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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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I am married to my daughters father (25 years). I decided

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I am married to my daughter's father (25 years). I decided to reconnect with some of my friends and spent the weekend with one of them about 8 months ago. since then my husband has been difficult to live with...always accusing me of things and being unfaithful. I have never seen this side of him before to the point where my feelings for him are diminishing. I am 60 years old and do not want to end my marriage and start over. My daughter is 25 years old and will graduate college in December. I was pregnant when I married my husband, but loved him (not in love with him though). I don't know what to do at this point. How do I know when to leave? He will not go to counseling and said he is too old to change.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.

Dr. Mark :

Was this a male friend you visited and he is obsessing that something happened? Is that the situation?

Customer:

a

Customer:

female...someone I reconnected with from college

Dr. Mark :

Wow. I just want to make sure I understand. So he is jealous right now even though you were visiting a female friend. Is that right?

Customer:

yes...h

Dr. Mark :

So it would seem that he is sensing that you are not happy and he doesn't know what to do, do you think this is also true?

Customer:

somewhat...he thinks I visited her and met some man there and had sex since I did not officially confirm that I was going to visit her - I left a note letting him know my plans since I had not decided that monday

Customer:

my friend and I talked on the phone that Monday and he was in the room,,heard the entire conversation. I told her I would get back with her with something official; so I called her that Friday morning to let her know I was coming,he was at work so I left him a note about my plans

Dr. Mark :

Okay. I got it now.

Dr. Mark :

But you know, the problem is really not this visit you made. The problem is deeper, is it not?

Dr. Mark :

The problem is that you are unhappy in the marriage and you don't feel like he is committed to working on making changes. Is this not the real issue?

Customer:

After my return, I found out

Customer:

I am unhappy now because he doesn't trust me now; he is becoming insecure in our relationship

Customer:

he has already said he would not go to counseling because he is too old to change; he also said that our problem now is that we have nothing in common (all becaus

Customer:

all because I do not like Elton john

Dr. Mark :

Seriously?

Customer:

yes...he made that comment Saturday night

Customer:

the problem started when my sister made a comment to him that there were lots of boys who liked me when I was younger-this statement was made 20 years ago and he brings it up now

Customer:

he says he harbored the statement and pulled it out when he felt like it fits the situation

Dr. Mark :

Do you think he senses how unhappy you are, is very scared that it would mean he has to change, doesn't want to change, and so is coming up with these types of statements?

Customer:

i have shared with him how i feel and that his accusations have changed our relationships and the dynamics of our marriage; i cried that night, he said, are you crying...I am sorry.

Dr. Mark :

He is unwilling to go to counseling with you, even if he knows that's the only way to save the marriage?

Customer:

he is unwilling and said he is too old to change even though he needs to

Customer:

I have a beautiful home and retired ( i do work part-time). i do not want to start my life over.

Customer:

for the past 27 years i have been a wife and parent; now since i have reconnected with friends it has become a problem

Customer:

there are times when he can be rude and mean

Dr. Mark :

So, he's presented you with a take it or leave it proposition, right?

Customer:

not in words just action because there was one time when he stated "that's something I need to work on" now he has changed his mind and stated "he is too old to change".

Customer:

it's almost like he doesn't have the nerve to say let's separate...it's like he wants me to suggest it

Customer:

i am wondering if he is having an affair and don't know how to tell me

Dr. Mark :

It's of course possible. But in my experience, what you're describing doesn't usually mean that.

Customer:

we can go for weeks or months just fine, then he will resort back to his jealous streak

Customer:

like the other day he accuses me of wearing tight pants

Dr. Mark :

Okay. So he's going through some life changes as well and doesn't know how to handle them. He's lost a lot of his confidence in himself as a man, it seems.

Dr. Mark :

But, you have to now share with me what's in your heart.

Customer:

yes

Dr. Mark :

I know you don't want to start over, but do you want this continual back and forth?

Customer:

my heart is bleeding because i do not want to continue on this seesaw....we have a home, college loans and who wants to go through that ?

Customer:

i do not know where to start and do not want to rush into anything either

Customer:

my plan was to live my life with him and grow old with him

Customer:

I do receive my pension and work...will get my social security in 2 years.

Dr. Mark :

Is it time to see if a little subterfuge might work to get him to counseling?

Customer:

he is still working...has been at ups 42 years. has stock, 3 pension plans

Customer:

such as

Dr. Mark :

Okay. Your husband has lost his confidence in himself; he's expressing it through suspicion of you: you must be having sex with someone else because he's certainly no longer the guy you must want. Yes, this is how guys often think. So,

Dr. Mark :

you are not going to get him to want to go to therapy by telling him something is wrong. Guys just feel threatened by that as if more of their shortcomings will be exposed.

Dr. Mark :

Instead, there is a far better chance of getting him to feel willing to work on the marriage and change if it's presented that you feel as though you need help in being positive and that you want the marriage to be great. This means:

Dr. Mark :

that you want to make the marriage more romantic and more involved. That he's the man you want. Yes, play to his ego. Do you see where I'm going? I'll be glad to elaborate.

Customer:

......and when i do that, he says, "do you really love me?" "am I the person you really want?" he questions everything I say....have tried this as well.

Dr. Mark :

Good!

Dr. Mark :

I mean: he's responding. You're just not realizing the extent of his insecurity.

Customer:

but I am willing to continue.....i want to wait until my daughter graduates in December before i make a drastic move of any kind. I am considering counseling as a way to help me remain in the marriage and plan to tell him that.

Dr. Mark :

So he's actually responding. When he asks for reaffirmation, he is indicating that he wants to believe you, but in the typical male way, needs to be told over and over that he's the one, that he hasn't lost it, that he's still virile in your eyes, that

Dr. Mark :

you really mean it.

Dr. Mark :

Romantic time in a hotel with him wouldn't hurt either. What do you think?

Customer:

yes...i think he gets side track when I tell he "You owe me"....meaning I did not climax

Dr. Mark :

Yes, this is a problem as people get older and men are so sensitive!

Dr. Mark :

Women don't that often climax during intercourse as they get older.

Customer:

...did the hotel this past week end...we argued because i didn't Elton john

Customer:

I do.....maybe I am different; yes i do complain when he leaves me hanging and i let him know it

Dr. Mark :

Okay. Letting him know it as he gets older will need to become "letting him know how wonderful sex is with him and you want him to manually have you reach orgasm" and then that it was wonderful again.

Customer:

yep...have told him he is the best i have ever had, he responded oh really?? i bet.

Dr. Mark :

I find that sometimes women are hurt and think that they just want to somehow make it on their own. But men are hurt and instead shut down and accuse.

Dr. Mark :

Again, that is a man's way of begging for more. I know women aren't like that, but it is!!!

Dr. Mark :

I meant, begging for more reassurance.

Dr. Mark :

But are you too tired of trying? Or do you have the energy. Because you're clearly the stronger one here.

Dr. Mark :

He's not as strong as you are.

Customer:

nope

Customer:

very needy

Dr. Mark :

Nope meaning you're not to tired?

Dr. Mark :

He's the one who's very needy?

Customer:

willing to keep trying through December.

Dr. Mark :

Good for you, I know how angry you must be inside and disappointed and hurt.

Dr. Mark :

But if you keep reassuring him, then after a few weeks you can introduce the couples counseling as something you want him to do for YOU.

Dr. Mark :

Men are much more willing when it's presented like that. What do you think?

Customer:

the hurtful part is to think i would lower myself and character to sleep with another man

Customer:

no he will not counsel

Dr. Mark :

Tell him that but with humor: "honey, please don't talk like that that I would lower myself to sleep with another man. Please, I want you to honor my character just as I want to honor yours." Right?

Customer:

he would not respond to that.....would not get the humor

Dr. Mark :

Then tell him in a way he would understand that this hurts you when he says it, okay?

Customer:

okay...i will remind him again about that. I will continue to stroke his ego as well like you suggested.

Dr. Mark :

Remember: you've given yourself a target date of December and I am with you on that. This is fair. Now,

Customer:

I will also continue to visit my friends.

Dr. Mark :

your goal is not just to stroke his ego,

Dr. Mark :

it is to coax him into couples counseling. This is the effort you're making because you know that you two need to get some help in him relaxing enough to be willing to make some changes. Does this summation help?

Customer:

yes. thanks.

Dr. Mark :

Okay, I wish you the very best!


 


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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Dr. Mark and 3 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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