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JR, M.A.
JR, M.A., Mental Health Professional
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 184
Experience:  I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and am currently finishing my doctoral degree.
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During conflict with my wife, I am not touched when

Customer Question

During conflict with my wife, I am not touched when she suddenly turns to tears. When I am upset, her tears concern me but do not draw me to her. In fact some times I feel even more upset and distant. When she is hurting about other things away from conflist I am moved to comfort her. How can I explain the difference to her? Why do I feel this way?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.

How long have you and your wife been together?

What are your ages?

Tell me a little about your parents or parental figures relationships to each other, for example, were your parents close? distant?

Have you every been in the military? Have you ever been in therapy?

Any other relationship problems? or what happens to make her cry?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We are celebrating 20 years next year. We are in our mid 40's. I am a naturally very afectionate person and she says it all the time. The only time I am hard and cold is during conflict. She tends to get discouraged and I try not to lecture. This has been our problem all the 20 years. We are happy though and I want this one solved once and for all. I have no military background, my mother who raised me alone was very loving. She has some rejection in her history. I am a marriage counsellor myself but cannot explain/understand this dynamic well. My fault or hers she gets upset but somehow beleives her tears should bend anyone who loves the other. She is a fantastic person anyway except in this area.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.
It's not uncommon for women to think that tears can move a man, in fact it's something women see in films and on television all the time. When something goes wrong, if a woman cries a man gives in. We are taught this theory from childhood, and sometimes grow up seeing it enacted in our families. It could be that because you know why she does it (to bend you) that you are not only immune to it, but insulted (not sure if that's the correct term) by it. That you are feeling a particular way because she is trying to manipulate you. Granted, her manipulation may be somewhat unconscious (ie something she learned growing up), or she may even be aware that it's a tactic she uses, but that it's become habitual. Just because you are not moved by her tears, doesn't make you a bad person, especially when you know that her tears are deliberate, if that makes sense? I welcome your thoughts, let me know if you want to talk more.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hello Chase, thanks for your answer. I am sorry to say it is because similar answers were unsatisfactory that I was seeking further. My wife is not a manipulator. To be honest I feel that that answer over simplifies the problem and lacks a depth of understanding the needs of women. I have since had a live chat with a counsellor online who did not give me a full answer but pointed me to a deeper searching. I spent about 2 hours talking to my wife last night along a new line and realised that she is rather dealing with a wrong relationship paradigm. We are now on course to resolve this long-standing problem. Thanks
Expert:  JR, M.A. replied 8 years ago.


I would be happy to answer your question in a different way if you would be willing to share with me your new understanding of the problem. I am a psychologist and work in a psychodynamic framework. I might be able to provide you with further assistance.


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