-- Question for John --
I was married at 19. I am now 28 been married 9 years, although lately decided I didn’t want to feel like a doormat no longer so changed myself into a person I love. My problem is my husband. We never have been able to communicate and I love to talk. He walks away when I try to tell him how I’m feeling. He does not like doing anything, such as walks or family functions.
In fact we have never been to a show. Well I recently asked him to see a counselor with me. He downright refused. I asked if he will start doing these things I want us to do together. He said no. He told me the only way it will work is if I change back. I hated her. Is that fair for him to ask me to change and him not to even try. I think I know that answer. Well this last year I had a cancer scare and went through everything alone… like he didn’t care. I am fine but opened my eyes up to life is too short.
I feel I long for affection, caring, trust, just being with someone that loves to be with me. I recently told him I was getting a job. He refuses his wife to have one. I feel trapped. I am considering asking for a divorce. If he would try it would be different. Am I wrong for these thoughts I am going through…. or should I bite my tongue and change back. I’m confused.
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-- Answer from John --
You are finally growing up and becoming a mature woman who is discovering her own power and claiming her own life. Congratulations. You are unhitching yourself from what has been an unconsciously, emotionally codependent relationship. When one partner in a relationship does grow and begin to claim their power as an individual, but the other does not, here is what generally happens…. The one who does not grow is very threatened and wants to prevent the one who grows from growing. The one who grows gets confused for awhile, because of the previously longstanding unconscious and codependent emotional bond. But, in general, the one who grows finds that she (or he) cannot regress back to that more unconscious and codependent place. It’s like an old set of clothing that actually no longer fits, never mind it being completely dated and out of style.
So, despite your confusion, it is very unlikely that you can change back. Not that I can see any reason you would want to. You do not describe a single redeeming quality in the relationship above that would make it even appeal to someone in their right mind.
Try this visualization experiment…. just for the next minute, just pretend the following is true…. just to get a feel for it….
As you read this now, visualize yourself taking some deep full breaths and feeling 100% okay and good within yourself, whole and complete. Let’s say that you happen to be a single woman in this one minute visualization, by the way. Keep breathing and enjoying each breath. You breathe in the enjoyment of knowing that you are growing and becoming a total person. Now imagine that you fully love yourself and you love your life. You have a support system of friends and relatives who love you and reinforce your good feelings of self-respect and self-love. You have a sense of well-being that is mature and powerful. And you thoroughly enjoy your freedom to grow and discover more and more things about yourself that you truly like. You love your life.
You are on a walk with a woman friend in nature somewhere, feeling absolutely at peace. You are enjoying the camaraderie and being out in the fresh air. The two of you sit down for a brief rest at some point, in a delightful spot. She has had a problem with her husband of many years. She describes to you a man like the one in the email above. She has began to grow, getting a better feeling about her life, but he is trying to hold her back.
She has seen how happy you are in your life, and has come to trust your advice. She asks you what you would do if you were in her situation…. What would you advise her to do?