How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
55153673
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Dr. Norman Brown is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

i lovemy wife very much ,butwe are drifting apart since she

Customer Question

i lovemy wife very much ,butwe are drifting apart since she started working with a male patner in her other bussiness ,i have made her aware that i am uncormfatble with the setup,forthey travelltogether most of the time,spent more time together ,and i feel left out,they work in the office in our house ,she reckons i am overreacting.i need help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 3 years ago.

nphbrown :

You have two directions you'll need to proceed in. 1. Find the causes of your drifting apart. What events have signaled to you that you're drifting apart? What things have you done yourself that might have offended her or hurt her feelings (aside from pressing her about your worries over the other guy). But perhaps you have expressed your worries in some very blaming or belittling ways. So write me a few of the statements you have made to her that might have been taken as blaming or insulting by her. For "drifting apart" typically becomes "walling each other off" when the words partners use to communicate their discomfort end up hurting, guilt-tripping or blaming or insulting each other.

nphbrown :

How far back can you trace your drifting apart? Before she seemed to draw closer with the coworker? Note carefully if the only possible causes you can think of are things SHE did or said, with NO EVIDENCE of self-distancing (also known as Withdrawing) or of insensitive words or actions on YOUR PART. If it's really hard to think of anything you did yourself, then try harder, or if you're really at your wit's end, ASK HER what you've done. (Have you been unwilling to bring up your feeling that you're drifting apart? Why is that? That's also important information for you and me to review.)

nphbrown :

2. The second direction to move needs to follow the first one. It involves negotiating about what makes you feel worried and uncomfortable with the expectation that you are NOT crazy-jealous or OVER-controlling, just ordinary-human. This approach usually leads to a defensive response from her already, as you've implied. It typically needs an authority in couple-psychology to say: "When a couple wants to stay happily married, they don't want any feelings either partner has to develop into a wedge issue between them, and definitely not into a WALL between them. So when your partner is feeling insecure about your loyalty or about your intimate time with another person, you need to confess your feelings, even tho they might make you sound needy or insecure. And then she needs to care more about what YOU FEEL than about how to defend herself against any implied guilt or any efforts from you to control her behavior. For EVERY FEELING HAS WITHIN IT A KERNEL OF TRUTH." And in this case, that truth is probably that you can feel somehow that she likes the other guy, and perhaps sometimes even more than she likes you (I didn't say "loves" because that's a judgment that will only provoke defensiveness). But we'll worry about this second point later. Then there's a 3rd point, a 3rd line of movement that you can also pursue, that I'll tell you about later also.

nphbrown :

Sorry, I mixed up my You's in the last paragraph. I meant in more explicit terms this: When YOU are feeling uncomfortable & insecure about your wife's activities with the other guy, you need to confess those feelings, without any accusing overtones, after asking her to please hear you out before responding--or if you're already locked in immediate verbal ping-pong over this topic. WRITE YOUR FEELINGS OUT IN AN EMAIL AND SEND THEM TO HER. For then she can take the time to read and consider them without needing to defend herself immediately, because you're not there in front of her. Then SHE needs to think that SHE doesn't want these feelings of yours AND HER DEFENSIVE RESPONSE to them to become a wedge & then a wall between you that can wreck your marriage. So SHE needs to discuss with you HOW she can show you that she's not drifting into a closer "emotional closeness" with the other guy that would threaten ANY normal human being. SHE needs to imagine how she'd feel if you were doing as much with a good looking woman as she's doing with this man. THEN you have a basis for figuring out how you can reduce or even eliminate the sting of this other guy TOGETHER, with enough initiative coming from her to tip the emotional scales back to the loving security that you both want. She might need to talk with a wise other person, or even a therapist about how she really feels and what she really needs to do to determine which way she wants to drift--together or apart with you--and then start to manage her behavior & relationship with the other guy so that her conscious intention does become what really is happening.

Customer:

two years back she had a fall out wth my dad and she said i didn't protect her and shealways siad she hatesmy father and me also.i tried to reconcile them but they are both sturbbon,i once made a mistake in 1995 she heard that i slept with somebody and paid dearly for full five years ,she isnow bringing it back when i tell that they seems to be more cormfatble with each other,this guy doesn't have his life any more for even in hollidays he is ever with us even when we travell,he is handy i agree but things have changed drasyicslly since he cameinto the picture ,before she would drive anywhere and i would follow by plane to meet herthere,now what ever she needs she gets from him he runs around drive her wherever ,she basically spends more time with him than me ,talk with him on the phone longer than she does with me,i have pointed toher that ihave noproblem for them working together but said that she must have a cut off line,he stays at my house till late even when i am away on bussiness,she thinks i want to controll her and it is not the point

nphbrown :

Now I have to go make breakfast, and I won't be back for a half hour or more. And I won't be able to devote much time to our chat again until probably a few hours later, or even not until this evening. But first I'll respond to your excellent sourcing of the issue.\

nphbrown :

If she had a fall out with your dad, then her feeling that you didn't protect her has a KERNEL OF TRUTH in it, and that is that if she and your dad don't like each other, THEN YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHOSE SIDE YOU WANT TO BE ON, even if you think she's the crazy one and he's the reasonable one. Ultimately you have to show her that she's more valuable to you than he could ever be, NOW THAT YOU'VE GROWN UP. She needs to be certain that you will not abandon her to any loyalty you still feel towards him. Then your position in your family of origin becomes important, esp if your mother is gone or divorced from your father, and if you are the closest sibling to your father, and hence you are someone he depends on for some emotional support or closeness.

Customer:

i did talk to my dad when i felt the time was right ,since then my relationship with my folks is not the same ,so she knows that i am behind her full time.she used that as an exchuse not having passion for me

nphbrown :

Further, as a response to your infidelity in 1995, she would probably not keep bringing that up unless she still has an "attachment wound" about that. That means that when she thinks about your marriage, she keeps running into the pothole that is that breach of faith that you made. She will probably keep feeling that, esp when tension rises between you, because it is also a second vote from you in favor of a closeness that rivals her: Vote #1. is your being "neutral" about your father and her in their clash. (You can retain some caring and loyalty to your father inside, but DON'T mention that to her, except to say "but I have to make father feel like I don't hate him, so I have to do & say some things to reassure him--But YOU are way higher in my love & loyalty than he could ever be, and I'll keep you in the loop about what I have to do towards him, so you can be sure of my love for you."). Apparently the other guy doesn't have a life anymore? Then he's not married and doesn't have any children or parents he owes his uppermost loyalty to? Then she's drawing HIM off balance, and ultimately that's going to hurt him in his life. The ages of all 3 of you would be important here. And what role her parents play as well as what role your parents play in this tug-of-war for hearts and loyalties..

Customer:

i a 46 she is 44 and he is in his late tewnties,i have talked to her familly about this and they are also not happy about his prescence wherever she is,but she doesnt listen to anybody and i have kept my part of family out because ofthe sore relationship

Customer:

this past weekend i suggested that we should go to a remote area just the two of us to try to reconnect and she was not interested

nphbrown :

I'm asking all this, because it will help you understand the foundations of the issues you're involved in, even if we don't need all this information to arrive at a way forward. I'm teaching you how family ties act to have ongoing influence over your present lives. Ultmately, this family-ties approach leads to the 3rd influential path you can follow. And that is to go for a drive or a walk with the other guy and tell him what you've been picking up about his connection with your wife, and how it makes you feel AS WELL AS how it could be pulling him away from his own life direction, and what conflicts that could end up bringing to all three of you. [This will embarrass, or frighten him immensely, unless he's too dumb to be aware of how emotional relationships naturally develop. In a gross metaphor, his energy exchange with your wife is a chemical reaction that produces heat and expansion between them, and it also excludes you, or puts you into the "olderguy, sorta father" role, like old Joseph in all those Jesus & MAry & the Carpenter-provider paintings. But all that expansion of hot air between him and your wife becomes a BOIL on the surface of your marriage, and it will either POISON the marriage (which it's already doing somewhat) or eventually get so big that it has to BURST and blow all the PUS out into the world around you. And then HE'S going to be the odd man out, and the immoral marriage wrecker. That's not a good blemish to have on his conscience, and it'll poison HIM for some time after that (it's a SHAME-wound). I'm not suggesting you need to say all of this to him, but I want you to understand what the chemistry of emotional affairs has inside of it, as potential for really painful outcomes: Your Divorce motivated by adultery, or His Expulsion as a boil that's got to get popped to release its poison. And then there's the wound to your wife's self-worth and the ongoing Attachment Wound for you with respect to her.

Customer:

he is anangel to my wife he does nothing wrong in her eyes ,she ever defends him,she reckons that they are just friends ,we had an accident in 2008 and a friend said he should drivefor us then ,i was still in hospital it looks like they dicided to start companies with my wife then and he left his fomer work to for my wife and my friend wasnt happy at all,i was also embarrased but the wife was adamant that the boy wants to grow too in bussiness,fromaworker to afriend ,then to like a personal bodyguard to me more than a friend now,he runss all her erands ,she has two companies

Customer:

i am about to leave now ,i stay 150kmaway from my work

nphbrown :

Now one last comment on Attachment Wounds. The only way to promote healing of attachment wounds (her 2 with your infidelity and your dad and your 1 with her son-boyfriend): You have to gain enough empathy for what she's felt over all these years about your infidelity to feel REMORSE that really HURT YOU. You have to show her that remorse, and YOU CAN'T FAKE IT. Only then can she know that it hurts you to have her dwell on how it hurt her--and ULTIMATELY THAT IS YOUR FAULT, and there's nothing you can do to stop that pain for her, except to shoulder as much of it as you can for yourself. It's what the Christians mean when they insist that you can't be forgiven until you have TRUE REPENTANCE. But this is not in front of God or a priest, but in front of your mortal wife, who's not as perfect and perceptive as God. That's not fun, but it's the frailty of human nature and of marriage relationships. And if you wish she didn't keep feeling that way, then you have to remember that YOU MARRIED HER for better or for worse. And this For Worse is one of those challenges to your integrity that you need to rise to. The same will be true for her with regard to her little brother/son-she-never-had and her distancing from you to wrap her emotional comfort around him. Aha! I see from your latest response that he probably IS a son-figure for her. But I have to go now. I'm sorry. But I think as a result of all the chatting you will get clearer vision and greater confidence about how to proceed, whether you choose to do exactly what I'm suggesting or not (with my always inadequate but gradually increasing familiarity with your situation).

Customer:

it pains me because i treat him like my kid or a brother,i even buy him clothes sometime, he wears very smart clothes,i totally accepted him as part of familly and nothing ever crossed my mind when they spent few days away due to their work

nphbrown :

You can keep in touch with me when you're away. You could also have a talk with the 'boy' about the mentoring/journeyman phase in his life that this apprenticeship can become, to give him a way to extricate himself from her needs so he can move forward to new places for his life without waiting to be burst like a boil. You can become the Father that helps him understand the man's way into the world of self-support and helps him free himself from the Mother's unconscious need to keep him close to her. It's Oedipus now, but you don't need to kill or be killed if you act as his mentor yourself. What would happen if you invited him to go with YOU on a business trip and help YOU out? Would she flip out to realize that he could be as much YOUR son as HERS? Just a wild thought.

nphbrown :

Oh mygod South Africa. I'll let that simmer inside me too.

Customer:

thank your time i have to leave now

Customer:

i was still waitingfor her last comments

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
Dr. Norman Brown and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 3 years ago.
THIS ANSWER IS LOCKED!
You can view this answer by clicking here to Register or Login and paying $3.
If you've already paid for this answer, simply Login.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/deedeeham/2011-1-24_51523_408.64x64.JPG Dear Debra's Avatar

    Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy

    Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1235
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1215
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/CoachJenK/2012-3-9_31019_Jen.64x64.jpg Coach Jen K.'s Avatar

    Coach Jen K.

    LMSW, CPC

    Satisfied Customers:

    726
    Providing the utmost care and support.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/intrapsyc.com/2012-2-20_161928_RGMTPicturex5002012.64x64.png Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    549
    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HU/hungryjack20/IMG_1281_edit_2.64x64.jpg Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    349
    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SU/suzmsw/2011-9-2_184634_Thisone.64x64.JPG Suzanne's Avatar

    Suzanne

    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    338
    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Counselor
Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown
Counselor
945 Satisfied Customers
Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples