Am I possessive?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve been married 35 years. My wife went to visit her sister and brother-in-law. While visiting, her sister set up a night out for the three of them and a male friend, I thought it was a little weird. I left a v mail with a sarcastic message I hope you enjoyed your double date. That night we had a fight and she said it was an impromptu dinner nothing more, asked me if I trusted her.

Over the next three nights I found she lied about it being just a dinner, and the other man leaving after dinner, and then lied about where the 3 of them went after dinner (all four of them went to a club). Am I too possessive? It seems the new lies made each phone call to her another reason for me to yell at her each time I caught her in a lie. She says I have anger mgmt issues and still says she did nothing wrong including the 3 or 4 different lies. I also think her sister is advising her on what to do and say. Any thoughts or advice?

A: Thank you for your question. It sounds like a very difficult thing to be coping with.

There is a problem in the relationship if your wife feels she has to lie to you. In an intimate relationship trust is essential, and while we only have your side represented it is clear your wife found it necessary to hide something from you and lie about it several times. This is typically emblematic of larger issues of trust and I would strongly encourage you to talk to her about seeking couples counseling.

Here is my rationale: If you are too possessive then this needs to be dealt with more directly in the relationship than your wife avoiding the problem by not telling you things she fears will upset you. If you are not possessive and your wife is hiding her activities and lying to you then this issue needs to be dealt with more directly. There is a rule in couples therapy: If one person in the relationship has a problem, both of you have a problem.

If your wife is unwilling to go to couples therapy I would recommend a solo venture for you. This can help you to sort through this issue and cope with the relationship in general. You can use the find help tab at the top of the page for a referral.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Am I possessive?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/28/am-i-possessive/

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