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Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom, Tom Smith, Ph.D.
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience:  Dr. Smith has been offering counseling for over 37 years.
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I have been married for over ten years, my spouse has had three

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I have been married for over ten years, my spouse has had three marriages before me, this is my second marriage. Throughout our relationship my wife has encountered what can only be described as mood swings, when her attitude changes quickly and she becomes verbally harsh and hurtful to me. I now see that certain things will trigger this behavior, with a tirade of hurtful words usually following. Recently during one of these tirades, she informed me that her feelings for me were now apathetic, she no longer was in love with me, she had suffered long enough, and was now planning her exit from the marriage. She has spoken of this numerous times over the years but then afterward expressing such words will settle down, even expressing love and affection for me once again.
Naturally this on and off again behavior confuses me and can leave me on edge. She may express things only to change those views or act completely different the next day, almost as if the incident never happened. Initially I found her behavior to be in step with dysthymia, now I am not so sure. I exercise a lot of self restraint and acceptance of her during these incidents, but I believe she may need help and I am not sure how I can even broach the subject. We have one child whom I would like to protect and keep their environment stable, with both parents under one roof, as my other children and her children from previous marriages suffered through a divorce. Any insight as to what may be going on would be appreciated.

Dr. Tom :

A critical part of your narrative is that you have identified things that trigger her behavior. What are they? Is there a common thread? That may give you a clue to what is going on with her. Mood swings may indicate a medical problem. Note that she has been married three times before. Why did those marriages end? How long did they last? Answers to these questions may open the door to a conversation with her. It is admirable that you want to look out for the children's interests. How does she feel about that?

Customer:

Thank you for your response and insight. Upon further reflection, the triggers to these outbursts seem to lie in areas of contention that she has with me ie. my job and its demands. (I work in retail to supplement our income and this calls for weekend day shifts which takes me away from the home during the weekend, leaving her feeling isolated and lonely. She has expressed this to me in those words.)

Customer:

My wife's previous marriages ended, I fear, because of her behaviors within the marriages, behaviors I believe to be akin to those she exhibits with me. She is a product of a divorced family herself, and in so, does have insecurities about relationships. An almost fatalistic view, that all relationships fail or end and someone ends up leaving. This is reflective of what occurred with her parents, both of whom, abandoned her at some point or another during her formative years. Her previous marriages did not last long, all less than four or so years. Our marriages have outlasted all of her previous marriages combined. Unfotunately she is very opinionated, and in so is not open to discussion on subjects she does not hold the upper hand in. If I parrot back something she may have said at one time or another when applicable in a discussion, she will essentially shut down and not entertain any further discussion. She has a tendency to read to take things out of context, marrying two sentences together or giving her own spin on something that was said, when in fact the inference was not ever there. I hope this gives some further insight for you to some further thoughts.

Dr. Tom :

Thank you for more information. If she is feeling isolated on the weekends, is there something she could do with the kids or some other recreational interest with some friends? It seems that your spouse needs to find some insight into her own history regarding marriage and her inclination to end them. Certainly some marriage counseling would help if she is willing. It seems that she may be locked into a pattern that she is unaware that she is creating. Communication is a two way street and essential to keeping marriages intact.

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Let me know if a path to communication has been found and if not what is blocking a good, honest conversation with you spouse about what you both need and want.
If I can be of any more assistance do not hesitate to contact me. Yours, Dr. Tom
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