Dear Dr. Romance:
My wife has developed a connection with someone at work. Can I ask her to give up her job? If the guy she works with is the source of her attention, would it not be better to take im out of the picture. If she doesn't see him at all wouldn't that help her concentrate on 'us'. It has been a month since we have been intimate, and this has been going on for almost two months. I am trying to be patient; is there anything I can use as encouragement to help me continue fighting for my family, for my wife. Is there signs, from her, I can use to know if things are changing?
I am going to ask her to go to a marriage counselor. If she insists we don't need one, and that everything will work out...then what??
Well, it's really time to begin talking to your wife (if it's not too late already). A marriage can't survive on occasional time together. You both need contact with each other. It sounds like what happened is that she was used to being neglected, but now she's in an environment with other people who are giving her attention, communication and perhaps even affection. That's what you have to compete with.
DO NOT get upset and demand anything right now. If you do, she will just get defensive and argue, or clam up and refuse to talk. No matter how upset you are, you need to stay calm, let her know that you care about her, and invite her to talk to you. What she probably needs to know is that you will listen to her without getting angry. Let her know you're worried, you miss her, you want to fix any problems the two of you have.
Begin there, and then if the two of you both still want the marriage to work, you'll probably need some counseling. This may be too big a problem to handle on your own. Read my article "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" I understand why you want her to give up her job -- it's not a good idea to ask anything of her right now. It still sounds as if you're seeing all this as "her fault" rather than the obvious result of a problem *both* of you have created. Your best bet is to search for where *you* have gone wrong, and look for ways to fix that. If you make that effort, and find ways to make being with you as inviting as possible, you may find that she volunteers to quit or do something else to increase your time together. But, to push for her to quit when she's having a better time at work than at home, is not likely to work. Get yourself some help in seeing things more from her point of view, and a little less from your own. "Handling the Green-Eyed Monster" will help you both understand jealousy and how to talk about it. My book, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences can help you create a more functional relationship.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.