Wife Without Options
Q: I've been married 32 years and have always been faithful. My husband lately has totally shut me out of his life and will not talk to me. If I go to him with anything at all, he shakes his head at me in disgust and walks away. He is extremely mentally abusive to me but he denies it even when he is doing it! I just found out that he's been on a cheating site, and right there in his phone in black and white I can see he is lying to me. He said he never did it. I'm on oxygen, and I'm scared of being alone. After all of this I still want him, but he doesn't want me. What can I do? -- Sandy, 58
Dr. Susan: You have found yourself in a really tough situation. You want to stay with this man who treats you badly. But he must be providing some sense of security that makes you prefer staying put to moving off on your own with your health issues. He has no motivation to give up his cheating. He'll just continue to lie about it, knowing your options are limited.
You have to make a hard choice. If you stay as you are, don't expect that he will be kinder to you than he is now, and in fact, he may find someone else and leave you anyway. If you think you might be able to make it on your own, perhaps with the support of family or friends, you had better see a lawyer quickly and learn about your rights. I don't know if you live in a community property state. The main point is that you can't make someone like you if they don't. You could call it a mid-life crisis he's having and hope he'll come to his senses, but I wouldn't bet on that. Of course, the fact that he's lying about his activities suggests he's in no hurry to leave or to have you leave. But I don't see a good future for you as things are.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.