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         I Married The Wrong Person

Not How, But Why

My issues are so many and complicated I don’t know where or how to start, but I’ll try.  I’ve been with my husband for 14 years and married about eight.  Even when we were dating he was cold, emotionless, and secretive.  He would never share things like his salary and his whereabouts, or recount stories about his childhood.

However he loved his family very much and adored children.  Silly me, I figured when we got married, he would love and treat me like his family, too.  By the time we married we had broken up five times, and the fights were horrible.  We are expecting our first child this summer, and he’s still very cold.

His family hates me and is always meddling in his affairs.  His brother and sisters have keys and open access to our home and come and go as they please—and he thinks this is fine.  I love my family, too, but they do not come to my house unannounced as they please.

Please note there is nothing wrong with me.  I’m smart, educated, physically attractive, gainfully employed, active in the community, and popular in my social and professional life.  While I am pregnant and this should be a happy time, I am contemplating divorce. 

I believe if I don’t leave these toxic and crazy people, I’m going to end up in a mental home.  I have asked him to attend counseling, but he refuses.  Please help!  We are beyond fixing.  I just need to know how to exit while I still can!

Evelyn

Evelyn, your letter raises a hundred questions, and the least of these is how to end it.  See a good lawyer.  Any 12-year-old could tell you that.  But neither we, nor a 12-year-old, can tell you how to end the lifetime of contact you will have with these people because of your child.

The 99 questions which need answering involve how a smart, attractive woman finds herself in this situation.  Without new input there will be no new output.  Unless you grow as a person, after you divorce this will happen again because people do what they know.

You cannot change your husband through counseling for two reasons.  First, he won’t go, and second, he is the same person he has always been.  He has a right to say, “How dare she ask me to change!”  Marriage counseling isn’t like throwing salt over your shoulder when it has been spilled.  It isn’t magic.

But do get individual counseling for yourself.  Your life is a mixture of parents and friends, common clichés and inherited emotions.  Somewhere in all that you picked up the wrong answer to the question, who should I marry?

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Morally Unfit

I'm 25, married for six months.  There are two issues for me: one, I got married for the wrong reasons to the wrong man, and two, I am currently sleeping with my 40-something married coach. 

The first of my problems is that in the three years since my husband and I got engaged, we've taken different paths and grown far apart.  I became active and started eating healthy, while he stayed sedentary, eating hot dogs and cookies all the time.  I am a triathlete and travel the country competing.  I eat an athlete's diet, organic and natural only.

I do this for health and because of beliefs I've developed about farming and the environment.  My husband doesn't even have a gym membership and refuses to eat healthy.  This is the way he's always been, but until recently I guess I ignored how much it bothers me.  I made the mistake of thinking he would change, especially after we married.

I make a conscious effort to show interest in things he does, but I can't talk to him about my training because he doesn't listen.  He never comes to my races.  It is hurtful because I work so hard and love what I do.  I feel we no longer have enough in common to have more than a basic friendship.

The second issue is my coach.  He approached me at the gym a few months ago, asked if I had a coach, and asked if I wanted to be part of his team.  I joined his team and at first we had a normal coach-athlete relationship.  Then it escalated to a sexual level after he emailed one day saying I was beautiful and had pretty eyes.

He is married with two children.  When it started, we agreed it would be physical only because we didn't want our spouses finding out.  I have no problem with that, but he seems to push the emotional side of it.  He calls me when he is out of town.  He emails from work all day, and we go back and forth about sex, training, and relationships.

He will ask, "Do you miss me?"  Or say, "I felt a spark last night at the pool."  Or mention, "You are definitely someone I could fall for."  Then he will turn around and say if it gets emotional it has to stop.

I know this all makes me morally bankrupt and a huge cheater, but I've gotten myself into it and don't know what to do.

Sally

Sally, one of Oscar Wilde's stories has this memorable line.  "When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one has a right to blame us."  Admitting to being morally bankrupt is a defensive gesture so we won't throw stones at you.  We're going to throw stones anyway.

You knew who your husband was before you married him.  He hasn't changed.  You thought you had the power to transform him, but you don't.  Green bananas ripen and change color when you get them home.  Tomatoes and lemons do the same.  But not people.  Greatness doesn't get concealed.  You can't marry someone thinking they are keeping their light under a basket to surprise you.

Frankly, it's hard to see your canoodling coach as a person instead of a type.  He's like the villain in an old-time melodrama.  When he comes on stage, dressed in black and twirling his mustache, we know he's going to foreclose on the widow and seduce her daughter. 

Coach has played this role many times.  He has his lines down pat.  Give the latest conquest the ground rules--spouses must never know--then play her emotions like a fiddle.

You've damaged four other people.  We'd give you advice, but you already know what to do.  You need a new cast of characters in your life, and your relationships need to be as healthy as your diet.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Starvation

I have been married 15 years and now have a daughter, 12.  Ours was an arranged marriage.  Initially I was not keen, but in our native country we get carried away emotionally with our parents' will. 

Before the marriage my husband seemed quite talkative and did not voice his likes and dislikes.  Our honeymoon was quiet as we really did not know what to say.  Gradually we got attached and followed a routine.  As life passed I realized my husband is obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness and money.

With these fixtures in his mind he accused me of being careless in both departments.  He made it clear my parents had not given enough and are foolish in not saving enough.  On top of that he keeps comparing me to my sister-in-law with her intelligence and sensible parents. 

I've done my best to prove my worth for him and for the happiness of the family.  Due to these fixtures he does not take me or my child anywhere.  It can be months or even years for a lunch or dinner out.  We've never gone on a vacation as a family.  I work hard to make money, but he is never satisfied. 

Now please tell me, what kind of life am I leading?  My daughter, too, has given up on him taking her out or giving her time.  I need to know if it is okay to start thinking of starting a new life?

Asha

Asha, at the end of World War II some researchers studied babies and children who had lost their parents in war-torn Europe.  Though these children had enough to eat and lived in a clean environment, they failed to thrive.  Some, in fact, died.  The ones who survived showed depression of the kind associated with mourning in adults.

There is a difference between living and existing.  Beyond our physical needs are emotional needs.  The greatest of these is love.  With no one to love and no one to love you, there is a huge void in your life.  To outward appearances you are all right, but inside you are starving.

To thrive we must be nourished.  Otherwise we are like those homeless children, existing but not truly alive.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Is It Love?

My husband is twice my age.  From the beginning I had a problem because I was not attracted to him as an older man, though I found security with him.  No, he is not a millionaire or even close, he is just more responsible than those my age. 

I always had a problem because he looks very old and has false teeth he takes out when we make love.  This is hard for me, but a sacrifice I make for my children's comfortable lifestyle.  Also, I have a soon-to-be crippling illness.

The problem is we fight all the time.  Whenever I make a mistake or don't do exactly what he wants, he puts me down or gives me the cold shoulder.  I am faithful and committed to making it work, but he seems to think I am lucky to have him and he is not lucky to have a young woman.

He says he can do better without me and I should go find a younger man.  Honestly, I truly love him with all my heart, but I am not attracted to him whatsoever.  It's more of an unconditional love rather than a head-over-heels type of love.  Should I stay for the comfort, or do I find someone I can respond to as far as attractiveness, sex, and communication?

Teresa

Teresa, when we are without shelter, we rejoice in finding a job which will allow us to have our own flat.  But once we have our own flat, we want someone we love to share it with.

Where were you on your wedding day?  About to marry a man for his money.  Where are you today?  Married to a man you don't feel is worth the money.  When you marry for love, you and your partner can work together to obtain the good things of life.  But when you marry for money, you learn that money cannot be turned into love.

The absolute proof is your case: a woman with children and a soon-to-be crippling illness thinking about leaving the man she married for security.  With him, you picked based on money.  Now you're wondering about picking for looks, sex, or age.  Where is love in any of this?

Will a different combination of characteristics solve your problem, or is it love you are really seeking?

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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