Wife feels alone in her mar­riage

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

After more than 25 years of mar­riage, I still feel more alone be­ing mar­ried to my hus­band than I would if I were ac­tu­ally alone.

He has main­tained the same life­style he had be­fore we got mar­ried. He of­ten takes week­end out­ings and even va­ca­tions with his friends. He tells peo­ple that he does not en­joy do­ing any­thing with me, his wife.

There is noth­ing that is joint in this re­la­tion­ship: He refers to many pos­ses­sions as his and refers to our friends by say­ing, “My friends.” He will de­cline or ac­cept so­cial in­vi­ta­tions with­out even telling me about them. If he ac­cepts an in­vi­ta­tion, he tells me that he was in­vited and will go to the func­tion ex­clud­ing me. He turns his back to me to block me out of table con­ver­sa­tions when we’re out to din­ner with a group. He’s ar­gu­men­ta­tive with other peo­ple, too. His motto is, “I’m right; you’re wrong.”

This is not at all what I ex­pected out of a life to­gether. The lone­li­ness and pain never leave. I just try to en­dure each day of the same thing over and over.

Give him some of his own medicine and you might end up heal­ing your­self in the process. What I mean is to fo­cus on you. Make new friends or strengthen your ex­ist­ing friend­ships. Go out for girls’ nights; maybe even plan a week­end away with them. Stop fo­cus­ing on the things he’s not giv­ing you, and start giv­ing them to your­self. Once you’ve built up a healthy sense of self-es­teem and per­sonal iden­tity, it will be eas­ier for you to talk to your hus­band about is­sues in your mar­riage.

I am a school psy­chol­o­gist with many years of ex­pe­ri­ence and I read the let­ter from “Torn in Wis­con­sin” about her ADHD daugh­ter and the prob­lems she an­tic­i­pated with an up­com­ing fam­ily re­union. While I would never as­sert that I can dis­cern all the de­tails of a sit­u­a­tion and di­ag­nose some­one from a short let­ter, there were some as­pects of the prob­lem that sug­gested that this child could be on the autism spec­trum. Say­ing that she doesn’t have the so­cial skills for a re­union is prac­ti­cally a flash­ing light to have her child as­sessed for ASD.

Un­der the In­di­vid­u­als with Dis­abil­i­ties Ed­u­ca­tion Act, she would have a cat­e­gory of el­i­gi­bil­ity, prob­a­bly flow­ing from a doc­tor’s di­ag­no­sis of ADHD right now. But IDEA also al­lows for on­go­ing assess­ment and ad­just­ment of ser­vices.

“Torn” should con­tact the school staff and ask for a meet­ing to dis­cuss her daugh­ter’s anx­i­ety and so­cial skill deficits. A school psy­chol­o­gist should be in­vited to the meet­ing to an­swer ques­tions about whether there should be fur­ther assess­ment of her daugh­ter.

The field of autism is mov­ing fast and not ev­ery­one out there is able to dis­cern these dis­tinc­tions. It is im­por­tant though, and I hope we are get­ting bet­ter all the time. Your col­umn could help here.

Thank you for shar­ing your wealth of knowl­edge on this im­por­tant sub­ject. I’ve passed your mes­sage on to “Torn in Wis­con­sin,” and I’m print­ing it so it might help other fam­i­lies. To learn more about autism spec­trum dis­or­der, visit the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Men­tal Health web­site (https://www.nimh.nih.gov).

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