Is Divorce the Right Call?
Q: My wife recently moved out and we are heading towards a divorce. We communicate daily and we treat each other with decorum. My problem with her has been my lack of trust in her judgment. For example, when I was on a business trip, she traded the wedding ring I gave her for a larger and more expensive ring without telling me she used my jewelry credit card. I found out three months later and confronted her. She felt it was okay for her to upgrade without my knowing. With this in mind, I came home later that week from work and she was showing my next door neighbor all of my banking statements to prove I can afford to pay on her new ring. I think a divorce is a good judgment call on my behalf, don't you? -- Jeff, 57
Dr. Susan: The example you give of your wife's untrustworthy judgment is a good one, but not nearly enough to justify instant divorce. If we assume that this is only one of a great many times she has gone behind your back and done foolish or disloyal things, then you may have a case. I would certainly suggest you try some counseling before making the decision, though. People always say they're "tried everything," but they rarely have. We would have to hear your wife's side of the story, of course. Perhaps she feels constricted by your efforts to control the family finances and would like a larger say in how they money is spent. There is no excuse for her sharing your banking details with someone else. That's childish and passive aggressive, a way to get her way and make her "case" without discussing things with you directly. I wonder if the two of you have been struggling with communication issues for the length of your marriage. Such issues can be improved with a few simple strategies, but you both have to want to work on the relationship. As she's already moved out, it's hard to say what's really going on.
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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.