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Ask Anne: Relationship AdviceAsk Anne:
Relationship Questions

'Extremely controling' wife and passive husband

Tue, Apr 11th 2006

I have been married for 13 years. My wife is extremely controlling, has a bad temper, and is overly sensitive. I am the exact opposite -- I am laid-back, happy and never get angry. This has made the marriage an unhappy place for me, but I feel that because we have 3 children, I am trapped. It all started back when we were dating. She is 3 years older than me, and so has always been at a different stage of life than I was. So, when she announced it was time for us to get engaged/married, naturally I balked at the idea because I did not expect to get married for another 4-5 years. She begged and cried and I caved in and we got engaged, as I thought this would keep her happy for a while. It didn't. She immediately started planning the wedding for the following year. I expressed my feelings to her about not rushing things, but she ignored me and continued to finalize the plans. I felt I had to go thru with the wedding at that point because it seemed like there was no way out of it, but I fully expected it would only last about a year. However, one year turned into two, and before I knew it, she announced that her biological clock was ticking and that it was time for children. I told her financially we were not yet ready for kids, but again she ignored my feelings and again I gave in to her. However, I did not realize it, but each time she ignored my feelings and each time I gave in, resentment had been building inside me. Finally, after 11 years of putting up with things and letting her get her way because I was the easy-going one in the relationship, I finally felt like I had to do something. So, I actively sought out a high school sweetheart and rekindled the realtionship via the internet. I then paid a visit to this person and began a physical affair. My wife found out about it, and my life has gone from bad to much, much worse. I realize that I should not have gone about things in this way, but I felt that finding someone who actually cared about me and was unselfish was the answer. I justified it by telling myself that what my wife doesn't know won't hurt her. Unfortunately, I underestimated my wife and her abilities, and after some digging, she discovered the affair. I was not sorry about the affair itself, but I was sorry for hurting my wife. We have gone thru counselling and have managed to stay together, but she is even more in control of my every move now because whenever I try to excercise some independence, she brings up my affair and tells me she can't trust me anymore so that's why she has to keep me under her thumb. The irony is, she has always had me under her thumb. She also repeatedly comments that there are men out there who would be thrilled to have a "wonderful, attractive woman like her for a spouse", but I believe that the true reason she wants the marriage to work now, is so that she does not have to re-enter the dating scene and/or face life as a single mom. My dilemma at this point is: do I stay for the sake of my young children, or do I go to ensure my life is happy from here on out? My wife is not the sort of ex who would remain friends after the break-up -- she has stated on many occasions that if we ever broke up, she would move away so that I would not be able to see my children again. This comment always weighs heavily on my mind whenever I think about leaving. (Financially, it is also impossible for me to leave right now, as I would have no way to rent an apartment) While we are together I try hard to maintain a positive relationship with her for the benefit of the kids, but this too is hard as she is not an easy person to get along with. Any advice or guidance you can give would be greatly appeciated.

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