Dear Dr. Love,I’m 47 years old, have been married for 17 years and have a 10 year old child. My wife and I have had marital problems for several years and have been to a multitude of therapists. We finally went to see a priest and he suggested that we separate.Of course she gets to stay in the house and have the child. I am dead set against this idea because I feel like I am being punished. I also worry that not having a good support network I will become depressed more than I am.I don’t believe that she is ready for a divorce, but thinks that I will change my ways if left to sit and think about it long enough. She is going to a counselor by herself now who without meeting me has convinced my wife I’m a verbal abuser.Without going in to fix my relationship, my question is simply this. In your world of knowledge how many couples temporarily separate, find the error in their ways and reconcile. I have never met anyone that has gone down this path.Thanks.
I can see why you’re upset. From where I sit, it seems like you’re getting blamed for all the marital problems. Your wife, her shrink, and the priest have decided that you are the anti-Christ and that you should be exiled from the land.You have admitted to verbally abusing your wife. That’s a big step. The problem here is that your wife seems to need to be totally blameless. She isn’t looking at what she does to infuriate you to the point that you lose your cool.I am not saying that the way you have handled your anger is right, and neither are you, but in order to repair the marriage, she needs to look at her part in causing the discord and take responsibility for what she’s doing to infuriate you.Being thrown out is simply an extension of the same blame game that she’s been playing all along and that you’ve been buying into. You’re a bad boy, so she banishes you from her kingdom. Accepting this sentence is to accept the status quo that has existed in the marriage, which consists of her being right and you’re being wrong. That’s enough to make the most meek person furious. No wonder you’re exploding!If she isn’t willing to take a look at her part, then there is no marriage to speak of. In which case, why separate? Why not divorce outright? Then the courts, not she, can decide who gets to live in the house.It’s time to take charge of your life in an assertive, not aggressive way. You will feel much better and much less out of control. When you feel out of control, you’re more likely to scream and verbally abuse.