Well to start off my wife and I have been married for 4 years, and have 2 beautiful children together. The problem started about 2 months ago, I recently got a job that requires me to travel periodically. Got back from a week long trip and I could tell that my wife was acting differently. The next day I asked her about it, she said that she loves me, but not in love with me. We talk about it and I told her I was gonna try to win her back but give her, her space. Two days later she said that she’s in love with me, said that she thinks it was a emotional response for me leaving. Saying she shut down her feeling so she wouldn’t miss me. Fast forward two months and it happens again, same exact thing. Then she throws in there that she doesn’t think that she was in love with me even when we got married. And this time I have to leave for a month for my job. Again we talked about it, she says that she wants to try to work it out, that maybe she’s just not capable of loving someone because of her horrible childhood. But I’m worried that I am going to lose her, and I don’t know how to save it. She doesn’t want to try counseling or anything wants to work it out on our own. Is there anything I can do to bring her back to me, or should I just give her space and back off, and prepare for the worst?? (age 31, from US)Scared Wife Is Detaching from Me
Scared Wife Is Detaching from Me
A: You are in a difficult situation. If you push too much, you may push her away, but if you just back off to give her space, she may not feel that you care enough to fight for the marriage. On the positive side, it sounds like these problems really only started around the same time you got the new job requiring travel, so hopefully it is just an adjustment period. It could be that your traveling is triggering some underlying issues for her regarding abandonment — or some other left over issues from her “horrible childhood,” and with time things will stabilize again.
It is unfortunate that she isn’t willing to go to counseling right now, but that doesn’t stop you from going. If you set up some appointments for yourself it might show her how much you really care. It might also help pave the way for her to join you or decide to see someone herself. The therapist can also help you deal with the negative effects of the traveling job and your wife’s response to it.
If things don’t improve in the next few months, you might have to reconsider the job and its effect on your family. Aside from therapy, you might benefit from reading some self-help books on marital problems and childhood abuse and neglect, such as Outgrowing the Pain Together. I hope things work out for the two of you and you are able to work through this difficult time.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts