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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Follow-Up to (Not) Putting My Life Back...

Follow-Up to (Not) Putting My Life...

See the Original Email here

Sent: Monday, January 31, 2000 4:32 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice

Dear Irene,
Thank you for taking time to reply!.. at first it hurt to see my mistakes highlighted...
I know...sorry...
but now I see the true benefit of it and thank you for it! Yes, I realize that I am hurting my husband.. and in regards to why does he stay.. I think it is because he has such low self esteem.. he thinks no other woman would want him, etc.. as well as a strong Christian belief to stay with your wife forever.. (His mother has set the example by staying in a very abusive relationship for 49 years!).  (His mom is suffering mental problems because of this too.) 


Do you think it would be best for me to let my husband continue seeing therapists.. placing personal ads.. and writing and calling other women?.. is that what I deserve for causing him so much pain?..
No, you don't "deserve" any of it. Two wrongs don't make a right! But, you have no control - at all - over  his behavior. He will do what he wants to do. And, if he is doing it to get your goat, which I suspect is a part of it, he will only do it more if you try and stop him.
Or will it only cause him to finally explode and get more revenge on me when he can later. 
I really hope not. That's why I said  both of you were playing games. Each of you need to stop it. If he won't stop, at least you can stop the back-stabbing.
 We are seeing a pastor and what appeals to him the most is the "submit to your husband" passage he mentioned... Our therapist said that our relationship was in the past I was the cat and he was the mouse.. and now he is the dog.. with a big growl.. She asked us what it would take to put us on equal terms.. and to build our trust.. how can I build trust for him when I see money spent without telling me.. when I get phone bills showing he is still calling.. and see letters that he is still writing.. am I crazy in thinking that this relationship is over and the only reason he is staying around is so that he can 'get revenge' or 'get even' with me by causing me pain.

I think your marriage is far from over. You two seem very, very enmeshed in a destructive relationship.

Stop REACTING to what he is doing. Stop trying to figure out what he's doing. He may not know what he's doing! Neither one of you deserve to disrespect yourselves by mis-behaving (i.e., acting out) to get back at the partner. Not worth it!

Better: Ignore his behavior - for you can't control it or make his choices. Trying to do so is codependent behavior. Do what you must for yourself - and your own sanity. This is where you do have control. If his stuff bothers you so much, think about what you can do to get your own life together. I know no other way out. The good news is when one partner says "no more", the other often backs down and becomes willing to work the issues. 

The comments were appreciated and thanks so much for your insight.. it really made me stop and think!
Thank you...You took my very strong words very graciously - and constructively. My very best regards, Dr. Irene

A reader's comments are here!