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Ryan LCSW, Relationships
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Professional therapist
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I have been married for 25 years. I had many grieves and I

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I have been married for 25 years. I had many grieves and I have taken my sadness on my husband last 6 years. He just told me that he cannot get over a couple things from me: Fear of my past behavior from leaving him lonely and my bad behavior such as belittling him and criticizing him. He also told me that he cannot feel intimate in terms of sharing his deep thoughts and ideas with me. He has been working on changing his feeling last 5 months, but no changes are happening to him. Last 5 months, I have been working on mysefl. I have completely changed myself and became a new positive person. He admits that. However, he told me that he cannot trust that I will be continue to maintain my changes. How can I help him overcome his fear and negative thoughts about me? I want to keep my marriage. Desperately need your kind advice. Thank you, Helen
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 3 years ago.
Hi Helen, thanks for your question,

I'm sorry to hear about what you've been going through with your husband. Despite having made some mistakes in the past, it sounds like you are very committed to making positive changes and moving forward with your relationship. If the problems in the past had gone on for a long time, it may still take some time for your husband to trust that the changes that you've gone through are not just temporary. A large part of this comes from him getting to a point emotionally where he is willing to put his trust in you, and give the relationship a legitimate chance. Otherwise it sounds like you have done your part, but sometimes regardless of what you do, it is hard to change someone else's feelings until they have worked through their own personal issues and have gotten to a point emotionally where they are ready to open up again.

Although your husband may be frustrated and contemplating divorce, if he is still willing to attend marriage counseling with you, that would still be a very positive sign. Often times these changes take some time, and one of the biggest things that help is your consistency in your new positive outlook and attitude. Despite the fact that he finds it hard to trust now, the more you are able to maintain this new outlook and continue to go to counseling together, the more of a positive impression it will continue to make on him.

Right now it seems like you've done much of the work that you need to do, and are now waiting for him to get to the point where he is ready to move forward as well. Even though that may be taking longer than either of you may like, it is still likely that your marriage will improve if you each continue to make consistent efforts. If you are working through some difficult issues, then often times in the first few months of working on the relationship it can be difficult to see things improving and sometimes it actually gets harder before it gets easier. At this point though a lot of this depends on him and his willingness to continue pushing forward, and as long as he is willing to do that and you can maintain the changes that you've worked hard for, the trust should only continue to build more and more as you continue to work on this. I definitely wish you the best with all of this, and if there is anything else I can do to help please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the message... Would you please let me know if people change their mind when they are so determined to finalize the divorce? While I continue to work on myself and our counseling, I would like to know the average length of time that I can expect to see some changes. I know that it is all depend on an individual, but I would like to know the approximate time from your experience. So I can convince my husband at least how long we should continue to work on our marriage. He constantly talks about finalizing everything. Thanks for your insightful opinion. Helen

Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 3 years ago.
Hi Helen,

You're correct that a lot does depend on the couple. Even after going through some very bad situations, some couples can make significant progress in a few months, at least enough to start seeing some encouraging results. Others can take up to a year for that level of trust to really start to recover. A large factor is your husband's motivation. If your husband isn't motivated or doesn't feel like it is possible to make it work, it is hard for you to instill that in him despite your best intentions and efforts. At the same time, if your husband has changed his mind in the past, then it is certainly possible that this has just been a very emotional experience for him, and that he will change his mind again. Sometimes people get to a point where they have had enough or are too overwhelmed emotionally, and if his mind is made up, there may not be much that you can do to change his mind. Generally if he is still open to discuss the relationship or is still willing to attend counseling sessions, with you that would still be a positive sign even if he has talked about finalizing everything. Hang in there and all the best,

Ryan LCSW, Relationships
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience: Professional therapist
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