Been married about 10mth. We’ve known each other 10 years, mostly not together as he is from overseas. He moved to the US and we got married recently. Seemed a bit homesick and perhaps depressed after a few months, but that’s it. Recently he started not coming home. It started small. He was late from work or school, didn’t text or respond to texts or calls. Then he just wouldn’t come home until next day and wouldn’t say or would just say be home late and ignore any follow-up question. After the first few times, he explained that he was bored or unhappy and it just built up until it was just exploding. I told him that he could spend time with friends but he should have respect for me and keep me updated. After that he proceeded to stay away for 5 days, texting me daily that he would be home that night. He even apologized and proceeded to stay away another two days. He eventually came home but now we are in another week+ period. There has been no real explanation other than saying he is having fun, just an unreliable person, he wants to make sure it is clear in his mind before he explains it, and it has to do with us. The behavior has been extremely cruel, not explaining what is wrong and just giving the silent treatment. I could never imagine doing that to someone I love. He has done similar things in past but were not living together – they involved silent treatment that lasted a week until I could get him to explain – usually some kind of perceived idea about how I will react to something. He does not really communicate his feelings. He does not take criticism well. He makes few decisions and procrastinates. He is always late. He shows no anger. I asked him to go to our PCP but told him just a checkup re potential depression. He agreed, came home and he went to do laundry and never came back – without a coat in cold, later texting he felt I was pushing/controlling him. He said the problem was us-me (no detail) and cancel the appt. We are now at the point where he says he loves and misses me but is not ready to come home. Any idea what could be causing this or how I can help?
Let him know that you have reached your limit and are filing for divorce. This will let him know you have reached a limit and that his behavior isn’t tolerable. Maybe he’s depressed, maybe he’s having an affair, maybe he regrets getting married, maybe he’s homesick. Whatever it is he isn’t being a reliable, loving spouse and, unless there is a radical change on his part the marriage, isn’t viable. Often, taking a clear stand and setting a boundary about what is and isn’t tolerable can be a wake-up call. The simple facts are this is his issue and he isn’t dealing with it. Let him know that you wish things were different, but since he isn’t trying to change his behavior you are going to have to file for a divorce.
Finally, I’d then let him know you are going to make an appointment with a therapist and would like him to come. Give him the time and the date and go. If he shows—great. This can be a clear conversation about your disappointments. If he doesn’t show begin individual therapy to help you make the break. Him not showing will be a clear sign for you to move on. It is not your job to take care of him, rather it is time to take very good care of yourself. The find help tab at the top of the page can help you find someone in your area.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2019). Spouse’s Disturbing Behavior. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/04/05/spouses-disturbing-behavior/
Last updated: 5 Apr 2019 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 Apr 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.