Dr. Eris,

I have been married to an amazing man for almost 5 years.  We have four young boys amongst us; blended family and an “ours” baby (3 1/2).  When I met my husband, he was the most doting of husbands; constant foot massages, doing everything for me including laundry and cooking (and cleaning!).  We never had any reason to argue or fight during the first blissful 3 years of our marriage!  Coming from two physically violent relationships in the past, I knew that he was different – he was going to save me and above all, cherish me!   

Through our years together, we have seen ups and downs financially; layoffs, bankruptcy, vehicle repossession, and the sudden death of his Mother from breast cancer three years ago.  We are finally getting back on our feet, however my husband has changed dramatically.  He no longer reaches for my feet to rub, he gets bitterly angry at the smallest things (though he never gets physical – ever), while he doesn’t ever raise his voice, he gets frustrated at nagging children and a sometimes nagging wife.  I admit, I miss what he used to do.  One time, after we had gotten done arguing about something so trivial like the laundry, he walked into another room and flipped me off in the air (he didn’t think I saw him).  When I confronted him sadly, he denied it.  He has been lying a lot, as a matter of fact, about anything and everything.  I caught him searching for porn on his phone, leaving our bills unpaid and at risk for another bankruptcy financial situation, or just lying to me about things I ask him that are no big deal!  When I tell him I know that he’s lying, he will deny and deny until we are at a full blown argument and then he admits he lied.  I don’t get it!!!!  I hate lies; lies have never been welcome in my life since childhood – it was something my Mother never tolerated or you would get the belt.  

I’m finding myself mistrusting my husband day after day.  Long gone is the romantic I once had; the saving grace I had in my best friend and husband, and I have thought about backing out of the marriage altogether.  I’m afraid of getting hurt again.  It’s almost as if someone else took over his life because I know I would have never married him if he was the person he is today.  


Dr. Eris Suggests,

First, I would like to say I am so sorry that you and your husband are going through such difficult times. One of the most important things for you to know is that NO man is ever going to save you. Cherish you, yes. But, save you, no. I don’t want you to have unrealistic expectations of what any man is ever capable of giving you. I call expectations premeditated resentments. You must find strength within yourself.

During the beginning stages of a relationship, what I call La La Land, people are usually on their best behavior. For you this included foot massages, laundry, cooking and cleaning. But once that phase passes, Reality Land kicks in. This is when you began to experience difficult times: financial ups and downs, layoffs, bankruptcy, vehicle repossession and death. It sounds like the both of you have been under extreme amounts of pressure, which can bring the worst out in the best of people.

What I did not hear from you is the things that you were doing for him during the beginning stages of your relationship. You said he was a doting husband who did “everything for you.” But, you did not mention anything that you did for him. I want you to think back at the beginning of the relationship and remember some of those things. I want you to start doing those things again and stop nagging him. Let him know how much you love him and how you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it through the difficult times with him, your best friend. Be empathetic and respectful of the difficult times he is experiencing as an individual and you as a couple.

Sometimes it takes one person to start doing the changing in the relationship for the dynamic to change. Be the person you want to find. Find compassion and self-awareness so that the love can come back to you.

Next, I suggest is that you get a couples therapist in your area. Since money is tight right now find a sliding scale clinic where they take your financial situation into consideration ($0-$30 a session). Both of you need to have an outlet to express the different stressors you are experiencing and find effective ways of communicating with one another. Right now you are taking the stress out on each other, which is a lose lose situation. You are both acting out with very hurtful behaviors and the water under the bridge is getting deeper and deeper. It needs to stop as soon as possible before the both of you drown.



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