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Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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I'm married to a very controlling perfectionist that has

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I'm married to a very controlling perfectionist that has made me feel less than for 15 years. Everytime I talked to him about this in the past he said, "I am who I am and that's not going to change." Basically that's the door if you don't like it. After 15 years and thinking about leaving him numerous times I finally got the nerve up and got an apartment. After pledding from my husband that he is now willing to change I went back home for six weeks to work on a marraige booklet. It didn't take long for the old Mark to come back, although I could tell he was trying a bit. But after 6 weeks it was really the same roles and I felt the same thing I had prior which is that I'm less than...All my friends and family say he can change and I'm confused because getting away from him was so hard and I don't know if he could change enough to make me happy and if I go back I feel like I will be stuck...Can a self absorbed, very selfish, perfectionist with severe intamacy issues turn 180 degrees to a loving attentive husband. I'm afraid that the amount of change I need is to much for any person to do...So my question is how much can a 53 year old male really change?
What he did do recently is outlined his problems and what he needed to do. He said that he wasn't putting God first and he was putting things, status, and money first and he realizes that now. Do he do that because he beleives it or because he knew that's what I wanted to hear. He said somethings that men need to be hit in the eyes before he got it and leaving a 2nd time made him realize it...Here is my concern, he is a very successful business man and he gets what he he wants to achieve most of the time. I'm concerened me leaving just works at his life not being or having the perfect life...
Here is the things hes doing putting god first and doing daily readings before he starts hes days, although he has never done this before...He's outlined the things he was lacking with me and has idetified my love languages and he did try in the six weeks, but the controlling and feeling less than still came back..He's reading other christian books about being a man and coming out of darkness..Is he doing this because he knows it gets me the God, thing or is it real? Says hes willing to give me my space but wants to go to counseling..I just know he has teeth and I'm afraid I will got locked it.
Here is my concern: When I get away from him my light and happiness come back and when I get around him or in the 15 years I feel like it goes aways..
What are your thoughts as a professional I would really like to know...I want to leave, but if he can change really really really change I want to try and I'm scared I will locked in and then it will really go back...Is it ok for me to want to leave and say, "15 years is enough" or do I need to try..
Trying to find happiness and not hurt others in the process

Hi there.

I can hear how conflicted you are about what to do regarding this marriage and whether to stay or leave. First of all, change is possible but realistically your husband will not change from a controlling and overbearing personality into someone different! His traits may soften (somewhat) if he becomes more mindful of them and can use a different tactic, but he is who he is at this point. That being said, if he is truly willing to change, he will need some ongoing counseling to really make lasting changes that are meaningful. The fact that you had to leave two times to have him even take you seriously, does indicate that his willingness to hear you and what is important to you, were not priorities to him. Of course, it is okay for you to leave this marriage. You don't need anyone's permission to do so, and if you feel much lighter and happier when you are away from him and in your own place, then that speaks volumes about your marriage. If you have any more questions please ask me, otherwise please do rate my service today. Thank you!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm terrified of it being a tactic and not real and being stuck it was so hard to get away. How do I know when I'm being manipulated or its sincere? He seems very sincere, hrs tried small improvements in out marriage, buy our marriage has always been difficult And how much can a person really really change, percentage wise? Why do feel happier away from my husband. Can someone really bring you down or do you allow it? Or maybe he sincerely ***** ***** change but I don't think he gets it and sometimes he thinks the problems we have are normal and you continue to work through it. For example we have had zero intimacy and very little sex and he thinks he can fix it. For years I thought he was gay? For me to be ok with Mark I would need a drastic change to be happy! He doesnt get it.

If he is sincere, then his words and promises will be followed up through actions and his actions will be consistent. Manipulation is short term to get what he wants. Sincerity is longer term to make you feel comfortable as well, not just him. Meaning he will really work at it, and not resort to his old ways once he thinks you are back to stay.

I cannot say how much someone can change percentage wise. What you really need to determine is what you can live with and what you cannot live with. This varies for each person. Someone can bring you down, yes...but it can only continue to happen once you are aware of this, if you allow it. Meaning if you are being mistreated and accept that, than you are allowing it to happen. This is a smart man from what you have said. He gets it enough that you are not happy with how things have been. He also gets that you have come back now twice and that you may stay regardless if things improve or not. Zero intimacy in a marriage indicates a true disconnection between you two... there is obviously very little honest communication in this marriage if you thought he was gay! It really sounds like you are feeling guilty about wanting to leave this marriage and that you need someone to give you permission. You can give this some time for example six months of counseling with Mark and/or Mark on his own etc. and then reevaluate the situation. You can do this either while living with him, or also while living on your own in an apartment.

I really think that couples counseling will help you to get a much clearer picture as to whether there can be enough changes made, for you to feel satisfied in this marriage. I need to let you know that DRASTIC changes don't happen overnight if ever.

Hope this helps!

Hi again,

Please do rate my answer to you, otherwise I'm not credited for my help today. Thank you! I wish you the best... Kristin

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
last questions. My brother asked me is there a Place in your marriage you would want to get back to and I said no. I've had happy moments but I never felt one with him and the lack of sex made him a room mate and a bad one most of the time. I've told him I want a divorce no less than 7 times but he's relentless. I even told him if I went back it would be out of guilt and our years together and our boys, but nothing less. He's says he doesnt want me out of guilt but he's relentless.
Here is the kicker, I'm 50 years old and I've been having an affair with a woman that I'm deeply in love with and who has been so patient, even when I went back to work on things. She told me that she can't wait any longer and wants me to be happy and if that's with my husband she would let me go. I'm terrified of my family and boys disowning me and I'm catholic, but I can't live without her. Can I be a lesbian and not have known it? I'm very feminine but I never have been more satisfying and I don't want to lose her.

Hi again,

It really sounds like this marriage is pretty much done for you. If you truly want a divorce and you are saying that more clearly than ever, than the fact that he is relentless, really is irrelevant. This is your life too and you can get a divorce if that is what you feel you want to do. It's evident that this decision isn't being made hastily on your part, that you have been with your husband a number of years and that the majority of that time has not been satisfying for you. Which also makes me wonder why your husband would like to continue as well. Whether or not you are a "lesbian" or not I can't answer with complete certainty. But it is obvious that you are clearly in love and happy with this woman, and so in that sense you are a lesbian (meaning that yes, you obviously have sexual/romantic feelings for a woman). I don't know if this means you have always been attracted to women or not, but what is important is what you decide to do from this point forward.

I understand your concerns about how your sons and family would react, but in time usually family accepts that which you choose, which is the loving thing to do. I do recommend that you end your marriage if you are going to continue on with this woman, so that you can live in integrity with yourself and with her.

It is time for you to live your life now in a way that feels honest and true for you. Otherwise, you will continue to be unhappy and more than likely have regret that you didn't choose a direction that feels like "life" to you. Hope this helps!

I wanted to add that if you are going to work on your marriage, you cannot also maintain an affair at the same time. That being said, there is so much work to be done with the marriage, you have a steep climb in front of you.

But whatever you decide, you need to choose one relationship or the other. The fact that you have strayed with this woman coupled with the have provided about the marriage does indicate that you are really wanting out. Please rate my answers for you today. All the best to you...

Kristin and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you