with this trial separation and she may get defensive.

Customer:

i mean, if she wanted to do something, her parents are always available to watch them anyway, but usually they dont keep the kids overnight unless its the weekend, weekdays they're always picked up by my wife and brought home

Customer:

so i was thinking that i would pick them up and take them to school two times a week or so

Customer:

when you say she will get defensive, what do you mean

Dr. Z :

I say defensive is that she may be resistant towards therapy and reconciliation

Customer:

ok

Dr. Z :

I think your outlook is fine, I was just giving you advice to not let her think that you are doing certain tactics to not allow her to meet someone else and instead for her to spend more time with the children.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

thanks

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome. I wish you and your wife all the best and I hope the you both can reconcile very soon. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime. Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

Customer:

ok thanks

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5045
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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