How to have a healthy relationship
Marriage is a big commitment. And maintaining a cordial relationship after wedding is even bigger commitment. If the balance tips even a little bit...
Marriage is a big commitment. And maintaining a cordial relationship after wedding is even bigger commitment. If the balance tips even a little bit here or there, the relationship gets toxic
Question: I am a 37-year-old married man. I have a beautiful daughter aged four. My problem is that I am extremely unhappy in my marriage. I have been married for six years. My wife is very dominating. She fights and screams for every small thing. She threatens to kill herself, run away or harm herself continuously. Nothing I do or say seems to please her. She has on occasion slapped me too. She bad mouths me to everyone we know. Threatens to lodge police complaints of harassment. I have never touched her or harmed her. I am extremely afraid of the consequences my daughter will face as she is exposed to this. I feel I am in an abusive relationship and feel trapped. How can I help myself?
Answer: Hello! In the overall situation that you are in, it is good to see you talking about your daughter with love and affection, more so your concern for her wellbeing... I can understand your concern. Whatever you have described here about your wife points in the direction of an aggressive personality type.
A person with an aggressive personality has a usual style of maladaptive aggression in many ways. Their perception of the people, situations and world, in general, may lead to usually verbally abusive, physically reactive and sometimes resorting to social slandering behaviours. All these seem to be present in your wife's case.
Remember that there are always solutions. You do not have to feel trapped in a relationship that remains in an 'Abusive' status even after all the right help is given.
While advising you to seek the required professional help to deal with the situation from all angles, let us see some factors:
1. Is the aggression only with you or even others?
2. Why is she perceiving you as a person who is ok to tolerate her behaviour?
3. Did she ever try to communicate with you in a better way any time?
4. Did you enjoy your relationship in the initial years?
5. What are the main influencers of her behaviour?
6. What is her motive to threaten you?
7. Does she have a different interest for herself?
8. What is her most often stated grouse?
It is advisable for you
1. To create a better social support system. With her maligning, you may need to put in more effort to enroll family or friends' support system. Keeping in view that maybe she actually needs some psychological support to deal with her perceptions and behaviour, (sometimes medication) it is also useful for you to deal with the situation on hand with better tact and care.
2. Remember, never take any threats of self-harm lightly.
3. You wife's family and yours, as well as others should know some basic information. You are only appraising them of the goings on and not maligning her.
4. Socially, a man may feel awkward to share marital challenges, but remember that you need to keep yourself, your daughter and even your wife safe. Most men believe that it is 'woman like' to ask for help. All of us need to be smart to reach out for help when required. Break the gender stereotype.
5. Also ensure that you are learning the coping skills to deal with the situation.
6. Constant sense of fear and worry of an aggressive spouse can cause a state of hyper-alertness and anxiety to you and even your daughter witnessing this aggression. You create your own good and secure space to relax with your daughter, she needs to know that there is an emotionally stable and strong parent with her.
All the best!
- Vasuprada Kartic, Anthroposophic Counsellor and Psychotherapist.
Question: I am a 42-year-old man married for 15 years. We have no children. My issue is that I am not attracted to my wife…never have been. She is a wonderful person, a great wife and mother and everyone loves her. I do too...very much but I'm not physically attracted to her...probably why we have no children. I have been trying very hard to change. I know I'm hurting her...we are the best of friends on every level. But I'm unable to take that further. I'm a healthy man and have been to many doctors who feel it is psychological.
My parents had a very tumultuous relationship and as a child I used to be terrified I would be abandoned. That's why even though I have been advised to separate from my wife...I cannot…I don't want to abandon her. How can I make this work?
Answer: Let me start with the most positive note in your letter 'I don't want to abandon her'… that's a wonderful thought and it's great that you are reaching out to fix your marriage. What is clearly visible is the friendship and love you both share. Sexual attraction, however, is a different ball game altogether.
You said she is a wonderful mother and then again that you do not have children...have you adopted a child or is she taking care of any relative's child? That apart, I can see how fond of her you are and the guilt you are experiencing.
One question you need to answer in your mind...is it just your wife to who you are not sexually attracted or were you never attracted to anyone sexually?
There are many reasons for not being sexually attracted to one's spouse.
Anger...not necessarily directed at her. But anger for situations in the past or present, which are beyond your control.
Fear...again an internalised emotion. Your fear of abandonment stemming from witnessing your parents in conflict could be a reason.
Anxiety, phobias surrounding the sexual act.
Performance anxiety relating to whether one can sexually satisfy one's partner or not.
Hormonal imbalances which kill the drive altogether.
Confusion regarding one's sexuality or sexual preference.
Orthodox mindsets about sex.
It is said that watching too much porn can, over time, reduce the sex drive. So does excessive self-pleasuring. Sometimes one gets used to self-pleasuring and cannot climax during intercourse.
Interactional differences between partners.
Other issues such as depression, past unrequited relationships, unwillingness to marry the spouse, sometimes obsessive-compulsive disorder where one becomes extremely fastidious about the act, or other issues surrounding sex.
Sometimes, certain medical conditions and some medications also reduce the sex drive or cause other sexual dysfunctions too. Whatever be the reason, you want to work it out and that is wonderful!
Let us try some simple measures. Physically you have said that you are normal, or some doctor would have pointed it out to you.
Try going on a vacation together. Go back to the early days of your marriage and just have fun like two young people.
Be physically demonstrative and show her how much you love her. Tell her time and again that you love her.
Buy her flowers, be romantic.
Practice non-sexual physical love.
Touch, hold, kiss, cuddle, hold hands, hug each other often...all this may slowly help in arousal.
Try to pleasure each other in ways other than intercourse.
Seek professional help and psychological evaluations to see if there is an internalised conflict that is preventing you from responding to your wife sexually?
Also, talk to each other and together explore reasons why that spark, or passion seems to be missing from your lives.
Are your lifestyles or family circumstances preventing you both from spending quality time with each other?
Try and spend time with each other. Ask your wife out on a date!
Both of you seek professional help and see if you can work this out.
Your wife too would need psychological support as feelings of rejection, Angst, and depression could be there due to the lack of sexual closeness between both of you.
do hope you will be able to work this out. Till then, be your wife's best friend, make her feel special and love her forever! Good luck!
- Dr Purnima Nagaraja, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist.
- Do you have any relationship related queries or issues with your friends, loved ones or family? For informed advice by professionals, send in your questions to [email protected]