Rush to the Altar
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I recently moved to Australia from the USA this past March to be with my
girlfriend.We decided to get married this past May.I met her about 2 years
ago over the net.The first time we met face to face was last August.I'm 34
years old & she's 23 years old.This is her first ever relationship.In the
beginning of our marriage things were going great.That was until the fights
My wife gets VERY upset & angry to the point where she throws things
on the ground only to have them shatter everywhere.One one occasion she got
so mad she threw me out of the apartment but I came back.She's even torn up
most of our wedding cards people gave us.On more than one occasion she's even
tried to rip up our wedding certificate.Now I have to keep it hidden.She gets
violent when we fight & she says horrible things to me like "Why don't you
just go back to America" and "Let's get a divorce".She keeps telling me when
we fight that this marriage was a "mistake".Our last huge fight she got
really nasty & broke many things & left a few little bruises on me.I try
calming her down by talking to her but it doesn't help.In her anger she tells
me I don't do anything right &that she has no interest in the things I
like.She keeps telling me as of late that she doesn't feel close to me any
more.I gave up my friend & family(parents/brothers) & a 6 year job for her.
talk to her about councelling but she thinks it's a waste of time.She tells
me I'm the cause of her anger.I try asking her about it but she just gets mad
at me.As silly as this may sound we both made a deal that one more huge fight
& I'll leave.She's a very loving & caring wife when she isn't upset or
angry.I'm at my wits end.I love & care about her so much but these fights are
killing both of us.I really need some help.
You haven't been married six months and you're in marital hell. What were you thinking of, moving to Australia to marry someone you'd only known over the Internet?
If you moved there in March and got married in May, you and the bride from hell had only 2 or 3 months to really get to know each other before the wedding. Perhaps there were some hints during your engagement that she had a terrible temper and didn't know how to deal with her anger, or perhaps not. Certainly your story illustrates the value of long engagements and of living together before getting married.
In any case, your wife is telling you in no uncertain terms that she doesn't value you or the marriage. Can't you see that if she wants to rip up your wedding certificate, tear up the wedding cards and get a divorce, that she doesn't want to be married to you? Or you may prefer to think that she's basically a loving wife who frequently goes crazy. Either way -- whether she really wants out or is a crazy woman -- you should want out.
The key here is that she won't go to counseling. Nothing else can save your relationship, so if she won't do that, it's the end. This marriage has run its course. So don't argue, don't beg, and don't keep putting up with this out-of-control woman who is abusing you. Every time she gets nasty and breaks things and you stay, you're just teaching her that she can do whatever she wants to do and you'll still be there.
You're staying around hoping for the few good moments between fights. Unfortunately, those moments are going to get more and more scarce. She's lost all respect for you and you've probably lost all self-respect as well. Anyone who puts up with constant abuse soon begins to think they deserve no better.
You should have left by now. You probably don't want to have to admit you made a mistake and go home without your bride, but sometimes it's best to cut your losses and this is one of those times.
Life is too short to stay in a marriage like this. Tell her that either she agrees to get therapy (which she badly needs), or you're leaving. If she won't agree, your immediate next step is to see an Australian lawyer and find out how to get out of this terrible marriage.
When Love Hurts
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I dont really have a problem but I do have an urgent question for you. I was
in love close to a year ago but the feeling and relationship is gone now. I
constantly see other couples having a good time while in love. My urgent
question before I beat myself up inside is, can I love again? Can I feel what
I felt before, and have it be the same feeling and emotion? Is it possible to
feel the same thing and be as happy as I was, with someone else? I understand
that you are very busy, but please try to write me back. Thanx
Yes, you can love again. And again, and again, and again. There is no limit to the number of times you can fall in love. People fall in love in their 80's.
It's hard to see couples in love when you aren't, and I understand how much that hurts. But let their happiness be your encouragement -- if they can find love, so can you. Hardly anyone winds up spending their life with their first loves. Most people wind up with their third or fourth or tenth or twentieth love.
The good news is that once you have loved, you know what it feels like and you can get a similar feeling again. Your new love will be similar, but not totally the same. No two loves are exactly alike, and the feelings are always a little different. Enjoying those different loving feelings is part of the adventure.
Because no two people are alike, the feelings you have for your next love will be different, not better or worse, but simply different. You won't feel exactly what you felt before, but maybe you'll feel a deeper love. You will be happy with the new person, perhaps even happier.
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am a 31 year old woman who has been in a realtionship for 7 years. My story is complicated but I will be brief. I began to date this man when I was 24 and still living at home, never had a sexual relationship, yet fell completely in love with a man who is 25 years older than me. This man was in his second marriage and has 3 children from that marriage. He was separated but not divorced his divorce did not happen for 5 years long and complicated. Well we have been living together for 6 of the 7 years. Here is where it gets complicated. Since his divorce he has a problem with me being at home when the kids come over to stay. The kids are now 13, 17, & 21 (2 youngest are girls). Basically I have an apartment of which I only go to 2 times a week, all my clothes are there and I basically live out of duffle bags.
I do not feel right about this living arrangement but I sort of have accepted it. Yet lately I seem to be having problems within myself about everything. I love him yet at times I feel very neglected and overlooked. I seem to be thinking about my future and it does not make me happy. I love kids but know it is out of the question. Yet he is not paternal material in my point of view. He is very good to me in other ways such as supporting me financially as well as emotionally. I am currently going to school to get my PhD in psychology and he helps me out with my tuition when my financial aid has not covered my costs. I do not work cause he chooses for me not to work and tells me to concentrate in school 100%.
Although he loves me there are so many issues that I can not get over. I find myself crying more often than usual. As well as walking on egg shells all the time cause I fear saying the wrong thing and setting him off. There was a time when I could talk to him but lately I just can't. I have tried to tell him about this that I feel but he says that I am wrong that everything is the same and that I can still talk to him. Our communication was one of the things I valued most in our relationship and it is now almost all gone. I just can't seem to have a discussion with him without getting into an argument. I hold back alot as a result.
I feel at times that I am wasting my life on a dream or hope. I also have begun to feel tired and just want it to stop. I love him but am tired of giving so much of myself and nothing is taken into consideration. Especially when he offends me in a moment of anger. He is a very dominating man but has always been so. Yet I have been able to deal with it and not allowed him to take over all of me.But somewhere along the line I lost that control I thought I once had and he now has it. And I do not like it. Ifeel as if I am of no value.
I have no one to talk to because I have lost most of my girlfriends as a result of this relationship. The friends I do have are both our friends and I do not feel comfortable sharing this with them. Please give me some words of advise if you can.
Confused and in Love
You're 31 and he's 56. You've been together 7 years and living together 6 years and he still wants to hide you from his kids. At first, I wondered why you put up with it. Then I read that you are getting financial support. Perhaps you are in it for the security. If so, you made your own bed and now you're not sure you want to lie in it. Actually, I don't blame you.
In relationships like yours there is almost always something that makes you want to stay instead of leave, even when you know it's not right. In your case, you say you love him, and yet you also say you're walking on egg shells, you feel you have no value and you've lost yourself. You can't communicate, you cry all the time, you want kids but know he's not good father material, and he's dominating and offends you.
How bad does it have to be before you leave? Just because you've been together 7 years, you think you have an investment of time and energy in this relationship, but that's no reason to let it destroy you. You've lost yourself and most of your friends. You are depressed and it's no wonder.
People often stay in destructive relationships because the known, even if it's terrible, is easier to accept than making a change and facing the unknown. As a psychology student, it should be obvious to you that you need to make a change. The change may involve getting a job and working to support yourself while you finish your studies. But that's not the end of the world. Far worse would be to sacrifice yourself, your future, your ability to have children and your happiness to this man who doesn't appreciate you and wants to hide you.
It's time for you to stand up for yourself. Let him know you're not going to put up with it any longer. Tell him that if he wants you to leave when his children come, you'll leave, but you won't come back.
Every time you leave so that he can hide you from his kids, you demean yourself. You have to stop going along with this situation. It's not good for a woman to be subjected to this kind of dominating man, and you've been his pawn for long enough.