Dr. Romance:

I am a retired police officer who found his wife sneaking around with another man 3 years ago. We have 3 kids. I cook and clean and up all night doing laundry 3 to 4 nights a week. I work two jobs to support my kids and family. I love my wife and forgave her with what happened 3 years ago, but she never forgave me for tracking her down to that guy's house that very dark day when she was supposed to be working.

She was physically abusive to me for many years and I am wrong for letting it start and I had to put a stop to that saying that if she ever punched me in the head again, I would punch her back as I never put my hands on her and never would, I would never ever hit a women. I would do or give this women anything.

To this day, she is verbally abusive to me saying I am not a man, and that I am not going anywhere when I tell her she is pushing me. I don't want to let my 3 kids down who are under the age of 13. She takes things out on my 9 year old and when yelling at her, says you are just like your father, meaning me. She is a mean person and blames me for her actions and the way she is.

I wish I had the nerve to pick up and leave but don't want my kids to look at me later in life as a dead beat dad that walked out. I know many men going through the same thing. She was the love of my life and sometimes think she will change, but she don't. I am just so confused. My kids see the tension and think it's taking a toll on them. What do you think. I need direction or a real women to come into my life and wake me up.

Dear Reader:

You don't have to leave. You just need enough backbone to get yourself to a counselor. You need to learn to stand up to her without returning the abuse. You did a good job of limiting her behavior with the physical abuse, but you need to go the rest of the distance. She's getting her way by throwing temper tantrums, and it's not healthy for her, for you and especially not your kids.

A counselor can help you learn to be calm and stand your ground with her. Tell her you won't put up with any more tantrums or bad, abusive behavior toward yourself or your kids. Tell her she needs help with anger management, and if she doesn't get it, then you will leave and take the kids with you. You need to mean this, so she believes it. Do not ever give in to threats, complaints or criticism. Don't give her what she wants unless her behavior changes. She's not really a mean person, she's an out-of-control three year old in a grownup body, which is dangerous.
"Anger: Cleansing Squall or Hurricane?"  
 will help you understand how to deal with your wife's behavior.  

It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

 will help your whole family learn how to be more emotionally healthy.  The following guidelines will also help:

Anger is the emotional energy within each of us that rises up when something needs to change. Anger needs to be talked about, but not acted out. Acting out your anger (tantrums, yelling, violence) unless it is done in a carefully controlled therapeutic environment, simply reinforces the idea that anger is the same as acting out. Those therapeutic sessions that urge people to express their anger with yelling are really intended for people who have trouble getting angry.  Anger management and abatement requires learning about your anger, what it means, what triggers it, and how to use it in a healthy way. 
"Anger Management" 
has steps to help both of you to be more in control of your anger. If you can't calm down enough to do this, you may have an anger problem and need therapy or anger management classes.

IEWY new cover

For low-cost phone counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

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.