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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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I'm a student currently going through a very rough period of

Customer Question

Hi. I'm a student currently going through a very rough period of both family and relationship tribulation. I'm worried that my fiancee is depressed and he refuses to even think about therapy of any kind. I find, however, that a lot of his anger and sadness manifests itself when I try to bring up anything about our relationship. I feel that I can't talk to him about anything anymore and choked off. I want to fix things, but he just refuses to work with me. Instead of fixing anything, he gets mad and sad and we end up fighting. I love him very much and want to save our relationship for the long term!
What do I do here?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 5 years ago.
Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Give me a moment to carefully read over your question.

Customer:

Hi. And of course. Thank you.

Ask Eleanor :

I am very sorry to hear this, dear. How long have you been in this relationship?

Customer:

almost two years

Customer:

We used to be very very happy together, but the past 10 months or so have been very rocky

Customer:

I'm not sure how to reach him anymore

Ask Eleanor :

Are alcohol or drugs an issue with him?

Customer:

Not at all. He's a very religious Muslim man so he does not drink nor does he do drugs

Ask Eleanor :

Did something happen in his life or in your relationship 10 months ago that was traumatic for him?

Customer:

Not that I can think of.

Customer:

I mean, we had a few arguments about me traveling by myself. He was worried and when I decided to go anyway, he felt that I was disrespecting him.

Ask Eleanor :

Are you Muslim?

Customer:

Yes, I'm a convert. I converted before meeting him.

Ask Eleanor :

Are you both from the US?

Customer:

Kind of. He was born here, lived out his childhood in Bangladesh, and then moved back here for high school.

Customer:

He experienced a lot of discrimination after 9/11 and now...it seems like that past pain is catching up to him...

Ask Eleanor :

Sorry to hear this.

Ask Eleanor :

So, it sounds like he is a very conservative Muslim, while you are more liberal, expecially when it comes to women.

Ask Eleanor :

Correct?

Customer:

not quite. He's actually quite liberal.

Customer:

like...he doesn't really like it when I sit down with unmarried men

Customer:

but he will not sit down with unmarried women

Ask Eleanor :

But not so liberal when it comes to you?

Customer:

he lets me lead the prayer sometimes and he's probably one of the most liberal Muslim men I know.

Customer:

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the customs, but women are almost unanimously lead in prayer, forbidden from even standing next to the man, which we both think is a stupid convention

Customer:

it's more that, in a few cases, he has different ideas about how to-be-married people should act

Ask Eleanor :

I am referring his feeling disrespected when you traveled alone.

Customer:

He said that I didn't listen to him

Customer:

a claim that he often levels at me

Customer:

he often often feels that I just disregard him whenever I don't automatically take his advice.

Ask Eleanor :

Well, that's not good.

Customer:

and that seems very...insecure to me.

Customer:

yeah.

Ask Eleanor :

I know that he has refused, but I truly believe that your relationship will not survive unless you have couples therapy. Do you think he would be more open to therapy if you could see a multi-cultural therapist?

Customer:

No. He says that it will compromise his family's honor if he seeks a therapist.

Customer:

I told him I wanted to see one and he was highly opposed.

Ask Eleanor :

Well, you are struggling with cultural differences here that are not going to be resolved without professional help. I strongly recommend that you see a therapist yourself. Since he is not open to change in your relationship, you need to sort through your feelings and decide if you can live with things the way they are. A big decision!!

Ask Eleanor :

Would you like me to recommend threapist for you?

Customer:

No, it's alright.

Ask Eleanor :

therapists?

Customer:

I have a service at my grad school.

Ask Eleanor :

Oh, that's wonderful! And you will make an appt.?

Customer:

Yeah, tomorrow morning.

Customer:

I'm worried about telling him that I'm going, but I think it'll be best.

Ask Eleanor :

Yes, it is definitely the thing to do. Any further questions, dear?

Customer:

No, that's alright, thank you.

Ask Eleanor :

You are very welcome. It has been my pleasure. Please remember to click on the green accept button so that I will receive credit for my professional time and response. I wish you all the best, ***** ***** Eleanor