I have been married for 12 years and have gone through a lot of problems. I owned my own business (general contractor) with a partner who was not able to put his 50% into the business. I decided to talk with him and tell him I was going on my own. He agreed with this and I feel pretty good about the future, but there is more to this. I was, and still am, an obsessive/compulsive person (with credit cards and finances). I had to file for chapter 13 to relieve us from the debt. Some of this debt was for personal things; I always felt there would be enough money to pay for everything I bought. About 1/2 of the debt was from paying the mortgage and groceries, gas, paying credit bills with other credit cards, etc… Before all of this happened, my wife wanted to go back to college full-time to get her masters degree in social work, about 6 years ago (1992). There was a point in time where I felt she was putting a lot of pressure on me to fill the entire financial gap, but I understood that she was trying to better herself. In October of 1997 I was asked to leave my house and my kids by my wife’s wishes — I did. I was extremely upset about the whole mess. I was living with my father, who is the best father in the world to me, for about 8 weeks. He wanted me to see a doctor about my situation with the credit and cash problem. I got the help I needed through medication. One week before Christmas, I called my wife to see if she and my daughters wanted to go to the movies, and she started crying. She asked me to come over and talk — I did. She wanted me back, but something was still not right. On January 22 she wanted to get her own apartment and leave. I have been told I am not loved, not wanted, and disliked by her. She has asked for a divorce, but now wants to just separate in hopes that whatever problem she is having with me will go away. I am a wonderful and loving father to my kids and I love my wife. I can’t get inside of her to find out what the hell is going on. At this stage, I feel the only way I’m going to save our marriage is to get her some professional help. Something is holding her back from filing for divorce. What do I do? I need help!
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You’re not the one who needs help! Your wife does. You said it yourself… “to get her some professional help,” and from what you’ve explained of the situation, it sounds as if that’s exactly what she needs. Apparently she’s having a hard time figuring out her feelings toward you and the marriage. Why that is is anybody’s guess. But what is clear is that she’s inadvertently causing you a great deal of pain and distress with her ambivalence. If she can’t resolve this on her own, in short time, then she needs to see a psychotherapist, such as a psychologist or clinical social worker. You seem to be well aware of your own problems and limitations, and I think that speaks pretty well of your maturity level. It also bodes well for the future of your relationship with her, if she can figure out what her own difficulties are. It’s always a good idea to have a firm handle on one’s strengths and weaknesses, and you seem to have that. Since you love your wife and kids so much, I encourage you to hang in there a little bit longer with her. Ask her to seek counseling immediately, and give her some time to work out things in therapy before giving up on her. If there were more men like you in the world, I think this world would be a better place. Sincerely, – Anne