Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Obsession Or Excuse

Question:

I’ve been married for 2 years and love my husband. But!!! I’m not too happy about his relationship with his ex.

My husband is really into dogs and I don’t mind that. We recently moved out of state away from his ex. Here’s the catch. They have a dog and he keeps in touch with her for the dog, “Supposedly.” I don’t know if he has an obsession with dogs or he’s making an excuse to keep in touch with his ex.

We rescued a dog from an animal shelter and I feel like that didn’t help him forget this other dog. I maybe a jealous chick but I’ve got my reasons. How is it possible to keep in touch with his ex just for a dog as if it was a child. I just can’t understand it.

I heard so many bad things about this woman from many people including my husband. So, why keep in touch with someone like that. It doesn’t seem right to me!! I have even spoken to her and she doesn’t seem mean but, when I talk about the dog and to keep in touch with me not my husband, she gets offensive and texts my husband and, of course, I see the texts she writes without him knowing it. She texts bad things about me and he doesn’t even defend me. 

I want him to keep his distance from her. I’m the wife and I should be the one feeling comfortable about the situation. He needs to give me some respect as his wife and take into consideration my feelings.

Please help!! What should I do???

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

Solid and successful marriages rest on foundations such as trust and maintaining solid boundaries. Both of those foundations are shaky in your marriage, at least at the present time.

There is no doubt that you are angry and suspicious about the fact that your husband continues to have a relationship with his ex. After a divorce and remarriage, former spouses keep in touch with one another if children are involved. The reason is to ensure that the kids will have full availability to both parents and to ensure that both parents are involved in all of the vital aspects of raising children. However, there are no children involved in your husband’s former marriage and, therefore, no reason for them to continue to communicate. Of course, this is my opinion and others might disagree but I fail to see how a marriage can function when former spouses are involved. How can you possibly feel trusting of your husband when he continues to talk to this woman?

The other founding stone of healthy marriages is that firm boundaries are maintained between the new couple and the rest of the world. If children are involved then, they fit into those boundaries. At the present time, you and your husband do not have solid boundary lines. For example, he communicates with her, you communicate with her and you read his emails. None of this should be happening because it weakens the relationship the two of you should have. In no way should you be speaking to her. In no way should he be speaking to her. You and your husband should be speaking to each other. Yes, marriage does allow for friendships to exist. However, spouses should be one another’s best friends. There is too much suspicion for that to be happening.

In my opinion, you need to have a discussion…no…many discussions with your husband, about the inappropriateness of the present situation. Both of you need to be honest because both of you are doing things that are harmful to your marriage. He needs to stop talking to her, you need to stop talking to her and your marital boundary lines need to be made firm.

In these discussions, it is best that you refrain from accusing him. If you yell and accuse, he will become defensive and uncooperative. Rather, you need to let him know how hurt you are feeling and how jealous you are feeling because of this. You can even ask him to read this email and see if that helps.

In the end, if things do not improve then both of you need to go to marriage counseling. However, I suspect that each of you wants your marriage to succeed. Protect one another’s feelings and be mutually respectful but, build trust, boundaries and healthy mutual communication.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand