I am having issues in my relationship with a woman I married. Things were relatively problem free after living together for a year. After a year, we had a conflict over her son, of which time I was accused of interacting with her son in a way that I feel is contrary to my character. Now her son’s father is back in the picture. Regardless of what she tells me, I am confused about the status of that relationship. When I ask her about our relationship, she says that she is not sure what the status of our relationship is at this point. When I pour my heart out to her, she says she doesn’t know what to say at this point. However, she calls me when she and her children have a need, and, out of respect and concern, I am there of her. I am unsure what to do anymore, I want the relationship and I want to support her, but I don’t want to be used for money, especially if she does not care about me anymore. Though I have backed away from the relationship I have not given up on the relationship, particularly since I don’t really believe in divorce. This situation is very painful and I am not sure what to say or do to move forward. Please help.
You have outlined a number of issues in this letter, and, in an effort to make you think about the entire situation, I am going to take it a part to make sure I cover all of the bases:
- THE ISSUE WITH THE CHILD: Without further details, I cannot speak in your defense as to what happened with her child; however, I can say until this issue is resolved there can really be no moving on for everyone as a family unit. Especially for you, if you are continuously having to defend yourself against something you feel is unjust or false. There will need to be an adult conversation that needs to take place with all adults responsible for the care of the son. If this does not happen, trust and communication, the bookends of all relationships, will never develop beyond this point. Blended families are difficult even with strong communication.
- THE CHILD’S FATHER: Again, without much information, I can’t tell you if your uneasiness about the reentry of the child’s father into the picture is legitimate or not. What I can tell you to do is, like a good crime scene analyst, consider the entire body of evidence before writing off your suspicions…in other words, when you consider the over health of the relationship what are the odds that she is involved again with her child’s father? Do you think if the relationship were healthy and strong that you would have these doubts? Most importantly, consider the level of emotional engagement in your relationship. People are more likely to look for emotional attachment in others when they are not getting it with spouses and significant others.
- EMOTIONAL DETACHMENT: You have given a great deal of information in this letter which seems to provide strong evidence of emotional detachment, at least on her part. You communicate that you “pour my heart out to her” and she doesn’t return the gesture. Also, you mention that she clearly states she is not sure of the status of the relationship. (Just a passing observation: have you noticed you have not referred to her as your wife once in the letter? Food for thought??) With this in mind, I want to give you two things to think about: Why would she leave? (She gets comfort, care and financial support—WHEN SHE WANTS IT.) What are you getting from the relationship? I think once you can go to the mirror and answer these two questions honestly to yourself then it will become clear where you stand with the relationship.
- DIVORCE: Now, let’s address your comments about divorce. So you don’t believe in divorce, but you believe in unhappy, unhealthy, emotionally detached marriages? Check your belief systems on this one. If your values for marriage are so strong that you would rather PRETEND to be married than get a divorce then you will need to be pretty determined to put up with the current situation with no remorse, no whining, no complaining….because, after all, it is your choice. However, if a marriage filled with trust, stability, emotional attachment, communication, and love is what you are going for, you may need to rethink your value system on divorce because you don’t have it in this union. There are some situations in which we must get real with ourselves—I can’t let you stay in La-La Land on that issue.
At this point, I would strongly suggest that you deal with yourself with regards to the emotional detachment issues and beliefs about divorce. I think the issue with her child is secondary. I highly doubt if she felt you were a danger to her child that she would call YOU, of all people. As for the child’s father, he is also a secondary factor—even if something is taking place with them, she has made it clear, by saying she doesn’t know where things stand, that she is not fully committed to your relationship at this point. PLEASE take this time for self-reflection and analysis. I think that if you do this, once the smoke clears, you will see this is about what you want and need in a relationship—not all of these other factors that you are focusing on right now.
Best of luck, in any case. Please follow your bliss.
You can send us your relationship questions/challenges to: email@example.com