How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RealSupport Your Own Question
RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
RealSupport is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am married 23 years with 3 university children.Last few years

This answer was rated:

I am married 23 years with 3 university children.Last few years relationship problems kept coming up,and less communication ,lack of expression and understanding the needs of each other. My wife entered menopause 5 or more years ago and still on developing sex libido.during last 8 months I tried to detox from long term benzodiazepines and went through hell, finally fell into depression .at that point my wife couldn't show any compassion nor affection.on the contrary she looked for escapes, going out and became hostile !I survived and continued the detox following professor Ashtons guide of detox, 5 months later I am down to small doses ,almost there! In the meantime friction was getting worse when I starte
d to recover and got back to work after 4 months.we agreed to take a sabbatical 3 +months and work with an "esoteric counsellor" not so experienced ...instead of getting closer/friendlier we became enemies and my wife can not give up hostility but she says she is happier on her own but still bitter.
I realise we both going through a crisis and a huge personal challenge but we stopped seeing the counsellor as not fit to deal with the situation....we still have feelings for each other and 3 children who are unhappy about it all.....personally I would love to see our family back together but not before serious long term work is done by both...but don't know where to address myself...some friend suggested to use the association of mediators.....

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know about your situation. Each one of the issues you have reported could easily overwhelmed anybody in your shoes. facing all of them together is tough, and only you know how hard it feels.


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You are absolutely right here about the need each of you have to work on personal issues in order to be able to work on healing and rebuilding your marriage.


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

rehabilitation from any addiction is tough and you seem to have been working very consistently even when undergoing so much stress, that is wonderful and shows your assertiveness, will power and love towards yourself and your loved ones.


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

On the other hand menopause and perimenopause problems are many times overwhelming for women, making it necessary to get both, medical and psychological support to work on coping with all the challenges this physiological change present, from physical transformations to self-image, poor or absent libido, mood changes and more.


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said it was the lack of communication and understanding what have been undermining your marriage in the past years, and there is where you need to focus now. I am sorry to know you got a negative impact from this "esoteric counselor", when what you need is a professional marriage an family therapist to truly support you and your

marriage instead of undermining it even more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I use to say that marriage or couples counseling could be very powerful and beneficial but only as long as each spouse works on her-his personal issues first, otherwise they would distort and undermine the marriage because of unresolved personal problems. Then please, seriously consider individual professional psychotherapy/counseling for each of you, then professiona

l marriage counseling.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Anger is not a core feeling, but one we use when unable to vent and process painful feelings from life issues, that's what led you to develop depression. If both of you are truly willing to work on yourselves as individuals and as a couple, taking responsibility for your own mistakes and committing to making necessary changes with adequate professional support, then you have concrete chances for healing and growth from this crisis.


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense?


Customer: Yes it does, and I can trace anger for both of us in deeper layers of fear, fear of loss, traumatic early years,re actions instead of feeling expressions......a lot of suppressed feelings on both sides......I am more able to express than my wife......I understand well,
Customer: Unexpressed anger may lead to depression, over expressed anger may lead to aggression.....someone suggested a professional can you help .?
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Repressing feelings is a form of avoidance, when people do not know how to effectively cope with painful feelings from life issues,

and holding them in, literally poisons and undermines the person's mental health and relationships, then depression and anxiety disorders as well as addictions are very common as unhealthy means to get some relief.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do recommend a professional marriage and family therapist, since you need to work on marital issues, to work on them and for that a professional mediator cannot help you.


Customer: I am unable to view the first paragraph/s. I can only read from para starting ....and holding them in...
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I will change from chat to postings for you to be able to read everything. Thanks.


Please confirm that you have been able to read mi replies. Thanks.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks now I can see all the conversation and am very happy with your
Advice so far .as it's past midnight here in Cyprus ,I will hav eto leave you
For the night and thanks for the straight and clear answers,
I ll rate your replies tomorrrow?
You're very welcome. Please take gentle care and consistent action. Have a good night.
RealSupport and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Rafael,


Following the breakdown of reconciliation with the previous "counsellor"(3 months please see attached agreement ),we are both now willing to attend

another 3 to 6 months of counselling/psychotherapy intensive sessions.We still live separately, and that was at the request of my spouse who at the time desperately wanted more "freedom" as she could not deal with my situation .She is a high school teacher and carreers counsellor at her school and has her own earnings.I take care of all other expenses including 3 children at university in UK.

The last agreement provided that for the counselling period i would support her income by paying the rent of her own apartment.

My question is whether such support will help the process OR will make her feel more comfortable and less keen to work for a solution...

The second question is to clarify with the children(who so far been financially spoiled) my financial support/a budget agreement for the period of their studies and should such an agreement be in writing and to the extent of detail....

Thank you


Following is a letter prepared jointly by my wife and the councellor on 12 April.

The actual agreement i have in pdf file , how can I forward it to you??


Dear Yiannis

These past weeks with Wil may seem to be slow progress, but gradually I am becoming aware of the changes that we need to make in order to see positive growth in our lives.

Originally we had been talking about a ‘separation’ agreement but that is hard for both of us to digest, so I would say it is best to refer to the necessary change as a ‘solution’ . This solution has to involve spending time apart . This solution needs to happen as much to help me as to help you. It is to help us both to grow and and make the necessary changes to become a positive – rather than a negative - influence on each other.

This solution, or distance, is not a form of escape, nor is it a holiday. It comes with no guarantees but requires sacrifices. I am sacrificing the safety and security of my home in the hope of positive outcomes on both sides. I see this solution as a gift we give to each other.

By continuing the way we are, we try to put a sticking plaster on a festering wound! We keep each other imprisoned in old patterns. We keep each other on a leash and perpetuate our addictive relationship, so clearly, these patterns have to be broken.

This solution is scary but it is a step towards real freedom. You know me and my needs so well. By giving up the security of my home I am telling you that I trust you and I believe that we can resolve our respective issues and move towards a real and mature relationship of trust and respect.

For my part I will work on myself. Your challenge of freeing yourself from the dependency on pills is already a tremendous task and I do not want to be your distraction.

We were asked to make a list of things we want or expect from each other. I believe that your best intentions guide you and I trust that you will provide for me. Mutual trust will guide us to a better solution.

I want to do what is best for both of us and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this is it. We need to create a new basis from which to form a healthy relationship and this solution I give it to you wholeheartedly so that you can focus on your health. And what I need, in return, is your trust.


Catherine 12 April 2012


I have manage to copy the pdf text and I am attaching it below


24 April 2012

Yiannis (3)

This last week we seem to have got lost in detail and have lost sight of the bigger picture and the real purpose behind what we need to do.

Before that, I want to reassure you of certain things:

- There is no issue about moving the family home - it is and will remain Anna Court;

- Our individual meetings and meetings together with Wil will continue so that we can make progress;

- Alexis – and all the kids - will know that his home is in Anna Court and he is free to stay in either place;

I feel the need to regroup and make it clear to myself and perhaps to us both what is going on and where we stand in all this.

As long as we stay together under the same roof we maintain the old habits which entrap us. My being there keeps us in the old habits; the medication keeps us in the old habits. We are blocked. That is why it is necessary to create this distance. This distance will energize us, and will allow us to progress.

We have to knock down before we can build up – we have to destroy the toxic relationship and break down the old patterns where we hold each other prisoner, each depending on the other. To do this we need the space to be apart and look at ourselves afresh. It will be the beginning of a healing process where we can build up a new relationship.


ME: to focus on myself; to understand myself better; to know what is good about me and how I can be better

YOU: to focus on yourself; to quit the medication; to be good to yourself; to find happiness

US: to establish a healthy relationship; to understand each other and communicate better

KIDS: To see us at peace and cooperating, working on our problems; to enjoy happiness in household

SO it is important that I move to a place where I will feel good during this period.

This solution will give us both a real chance to work and make progress. We each have an opportunity to improve ourselves. You see the situation from your perspective as I do from mine – but neither one of us is right or wrong. This move is a temporary solution which we must act on immediately for our own good and so that we can START to make progress.

We WANT to make a fresh and a positive start and I respect and trust you and BELIEVE in you.


It will be easier if – as you suggested – you take over payments for the children and grammar school.

So you can stop the EUR1,800 as well as the EUR1,100 payment. It would be good if you could look after the rent. I believe I can manage with that.




25 April 2012

I feel glad to know you have been working on yourself and that apparently your wife is willing to start counseling. I just hope it is professional counseling and not one like previous "esoteric counseling" where the hostility and hatred from her got so fueled.

My biggest concern here is her "need for freedom". Freedom is always a good thing as long as it is real, healthy, assertive and responsible, and not a way to avoid reality, justify behaviors or any type of neglect, manipulation or abuse.

I assume you are paying her rent because her own salary is not enough for her to afford it. right? Otherwise you could be right if she could afford that but you pay for it, unless your finances happen to be so much better than her and feel totally fine with it. If that is not the case, I would recommend you to reassess the soundness and benefits of paying for an apartment.

Then you said you have spoiled your adult children, and my response to that is that spoiling children, even more when they are already adults, could be even worst than abuse, so never should be perpetuated at all. Healthy, assertive support would mean you affording college expenses as much as possible and as long as they do perfectly comply with all their responsibilities. I assume they study full time and because of the academics demands are unable to do any part-time job. If that's the case and they are totally respectful, responsible and grateful and you can afford all that support, perfect, but if that is not the case, you need to work on a wiser, healthy approach, and therapy must consider that issue as a core area for you to work on.

I do not recommend you to set on paper anything between you and your adult children, since your support is something you choose to do if you can and they deserve it because of their accountability and productive-healthy lives.

Please work on these concerns with your individual psychotherapist and then discuss about it in marriage counseling.

Thank you for your trust.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Rafael,


We are still at a standstill trying to agree on a professional therapist,and i have some more questions ...

1. we still leave separately and my wife is demanding more money...and pleads that she does not have enough to live comfortably...Anyhow i think she has enough and living separate is temporary until some sort of solution.

However even if i feel she has enough, i fear that her reaction will be extreme if i dont agree to pay her rent and that the effort for a solution may be jeopardised......Ofcourse i feel supressed by many unreasonable demands but still hope (and was admitted by her that " I am not her problem" only her trigger) that she is finding a beggining to her real problems.She insists that the previous "esoteric school counsel"

has helped her and asks to we go back to her....


2 Does living apart for a prolonged period pose any dangers to the process..?ofcourse at the moment none of us 2 is ready to co habit as things are ....


3 My retired swiss friend (ex psychologist) is of the opinion that the therapy process w my wife must continue,separately ,as you suggested,

and he firmly believes that my detox to zero and my wellbeing is a milestone to the family, and that my real therapy on myself will start after zero detox , because he believes that the antidepressants that i take limits at present my ability for deeper therapy....whats your opinion?


4 My friend also advises me that i must travel once a month for a few days out of our island,as a break but also as a way to face my past fear of travelling (panick attacks in past ,insecurity of being out of control,no fear of planes...) I travelled to greece begining of july but been postponing it as the process is stagnated and not feeling my best..


Finally, I know that the future depends on my handling of my issues, which will influence the rest of family, and of course how long it will take my wife to come to a realisation ...

I have now almost closing a year since unsuccesfull detox,depression,loss of my mother, son getting involved in drugs, family break up.......tiring but thank God I am almost at the end of detox and physically fitter.

How does it bother me so much the break up? If i think logically i should abandon my wife for the treatment i received during my critical times, but i know deep down she has an option to free herself from all suffering ,suppressed feelings and blaming ....

thanks you






I am sorry to know about this tough situation.

Responding to your questions:

1- If you choose to keep paying her rent, my suggestion is for you to set a time frame for it, like 3 or 4 more months you would commit to that, reasonable period for her to work on her personal issues and to work on marital problems to the point of deciding if she truly wants to work on healing this marriage or not. I believe that postponing resolution and for her to demand more money would become obviously abusive and very manipulative. She has a job, she is not disable and he is acknowledging it is more about her personal issues, and you know she has enough income to live just fine, so please be very careful not to allow financial abuse.

2- I do not recommend you to agree to get back to previous "esoteric counselor" because of what you already know about this person and the negative impact it had on you. She needs real professional psychotherapy to work on her personal issues and a professional marriage and family therapist to work with the two of you in order to find out if she really wants and has what it takes to heal the marriage or not.

3- Pushing living together would not help. Both need to spontaneously feel you truly want it for it to work. This should not justify perpetuating financial abuse of any kind. Obviously the more time it takes the harder it would get to get back, and it could only help the marriage if during this time both truly commit to work on personal and marital issues, otherwise it would not help.

4- One core priority is for you to get totally into your rehabilitation process, and for sure once you get clean you would have more clarity and strength to cope and take better care of self and the marital crisis. I keep recommendations around therapy.

5- Facing fears, phobias and anxieties is always necessary but would be hearty and positive as long as with the right support, that's why you need consistent individual counseling to get necessary help on reducing anxiety and improving mood and ability to function and enjoy life.

6- Please be always realistic, truthful towards yourself and honest towards people, so you would be able to take good care of yourself not allowing anybody to use, abuse nor neglect you.

Your wife is totally responsible for her own healing and well-being, for her choices and actions, the same as you are for your own life. Focus on what you can and should control, and let her to do the same. If she chooses not to, then there is nothing you could do about that.

Stick to therapy to work on rehabilitating also from depression and anxiety and you would see things clearly and feel much better.

Please post a new question in case you happen to want further support. Thanks.