My wife threat­ened sui­cide if I leave her

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - EL­LIE Ad­vice Colum­nist Email el­[email protected]­tar.ca or visit her web­site, el­liead­vice.com. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q: My wife of five years and I (to­gether for 10) have been hav­ing prob­lems, which started with an event out of our con­trol, two years ago.

I be­lieve it be­gan with my wife’s slide into de­pres­sion (it hap­pened once be­fore, a cou­ple of years into our re­la­tion­ship).

I know that I’m overly crit­i­cal some­times, that I work too much and that I’m not as ro­man­tic as I could be. I’ve tried to im­prove in all those ar­eas.

Lately, I’m hav­ing trou­ble car­ing and try­ing any­more, which isn’t help­ing. Sev­eral times, one of us has said that we don’t want to be in the re­la­tion­ship any­more.

We’ve agreed to have mar­riage coun­selling be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion like that, although get­ting my wife to that agree­ment was a strug­gle.

A few re­ally big is­sues are caus­ing us prob­lems. I’d like to find a cheaper apart­ment and sell our ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle so that we can af­ford to do more trav­el­ling (some­thing we both re­ally en­joy) and be less con­cerned about money in gen­eral.

But my wife doesn’t want to let go of these things. I think it’s be­cause she feels her self-im­age is tied to hav­ing them. She pres­sured me into get­ting them in the first place, along with a dog I don’t want but end up tak­ing care of the most.

How­ever, my wife has told me that she’d con­sider sui­cide if I left. She also says re­ally mean things like, “You’re a lit­tle b***h,” just be­cause I’m try­ing to share my feel­ings with her in a way that isn’t anger.

I’m self-con­fi­dent enough to brush that off a few times, but it’s not easy to hold back from say­ing mean things back or get­ting re­ally an­gry — I ad­mit that I have a tem­per that I keep on a very tight

leash.

I’ve also said things in anger, too — but I try to limit it. I’m al­ways the one to apol­o­gize and try to make up af­ter a fight (and al­ways have been).

But she acts like it’s all my fault and that she de­serves the apol­ogy.

I’ve sug­gested that some in­di­vid­ual coun­selling might be a good idea, but she doesn’t want that and has been tak­ing anti-de­pres­sion med­i­ca­tion for a cou­ple of months.

I don’t know how much longer I can be in this re­la­tion­ship, but I don’t know if I can end it ei­ther. I’d be ut­terly crushed if she did any­thing to her­self be­cause I left.

I do still gen­uinely love her de­spite ev­ery­thing, although I’m see­ing less of a fu­ture to­gether ev­ery time some­thing hap­pens. Look­ing for Op­tions

A: The most im­por­tant op­tion is for you two to get out of your si­los of neg­a­tiv­ity and blam­ing and get to the mar­riage coun­selling that’s cru­cially needed.

Book an ap­point­ment NOW, as there’s way too much time-wast­ing go­ing on with de­cid­ing who has the worst per­son­al­ity as­pects and which prob­lem is the most se­ri­ous — sell the car, move and/or give up the dog.

When a part­ner threat­ens sui­cide, trav­el­ling to­gether isn’t a long-term so­lu­tion.

Al­most all cou­ples say things in anger or des­per­a­tion when their re­la­tion­ship is frag­ile. But sui­cide talk is an alarm and you need pro­fes­sional help im­me­di­ately.

Once you’re in an on­go­ing process of cou­ples’ coun­selling, you can raise again, in the ses­sion, whether your wife, or both of you, need in­di­vid­ual ther­apy. With this sec­ond de­pres­sion, it would seem wise for at least her to un­dergo in­di­vid­ual ther­apy.

Im­por­tant: Alert her an­tide­pres­sant pre­scrib­ing doc­tor that she’s threat­ened sui­cide.

El­lie’s tip of the day

When mar­i­tal fights in­clude de­pres­sion/ sui­ci­dal threats, get ther­apy fast and alert the per­son’s doc­tor.

Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day.

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