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Ask Dr. L Your Own Question

Dr. L
Dr. L , Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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My wife has left me and filed for divorce. I have a feeling

Customer Question

My wife has left me and filed for divorce. I have a feeling she still loves me but wants to go ahead with divorce because she has made such a big move by leaving me. How can I stop this process and try to reconcile. I understand my shortcomings and hope she understand hers. He father has been sick for 5 years and has devastated our marriage. My family has had health issues as well. we are fine financially and no kids. help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. L replied 3 years ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I am sorry that this is happening to you. Divorce ought to be the last resort..not the first.

Dr. L :

I would encourage couple's therapy...is that something she might consider?

Dr. L :

What does she say is the issue in the marriage?

Dr. L :

Yes..you are right that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes...and I agree that marriages benefit from the opportunity to address these and work through them.

Dr. L :

Please explain this...she made such a big move by leaving me...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

thank you,

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

issue being her dad meant everything to her and she has been depressed over this for 5 years and he is barely holding onto life. so she has a feeling that she has no self worth.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she helps everyday with her father and the stress has lead to emotional distress on her part

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she made a big move by moving stuff out and moving back in with parents..file for divorce

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

very bold step

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I believe I have become her caretaker more than a husband

Dr. L :

Okay...I understand. So really she is grieving her father's health and is so caught up in that.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I cooked clean worked paid bills etc etc

Dr. L :

And likely her parents are delighted that she is with them so that they have her fulltime attention.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

we lost intimacy over the past few years

Dr. L :

Of course this is not healthy...her first obligation ought to be to you.

Dr. L :

Can you tell me more about that...was it also due to her love for her father?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

yes

Dr. L :

Tell me a little more about her parents....is she close to mom too...or mainly dad.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

he was a dr..took care of her like no other man could

Dr. L :

Are there other siblings?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

mom was a doctors wife..tough skin

Dr. L :

So you could never ever step into his shoes.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

oh yes sister has moved back in and she is 43 years old

Dr. L :

I get the picture. This is a very sad situation.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

and has an alternative lifestyle

Dr. L :

No man was likely good enough for the daughter...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I could fill them in the sense I was honorable

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

but she really has issues with my family

Dr. L :

What do you mean by alternative lifestyle?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

my younger brother has a young girl pregnant...my sister is dating a man of a different race

Dr. L :

And so the 2 girls are back with mom and dad?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

lesbian

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

strong male type

Dr. L :

do dad and mom know this?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

oh yes

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

very sensitive subject in their household

Dr. L :

What bothers her about your family?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she was out of the picture until dad had stroke

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

different style

Dr. L :

She has her own issues in her family!

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

we are from detroit they are from mississippi

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she does

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

he sister has told me secrets of the family that my wife does not know..being the youngest

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

almost wanting for me to be bearer of bad news

Dr. L :

Well...there is a lot of nonsense going on here....

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

yes

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

very complicated..I still love my wife and I believe she loves

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

me

Dr. L :

Will your wife consent to couple's therapy?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

not at this point

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she knows she will have to be responsible and hear things she does not want to hear

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I love her and carry respect for her family

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

we are in a tough place

Dr. L :

That's very unfortunate. Still...what about you going to individual therapy so that you can sort this mess out...there are so many ghosts in the closet and such that need to be brought out in the open and dealt with.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

that is a good idea. I have been contemplating this.

Dr. L :

I agree that you are in a tough place. And...all of this mess can stretch on a long time...probably until dad dies and then there will be another mess to deal with...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I believe they want to get this over with...just toss me to the side

Dr. L :

From what you have written...she is overly attached to her parents...and feels responsible for them with her sister having gone off into the world. That she has issues with your family seems odd...but those are her feelings and you can't really change them at this point in time.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she keeps telling me sign the papers..sign the papers

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

non changeable issues are families

Dr. L :

You don't have to. And I wouldn't do that until you felt that you NEEDED to. At this point...you want to reconcile...stick with that thought.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

great thank you

Dr. L :

By tossing you off to the side...they think things will be better...but the truth is they won't.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

we had a tough christamas and I think alot up issues came out in that time...on a side note she has been self medicating which never helps

Dr. L :

What is she using to self-medicate?

Dr. L :

I agree...makes matters far worse.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

pot, alcohol

Dr. L :

It sounds like your wife wants to keep in the dark about painful/hurtful things and live in some fairy-tale world. Is that correct?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

and she goes out with her friends and eats mushrooms sometimes...the ultimate escape

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

bingo

Dr. L :

Oh brother...not good!

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

you are correct...she has cleaned up she said.

Dr. L :

She needs a chemical dependency assessment. Nice friends.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

very nice friends..she has a bad group she hangs with

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

they are nice people but toxic

Dr. L :

And the chemicals just alter her thinking....

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

100%

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

im no angel

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i drink some but work and stay at home

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

take care of business...

Dr. L :

With all that is happening with her dad...she is not doing herself ... or you ...any favors by using chemicals.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she thinks I controlled her

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

which i think was a part of the caretaker thing

Dr. L :

And what is your response to that?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i was her cartaker

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i felt so bad for her

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i did everything to protect her

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

smoothered her

Dr. L :

Yup...and because her dad did such a good job in this department too...it probably does not come off as you being the loving, responsible, compassionate husband...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

good point

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

to all our friends it does

Dr. L :

Well..that seems like it was a natural thing on your point...this would be good to explore in therapy...to see why you did it, what impact it had, what needs to be changed so that it is healthy caretaking rather than co-dependency....

Dr. L :

Sure..your friends see the reality...your wife sees you in competition with her dad....guess who is going to lose?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

me

Dr. L :

I would like you to read Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie. It's an older book...but very good. I think you might see a thing or two that will turn a light bulb on for you.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

problem is they are so connected and have so much money

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

they will force this divorce through the system

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

we are in knoxville, tn

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

good ole boy system who her dad delivered all their childre

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

n

Dr. L :

Then...I encourage you to NOT sign the papers. Tell her that you are not ready and you will let her know when and if you are. If she brings it up...repeat that this issue is off the table.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

ok

Dr. L :

And how does your attorney stack up to theirs?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i do have attorney and he is saying to hold out

Dr. L :

I don't think they can force anything on you. Check with your attorney to see if there is a drop dead date or not.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I would not put my money on him in a fight against theirs

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i think i have 30 days to respond from when i was served

Dr. L :

Well...but that might not happen. If the only way the divorce can go forward is with your signature...then they can't move.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

which is 10 days away

Dr. L :

Check to see if you can say NO on the document.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

ok i will

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

she has brought up her dads health is suffering by this process

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

but thats her thing not mine

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i did not bring this on

Dr. L :

You might be able to force her hand by saying that you will consider signing if she goes to therapy with you and gives it a respectful try. Say...something like 10 visits.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

paperwork said she does not want to reconcile

Dr. L :

Exactly...using daddy is garbage...what about your health???

Dr. L :

Fine..but you do. So it's a standstill.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

im doing good

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

working out...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

work is going good...

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

im doing good...better than I expected

Dr. L :

You do have options here and you do have negotiation power.

Dr. L :

That's probably because you haven't given up hope.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

great..that is what i needed to hear

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i want us to go to couseling but she will hate to hear what someone has to say

Dr. L :

And I would not give up hope until your attorney says there are no more options on the table.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

ok thank you

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

should i leave her alone right now or keep up commuication

Dr. L :

Too bad...maybe she needs to grow up a little here.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

you are right

Dr. L :

She needs to live in the world of the living...and take a look at having a healthy life...not one that depends on mushrooms, pot and alcohol.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

yes

Dr. L :

So...how about you getting a therapist and doing some work on understanding your caretaking tendencies and addressing what has happened in your marriage.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

I think that would be good

Dr. L :

Then keep saying NO..until your attorney runs out of options.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

do you all recommend people in this area

Dr. L :

Perhaps the more you continue to say No, the more she will realize that you are not willing to throw this marriage away. Maybe that will force her to look at what is real.

Dr. L :

I will give you a website to find a therapist in Knoxville:

Dr. L :

www.psychologytoday.com

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

i think so. great thank you

Dr. L :

You will see an icon on the homepage that says: Find a Therapist

Dr. L :

Put in your city and zip.

Dr. L :

A list of therapists will come on the screen.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

great thank you

Dr. L :

Check out the biographies (some have websites)...look for someone with expertise in marital issues. Make a list of 3 or so that you feel interested in. Call them to see what kinds of experiences they have had with similar issues.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

perfect I will

Dr. L :

Good. Is there any last thing I can help you with today?

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

thank you again...

Dr. L :

You are very very welcome.

Dr. L :

When you love someone..you love someone.

JACUSTOMER-92rthfau- :

you are correct...i hope it all works out

Dr. L :

And I always encourage partners to work hard to reconcile as the decision to divorce is something you will have to live with forever.

Dr. L :

Good luck!

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