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Falsely Accused by Your Spouse?

I learned this from a colleague long ago. It works remarkably well with clients, friends, and spouses.

Instead of arguing when you are falsely accused or when someone important to you is making a mountain out of a molehill, try saying something like this:

"I really value our relationship. What could I do that would make it right again?"

If you get stonewalled ("I can't imagine anything making things right again!"), ask what would make it a little better right now. Then ask again in a few hours or days, after you do what's asked of you.

You may be as surprised as I have been. The same imagination that blew an incident out of proportion or turned an innocent action into a suspect one can imagine the relationship being fine again with very little from you.

Comments

What a great way to turn the tables on an everyday 'one up game'. It's takes humility, but if offered in sincerity, changes the immediate mood. When I've been able to do this, it's like unloading our guns or something. Really cool.
Thanks Patty, great coaching to all of us out here wanting to recognise the love we now have daily, and live in blindly without cherishing.
Carpe Diem
Jon Eric

Thanks, Jon Eric!

I suppose it depends on why you are being falsely accused.

I experienced this sort of thing with my ex-wife. Falsely accused of being controlling, to throw me off the track of her affair.

Well, unless it's controlling to expect that your wife live up to her vows and promises, the charge of being controlling really didn't stand up.

But I bought it at first. But when I didn't see any improvement in the relationship after going over my behavior, asking the sorts of questions you mention, I began to suspect something wasn't right.

I asked her what was her vision of an ideal marriage, and scaled it down to what would make things better right now.

All the time there was no answer. She just couldn't see it. It was because she was likely blinded by the affair.

So false accusations CAN (not saying they always are) the tool of those who want to manipulate or obfuscate.

Very true, Tony. False accusations can be used to manipulate you or hide some wrongdoing.

If you invite your spouse to tell you what would make the relationship close again and he or she asks too much or won't say, it may be time for some professional help.

my wife and i got married one month later shes talking to another guy i got mad and told her to leave she went to this other guy in kentucky and sent me a protctive order she lied and said i was abusive and i raped her non of it was true i was hurt and really depressed 4 months went by and we talked for like two days and then she went all phsyco on me again and said she reported me for violating the order and said i had a warrant out for my arrest what can i do can i take her to court and sue

Mike, this is a question for a lawyer.

My husband of 32 years left me a few months ago. I believe he is w another woman. The other day we spoke by phone + he said he called me + a man picked up. I told him it was impossible cause I just got out of subway where you cannot get a signal to use cell phone plus I am a born again Christian + would never do that. I don't know where this man was coming from. Any ideas.

It gets very old when you are constantly falsely accused I don't know what to do anymore at 1st I wanted to make him see how wrong he was but after it happening over and over again I am starting to not want to go over it again anymore. I don't know why he is so jealous and insecure, I love this man like I have never loved another. I am just starting to wonder if things will ever be right again. I have never cheated in him, and I never would, but now I am thinking that maybe not even counseling would help. I feel hopeless and lonely without my best friend to confide in. He was all I have ever had and now he feels so far away. It makes me so sad and depressed.

An, I am so sorry to hear about all this jealousy and insecurity. Sounds like you two are caught in a loop, one in which your responses trigger more anxiety for him and thereby more accusations for you to deal with.

Try responding differently. Expect the first time you will get some automatic pushback. Repeat the new response a second or third time, until it becomes the expected one. The response in this post is just one option to try.

I have been with my husband for almost 9 years. We've been married for 3 of those years. Not 6 months after our marriage he started accusing me of cheating on him with myself! I have been over heals with this man ever since he first spoke to me. I only have eyes for him. Years before we meet he was married and had an addiction to pornography & masturbation. He's since recovered from his addiction & his last wife died so that was not the reason they are not married any more. But even though he showed interest in me first, I have been starved for love & affection from him. It's been the source of tension in our relationship. He's always said he lives me, but has a very hard time showing it. I know he is guarded because of how things were with his first wife but my patience has been worn thin. So 6 months after our marriage one night I was ripped from my slumber by him tearing the covers off of me & accusing me that I was playing with myself. He knows cause he heard me moaning & moving around. I couldn't believe what he was saying! I got mad & defensive & said oh yeah people don't moan in their sleep nor do they move around!? Well I went back to sleep very upset & was still upset in the morning. He eventually apologized begrudgingly. But then it began to become a regular habit. We'd spend entire nights fighting about what he saw or what he smelled. He'd say I stank & that's how he knew I was doing things to myself. He put a camera in our room to record me at night. Then he would scrutinize every move I made while I slept. If my arms were under the covers then it would fuel his suspicion. So I resorted to sleeping without the covers on, but then he'd say I was sneaking my hands under the side of my body & slipping them into my pants. So I slept in zip up footy p.j.'s

Misty, this sounds like a situation that could create a lot of tension. Did you try something like this: "I really value our relationship, and I miss feeling you beside me in bed. What could I do that I haven't tried yet to make things right again?"

Anyone who has kicked an addiction can be highly sensitive to the addictive behavior. He may not be accusing you so much as protecting you. You can thank him for caring about this, and assure him you don't want to go down that path.

But do let him know he must remove the camera or check in with a therapist to evaluate whether this is a reasonable concern or paranoia, because all concerns look reasonable to someone suffering from paranoia, and you want to catch whatever is causing it as soon as possible.

Hi, I just recently accused my girlfriend of cheating on me with her female friend.. This is a long one, well... For the past few months I've felt very disconnected from her a lot of factors I feel went into this I work nights at my job and am only home 2 nights a week and sleep a lot buring the day. She's still finishin her last year in school works days and helps me take care of our 2 year old she's an amazing mother. She's never really been very sexual or made a lot of physical gestures of love to me but over the past few months she's barely noticing I'm here she skipps out on our family day, one of my only days off. Sex has come to a halt at first it was no vaginal then no oral now its compleatly stopped. She's getting more seceretive about her behavior with her friend, and stopped texting and calling me when she was gone. And when she is around 8 out of 10 she's sitting away from me, or on he phone or talking to someone else. She almost never sitting with me or talking to me.. I feel so alone.. So I confronted her last night on our family night she all of a sudden had to go spend the night at her girlfriends after I got off work in the morning. I was hurt this is a 3rd time this month she's done somthing similar. At first I was silent hugger and and told her I loved her and told her to have a good time, later that night I put our daughter to bed and started cleaning the house. I was in our room when I noticed her toys were gone, they wernt in the room or in the house and my mind flooded with horrible things.. I asked a close friend what todo and the dummie went and told her I was upset and concerned. The crap hit the fan the, she blew up my phone saying she wouldn't do that ever and what would it matter if they were gone it wasn't like she used them, and that I must constantly check to see if they're there.. I still don't know what to make of it all. She said she needs time ill give it but what should I do what do you think, I'm lost and scared..

I think I may be a bit late with this for you, Josh, but I have to say it. When faced with declining interest in sex, cuddling, and time together, accusations and searching for signs of an affair are two of the worst ways to remedy the problem -- even if there's an affair going on.

Working days, going to school, and living with a 2 year old are pretty exhausting. Sex often suffers.

If your wife recently stopped breastfeeding your child, hormonal problems may affect her libido.

Fear of another pregnancy can hurt libido, too.

Not getting enough of whatever makes her feel loved (your time, acts of service, gifts, affirmations) may lead to resisting what makes you feel loved -- and to falling for any offers of what she's looking for from her female friend, from a male friend of her female friend, or from a male friend at work or school. With or without a sexual relationship.

Not realizing that sex and cuddling mean more to you than to her may lead her to turn you down for it the same way she might turn down an invitation to see a movie or go for a walk when she's not in the mood. If you withdraw from her in others ways, she may not see the connection and may feel hurt, too.

The way back is to lean in, to ask how she's doing with the stress, how she's feeling, what she would like to do together, if she's having second thoughts about keeping different shifts, to inquire whether she wants more of those other love languages or better yet to experiment with offering them.

And now, having accused her of something she denies (truthfully or not), you must seek her forgiveness before you can lean in. I am sorry for your predicament and truly hope she's not thinking of leaving you, just going through a rough time.


Its me again thank you for the advice I thought ide like to update the situation. Well she was honest and I was dumb and I found those god aweful things I thought were gone. She didn't come home forawhile an dwhen she did she told me shed like to talk she wasn't angry well she was but not like fighting angry anyway. We sat down and she told me to tell her all that was bothering me and then she would talk so I did I told her things I have said here and my doubt and how I felt alone. And how much I do love her and I was sorry for ever thinking those horrible things and I am sorry.. Well then she told me things things I hadn't seen things I wish I had things I wish shed spoken up about. She said that I've been getting very controlling and jelous I was pushing everyone else her friends and family away and that hurt her. She feels like she's being smothered and she's doing all of this alone that she understands I have to work to support us but me being gone then sleeping once she's home she feels like she's doing everything alone. And she's just so stressed and tired and discouraged with school our daughter and how I've been with my actions and our work. That she doesn't feel like herself anymore that she's dying inside.. I've never seen her cry so hard.. I'm supposed to be the one who protects her not brings her that harm it killed me.. This all led her to saying that she thought it best if she moved back with her mother for awhile and try to find herself again and let me work on some of my problems as well. I didn't want her to go but I trieed my best to understand and respect her choice. I told her I would seek some therapy to help with my issues I feel like that's a good step for me to take I want to be a good man to her and a better father I love my family and I don't want us to fall apart. What is your take on this is there anything else you think I should do or she could do.. Thank you

I like that she came home and wanted to talk, not fight. I like that you were willing to listen and were able to feel her pain. I like that you recognized you had jumped to a conclusion based on some flimsy evidence and overlooked toys and that you apologized. I like that you are reaching out for help with the stress you two are dealing with and how it leads you to add to her stress and her to add to yours. I like that it sounds like she'll have some help with everything at her mother's so she can reduce her stress. You're both approaching the problem with good sense and with kindness for each other.

With a few new skills to handle future issues less painfully, you two should have a great future together. Are there any marriage education classes in your area? One place to check is the program directory at http://smartmarriages.com. Look for "Find a Marriage Class" in the menu bar. I realize you two have very little spare time, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I'll say this for the benefit of others reading your story, just in case they miss the moral of your learning the hard way. You cannot hold onto a loved one by being controlling or jealous. The only way to do it is by being loving and respectful and encouraging.

Thank you very much and if its ok ide like to continue to write her so people can learn from me while I'm learning.everyone needs help somtimes I feel like that would be a good thing to do thanks.

I would like that, Josh. Thank you.

Well its been a little over a week and I've seen her once our daughter not at all let me clarify she is her step mother and has been there really since day one.. I've tried to keep us seperate for some different reasons 1 to make things easier on ember mostly but also all of us I know we all feel hurt emotions. And 2. Time to heal from this seperation.. I've seen her once since she decided to move out and it hurt a lot I tried not to let it show but ik she could feel it. I told her that maybe this seperation was for the best anedwe both needed this time. I realised I needeed time to find me again really find myself.. But its been a struggle not talking to her but ik I have to. I told her also the day I saw her when she asked to see my daughter and I no.. It was too hard she couldn't be there one day and not the next there's no inbetween anymore your here for us or your gone for good.. I doubt what I said somtimes but I'm trying to be strong.. We miss her so much whenever my daughter does somthing or sees somthing that reminds her of her mom she gets very unruly and upset. I try tro hold my own emotions for when she's not around me.. We were at the park today so she could play.. I saw a bunch of parents made me feel horrible made me miss her made me think how can this be happening how could she do this.. This is by far the hardest thing in my life I've gone threw thus far.. Josh

Hi all. Please please give opinions, I'm getting desperate as to what to do. I have been reading all your experiences. I really really need advice. It is all partly my own doing. I acted stupidly.

I started seeing a married man, 4 weeks in he left his wife and moved in with me. We have now been together for approx 4 months and his behavior over the last two weeks have changed dramatically.

He says it's down to stress and protecting me from the stress. He no longer says he loves me, kisses me and is reluctant to sleep together amongst other things. Feel like he has been pulling away for the last two weeks. Worries he is only staying cause he has nowhere else to go.

Stress levels have been very high to do with divorce and custody. His job is also on the line and he is on gardening leave at the moment. Abusive phone calls and texts and damage to property and with holding access to his young child. Police have been involved cause of threats and actions by his wife.

His phone now goes everywhere with him and is now password protected. I am ashamed to say I checked.

I am devasted by all of this. I really fell for him and then his child very hard and deeply.

Is this just his way of dealing with the stress like he says? Am I being paranoid? Don't want to ruin it if it is just stress as I think we could have a very happy life together.

My pervious relationship lasted 16years but was to an alcoholic is this playing a part in everything.

I am so sorry for your pain, Josh. I do hope the two of you find your way through this.

Ln, here's my take on your situation. After you have promised someone you will love them through better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and received the same promises in exchange, it's very good thing to look for the best possible explanation of unpleasant behavior.

But before? While you're providing a home to someone who was unfaithful to his wife and unwilling to keep his promises to her, you should be extremely skeptical of ALL behavior that makes you uncomfortable. The percentage of married men who remain with the woman they left their wife for is miniscule. Do not settle for anything short of his best effort at this point in your relationship. There are much better men out there than this.

I HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 24 YRS AND MAYBE ONCE OR TWICE MY WIFE HAS CAUGHT ME EITHER SAYING SOMETHING FLIRTATIUS OR LOOKING AT HER SISTER IN THAT WAY ( WITH LUST ) FOR THESE 23 YRS IT'S ALWAYS BEEN JUST THE THREE OF US HANGING OUT ....... CONCERTS, BEACH , SHOPPING , DRINKING ECT.... NOT ONCE HAVE I TOUCHED HER SISTER , YET I AM CONSTANTLY ACCUSED OF WANTING TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HER. I AM A MAN , AM I NOT TO OCCASIONALY LUST ? YES I DO TREAT MY WIFE LIKE A WIFE AND PARTNER.

Try Assuming Love, Knowie. If your wife loves you completely, what would make her say these things? It's easy to see them as lacking respect for the man you are. And it hurts, doesn't it?

It's a bit harder to look beyond the first explanation, the one that comes to mind first because a human mind is constantly on alert for threats. This is why I suggest we Assume Love. Not pretend it, because we cannot fool ourselves. Instead, voluntarily set aside all the negative possibilities. Instead, assume you know for certain she loves and respects you and ask what might make her say these things if that were true.

Sometimes, we cannot set aside our fears about our relationship. In this case, it may be easier to imagine a movie, one in which a woman who really loves and respects her husband (which you know from getting to watch her when he is and isn't around) keeps saying this sort of thing. Watching the movie, you keep trying to figure out why.

Did someone hurt her in childhood by leaving a wife for her sister or a husband for his brother? Or is she desperately trying to find out if her husband stills loves her, because she's not feeling it? Or is she torn between her love for her sister and her husband, knowing her sister is growing uncomfortable with her man? Or has she observed signs that her beloved sister might violate her trust and make a move on her man, leaving her feeling very alone? You may be able to add other plot lines to this story.

As you consider each one, you may notice one resonating, releasing thoughts or memories that confirm it might be true. And once you have this other explanation, you will know what you can do to help her become more trusting.

The other strategy, taking a poll to see how many other people agree with you it's normal to lust after her sister, only puts a wedge between the two of you and keeps you from figuring out how to have a happier marriage. It is never possible to debate your way to love, trust, or respect. The best it can get you is silence, and that's a rotten substitute for a great marriage.

Patty,

I have read many of the situations and they almost all have similarities to my own. I met an fell in love with my soul mate about 9 months ago. We both took a leap of faith and she moved in 2 weeks after we met. I knew in my heart without a doubt that I would marry this woman. I have never been at such a place of peace and love every before in my life. I was content, happy and confident. I truly believe she felt the same way. I knew she had a very troubled past and that we would have challenges, but I also knew that our love and our connection was so powerful that it would overcome.

After about a month of living together she accused me of having sexual thoughts towards her daughter who was 19. I tried to assure her that I only had pure intentions towards her daughter and that I only looked at her like she was my own child. This seemed to work for a while and but repeatedly came up unexpectedly over and over again. At times I became very angry, the way she accused me was so horrible and too much for me to bear.

I opened my heart and my soul to this woman, I shared everything I had with her and expected nothing in return. It absolutely crushed me when she began to accuse me. I began to slowly see the bigger picture of trust and how past experiences and fears have influenced her behavior. I have tried to get her to see that things are not the way she perceives them to be.

Over the months the accusations have gotten way out of control and become more and more frequent and outlandish.

The accusations have become so powerful that they have infested everything. I have come to understand that the accusations are just a distraction from the real issues. We have literally been fighting over nothing for 9 months....everything has been a complete fabrication. It just seems lately that everything is my fault and she's using as a way to keep our love hostage .

I know that facing the reality of her past traumatic experiences and understanding that her current behavior has caused her trouble it the key to unlocking her pain.

I know she is hurting so much inside and I know I am supposed to help her and protect her but I cannot figure out what I should be doing at this point. It breaks my heart and crushes my soul to see her like this.

I know I have made many mistakes and said the wrong things at the wrong times, but I also know that we are meant to be together in love.

This situation seems like the most impossible puzzle to figure out yet I know in my heart without a doubt that love will overcome.

I would like to get some insights and advice. As I mentioned, many of the accusations here are the same things I have experienced as well. If need be I can elaborate on those.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and objective perspective.

LL

LL, I understand about falling head over heels in love with someone. I've done it twice myself. But it is time to go back to that leap in faith after knowing her for only two weeks.

I'll list some of the things that go wrong when people do this. You will need to decide if any of them apply to the two of you.

(1) It turns out one or both of you was in love with your picture of the other person and became upset when reality, as it unfolded over time, did not match that picture. It's disappointing, and it leads to resentment or criticism, both of which corrode love and its power. And it's especially disappointing when it was the picture not just of someone you could love, but of a true soul mate.

The result? The one who feels let down says some hurtful things or tests the strength of the relationship with misbehavior. The other feels betrayed, and the relationship spirals down from there, unless of you can overlook the testing and criticism until you fall in love with the real person and out of love with the imaginary one.

(2) It turns out one of you was taking a leap of faith and the other a leap of doubt -- doubt that she could continue to afford to live on her own (or with parents or someone no longer loved) or doubt the relationship would continue without agreeing to move in together.

The result? The doubter is on 24-7 high alert for signs of danger, which gets pretty darn obnoxious over time. Or the doubter is stuck on a fence, still wanting to avoid whatever led to saying yes to you but no longer wanting the relationship, so sometimes trying hard to force you to end it and sometimes play-acting love to hang onto it.

(3) It turns out love cannot overcome all (it can't), and you have taken a leap of faith with someone incapable of providing what you had faith would follow, thanks to a mental illness or a past trauma that keeps getting re-triggered through no fault of yours and nothing you can control.

The result? An unequal partnership from the start, with no shared history to dampen the pain. It's like a marriage where the vow is "for bad or for worse."

(4) You two are just fine, but a child who feels blindsided by such a fast-moving relationship works hard to break up or slow down the relationship.

The result? A partner who must choose between her maternal instincts and you. This leaves you only two choices: separate and demonstrate your good intentions and reliability over time to mother and child, or drive a wedge between a mother and her child (which you will regret more times than you can count).

(5) You two are just fine, but the mother is not secure enough to accept her grown child's greater sex appeal and lives in constant fear of losing her daughter, her man, or both.

The result? Fear: debilitating, libido crushing, love-killing fear that cannot be dealt with using just words.

(6) You two are fine, but the daughter (assuming she also lives with you at least part-time) is in mortal fear of sexual abuse (for no fault of yours) and her mother picks up on the fear.

The result? It's not possible to share a home with the daughter for now, and not at all advisable to force her mother to choose between you and the daughter.

I hope you find one of these fits, LL. If you know you are meant to be together, take the patient, long-term view of this problem. And consider finding a relationship therapist to help you. There is no quick fix to a trust issue.

Patty,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply back with some thoughtful advice and insights. I'm not sure I provided enough details that might have given you a clear understanding of our situation but you did outline some key points that are very helpful. Overall I think it's been a combination of things that you mention and not one specific paragraph. The last comments you mention are reaffirming an idea I had as I wrote you yesterday, I will seek the guidance of a therapist and I will also take the patient long term approach.

Our situation is very, very unique and we have a special connection that goes way beyond comprehension at times. As difficult as things have been I truly know that we are meant to be and that things had to happen this way. There have been so many signs from the universe that reaffirm our relationship and our direction that it's really unbelievable at times. We both truly need to remember to stay quiet and grounded in order or find our path.

Thank you so much for taking the time to offer your guidance and direction. I will follow up to let you know how it goes.

LL,

I wish you the best of luck with this, LL, and I look forward to hearing a followup from you.

OK.....so the first year and a half of my relationship with my wife to be , I was still running around and acting like I was single, I never physical cheated , but I was sending pics of my cock to other women and flirting heavily.......now it is going on 2 yes and we are expecting a child ..... I am not doing the things I was then but I am getting accused or it ....... I am happy with her and don't want to be with anyone else , but she is severally hurt and I don't know if she can get passed it ! Please wtf should I do ?

Hi,

I am writing because I don't know what to do at this point.

I meet my wife and I feel in love with her; we married after 3 months because in my heart I knew this was the woman for me, and if it does not work out with her I don't want anyone else but things have went pearshaped.

She started making all these false accusations and that I am cheating on her, that I feed her sleeping pills so I can go and 'have my fun''.
Now I have gotten a new job and she said that I had known I was going to get this job in advance and somebody set this job up for me so that I would be able to meet this so called woman. I have gotten this job the honest way; I applied for it, had an interview and was selected the right way but she does not believe it.

Now she has put all this stuff online on her website as well as on a social site; I think she just picked a random woman from my facebook an old co-worker from my old place whom I have not seen for more than a year and is saying that I am having an affair with her which is not true.

I am not saying I am perfect, once I got so angry and fed up with her that I pushed her and she feel on rocks and hurt her hips, something which I deeply regret to this day.

I know I did a really bad thing and I regret doing it I apologised for that but it is the things which I have not done that I cannot handle. This was a year ago and she had forgiven me for it; now recently she feel on her own down the stairs and hurt her hip again and now she is blaming me again for it even though this time it was not my fault.

She kicked me out of our own house and is taking legal action against me and this woman whom I supposedly cheated with.

Now her son who is 16 years old spoke to her via email of his own accord and told her that he does not want to speak to her anymore because what she did to me is not right and apprently she has done it before to some one else.
I never told him to do anything of the sort because she is his mother I don't think its fair.
Then she accused me that I was the one who sent that email inpersonating her son.

I don't know what to do anymore I guess its just time to let go. To be honest I am not really asking for advice, I am writing here because I need someone to talk to and I don't have any friends I can talk with, yes they have all stopped talking to me one by one since my wife has been in the picture.

Thank you everyone.

Kevin, you are dealing with a woman dealing with both the hormonal upheaval of pregnancy and 18 months of feeling "not good enough." She's really hurt. Your hurtful behavior is less than six months in the past. And she's about to become somebody's mother, somebody who will always have you as his or her father.

I think you may need to take some drastic action to help her get beyond this hurt and beyond any fear she might have of being ashamed of the father she chose for this child or being abandoned with a child she would have a hard time supporting alone.

In your shoes, I would ask the question I've learned to ask when I hurt someone: "Our relationship matters a lot to me; what can I do that will restore it?" Then listen to what's in her heart without defending yourself, and agree to what she asks if you can.

I might also buy a cell phone that does not take pictures or cancel the data plan on one that does, and put my computer in a place where she can see at any time what I am using it for. And then I would come up with activities we both enjoy that can be done together instead of going out alone in the evenings or drinking while she cannot.

Then I would check online for marriage education classes in your area (smartmarriages.com or Google marriage class nearbytownname) or through any church, synagogue, mosque, or temple that comes close to your religious beliefs. And I would go, even if she opts out. What you learn will benefit your child even if you two never marry.

Personally, I think you might as well commit to marrying this woman, loving, respecting, and caring for her for the rest of your life, starting today, because your child will join the two of you in a relationship that will affect your child fiercely and anyone else you might marry almost as much. Just don't ask her to marry you after her waters have broken, as one young man did as I was driving his girlfriend to the hospital.

In fact, I just read research that says you have three years to marry after the birth of a child before the much worse odds of having unmarried parents kick in for your son or daughter.

Six months is not really long enough to completely restore a spouse's trust after showing such disrespect for so long and, in effect, threatening abandonment. It is definitely not enough when you have never vowed to be there through thick and thin and she's preparing herself to become a mother.

So respect yourself for being more caring of her feelings and for being patient with her healing. You might even keep a journal of how you handled the more stressful days and what new ways you came up with to restore her trust in you as both her lover and a child's father. Dedicate the journal to your future son or daughter. And remember that shaming your wife for still feeling uncertain she can trust you will only set back the time frame for healing.

Brown, if you have decided to go, you should go. But if you are still wondering about what to do and still love her or her son, I would urge you to request marriage counseling with a psychologist who also does other types of counseling, just to get her in front of someone who might be able to tell if this is paranoia making a sudden appearance or reappearance (as a result of something possibly treatable) or if it really is about her relationship with you. Tell her you want help understanding how it all came apart, rather than that you want this to get back together again (which she appears not to want), and you want the therapist to hear her side of the story. Then see or write to the therapist in advance of your first session to suggest you are worried about the cause of this sudden change in her.

Thank you, Patty for your response, I think it might be to late at this point. She has defamed me and is trying to lose me my new job complaining saying that I got it throug corruption and supposdely this woman is waiting for me at the new job and so many other lies.

I do love her but I guess sometimes love is not enough...

Thanks for everything.

I am so sorry, Brown.

Hi; My husband of 35 years started an affair with a crystal meth dealer in February and I found out abouy it a week after it started. He told the gal he wanted to work it out with his wife and to not call him abd she told him, if it didn't work out she would be there. 5 weeks later after 5 weeks of a great sex life and reconnecting emitionally he decided I had mistreated him too bad before and he moved in with the meth dealer. He thought I deliberately for the previous couple of years had quit wanting to be with him sexually and finally came to believe that I no longer loved him any more. But in reality, in '07 I was diagnosed being Bipolar and 2 of the medicines I have to take really lower your libido! My husband maybe once a year would tell me we really needed to do something about our sex life and I woukd tell him that I wasn't happy with how things were eithrer; I even had my Dr. put me on 3 dufferent meds that were supposed to help your libido, had my hormones checked etc...so he's been living with this woman on tthe weekends (he's a trucjk driver)

Sorry, I had to continue my post separate from the first part. Anyway, He left me with no money, I had no job and was going to school, so I started selling things to get by until I got a job, I had to put everything in storage and move out of my home. He said he was filing for divorce but still has not. He would not talk on the phone for 2 1/2 months, would occassionally text me, if I called him he would not take my calls. He finally the end of May sent me a text telling me he was going to have to have surgery for a double inquinal hernia, so I went into worry mode and called him and about fell over when he tooj my call and let me know. about his surgery. Less than a week later I met him in AR had a really good visit and spent the night with him. Over the course of June I did this with him and yes we were intimate. After his surgery 6/23 he didn't work for a month and his pickup was broke down so he was stuck at the meth dealers house and ciuldn't get in touch eith me. I got upset and sent the gal an emaik and tikd her that ny husband anf I had been seeing each other, for how long where and yes I told her we had been intimate. He manages to talk his way out if all of that with her. He went back to work 6/21 and he had me meet him just outside of town at a truck stop for supper and ever since ince ir twice a week I meet him in AR spend the night abd cine hine the next day or I go to Tulsa and back ti Sprungfield with him. Not quite 2 weeks ago he sent me a text telling me he had a lit of fun and that he here recentky had finally begun to heal from the hurt I caused him and said if I continue to listen we stokd a chance and he hoped the patchibg continued. I was thrilled! Then 3 days ago he sent me a text that said that Ii just couldn't keep from spreading things with my mouth, that he was glad to hear I had told someone that he and I had split because he was impotent! So now he's telling me he's going to file for divorce again. I told him I had never said that to anyone, that I was the only one that had problems and he doesn't believe me. He seny me a text tellibg me I had this long list of peiple that I had hurt with my mouth which is not true. So I've sent him all kinds of text because I was hurt and angry ending up calling him horrible names, telling him he was a worthless sob etc... all of which I appologized for after I calmed down. I wish I would have just left it at telling him I didn't know what he was. Ttalking about, I will probably hear from him tomorrow, but in the mean time I feel like it will really be over for good because of mebeing so mean mouthed before I appolgizedd for it.

Continued again.....I neglected ti tell you that because of his depressiin he did meth for about a year, which I'm sure has only complicated our sutuation, He said he quit takung ir for 2 months and then not quite 2 weeks ago when I was wuthh him he got sine out and shot up in frint if me and he did some this week too. I've told him in text this weekend that I an sure the meth is why he has turned against me again and is talking about getting a divirce again. He win't keave the meth deaker ti give us a fair shake and I'n aat a loss as to what to do to gain his trust again. We've been together 35 years have 3 grown kids and grand kids; my sons tell me I need to quit talkibg ti him because his heads in meth land but he has always been my rock and I don't want to abandon him like he did me. I did send him atext asking hin what I csn do to make thibgs better for iur relatiinshio but I haven't heard back yet. What is your thouggts ob the matter? Thank you for your help in advance. Jackie. PS; any idea's on breaking the hold this wonan has on him? He says he does not have feekings for her lije he dies me but yet he stayys and is all lict divy wuth her ib irder to keep a roif over his head

As I understand it, Jackie, trust and meth don't go together. While it may provide a temporary high, meth is no cure for depression. It can even trigger depression. It's also known to cause paranoia (as in imagining your wife is telling others you are impotent and refusing to believe otherwise in spite of a total lack of evidence).

Meth is highly addictive, which means having easy access to it (like living with a meth dealer or having a meth dealer tempting you with sex as well as drugs) makes quitting for more than a month or so near impossible.

And he's testing you by shooting up in front of you now, making sure his relationship with you or his return home won't threaten his access to meth.

However, his access to meth threatens your relationship a lot more than any affair does. If he did meth while living with you from last summer until he left you penniless in February, it is quite possible he was not having an affair when he left but prostituting himself for a very expensive drug.

He is no longer your rock. He apparently has not been a rock of any sort for at least two years, Jackie. You may need to become his rock for a while. And this does not mean getting him away from the other woman but giving him enough reason to get some professional help giving up the drug, help that continues long enough for him to develop the strength to resist her to stay away from her product and avoid serious, long-term damage to his brain and body and the violent behavior it leads to.

You might want to check out these two pages from a PBS report to learn more.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/faqs/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/body/

I applaud you for getting treatment for your bipolar disorder and assume from this that you know at least one medical professional you can turn to for help in helping your husband be your rock again.

Hi, I have been married for 20 years, I think I have wrongfully accused my husband of having and emotional affair with our friend, he is now very angry with me, I we have tried to talk it over text, as he is away at work now. He has told me that it rubbish and nothing happened, that he looked apon her as a daugher since we have known her since she was a teenager. I found out they have been texting and she has being coming round to see when I was at work to 'help' round the house, he even offered her the use of his car, which is really what started the whole thing, as I asked him why and he hit the roof. I have said to him, why did he not tell me the whole story about he using the car, turns out she was using it to take our son to a job interview, instead of exploding when I questioned him about her, it is not the first time he had reacted this way when I asked questions about her, I asked what he expected me to think. He then accused me of fooling around which I know was just to upset me, I told him I would never, which is true. He is not talking to me now but did tell Me I could ask any questions and he would answer them, which he did, although he did get angry, which why he's not talking to me now. He has cut off contact with the friend and she has disconnected her phone number, I found out this morning that she proposition our 17 year old son a couple of weeks ago so I am seeing that she had no interest in my husband and has been coming round to see him probably just to see our son, I should also say that my husband has had 2 affairs before, both that he admitted to, so am I just letting old hurts came back and damage things, what can I do to make him less angry and get to the bottom of things?

Michelle, this comment came in quite a while ago, and I have been unable to keep up with all the comments on the blog, so I wonder how things are going now. Did you ask his forgiveness? Did he give it? Are you two feeling close again now. If not, what's the situation? I'd like to help if you still need it.

My boyfriend an I have been together almost 2 years... he is married. . I know this is wrong but he said that he was leaving.. I gave him my number before I knew he was married as he didn't wear a ring..he told me he wasn't happy and was goin to leave. . I never though another thing about him... And then a week or so after this he Started texting me... this is how we began.. we started texting daily an talking and seeing each other a few days a week..It kept evolving from there.. he was living with his wife and I alone with 2 kids...at one point he told me that he couldn't do it anymore because he didn't want to go to court with his *thing* puking green.. we took a break for a few weeks.. then after about 4 months
he left her and moved in with me.. he got off work around 4pm each day an had a hour drive home. . He didn't usually get there til 8 or 9 that night.. but he always accused me of seeing someone before he got there.. this went on for months... about a year after we started this we moved closer to his job.. an hour from my family and my children's father.. He is so jealous of anyone who might talk to me.. thinks I am constantly having a fling with someone while he is working. . I left an moved back to my hometown. . An a week later he followed me.. we have been back together 4 months now.. an he is still accusing me of having a fling with my kids dad or anyone else who crosses his mind.. I got a call from a private number an he thinks it's a fling.. I quit my job because he didn't like me working around public and the guys that came in.. so I sit at home and don't do anything but text him all day.. he will start texting me at 3 or 5 in the morning and when I tell him I was asleep he thinks I am lying that I snuck out an had a fling..So I take the kids to school an pick them up.. this is the only time I leave the house without him.... I am always called a conniving. . Manipulator.. Scandalous. . UU name it.. I hear it.. always telling me he don't know much more he can take.. says I lie all day every day... he thinks I get calls and txts all day from guys every where. . I love him to death.. am I crazy for staying..

Guess I forgot to mention that after a year his wife filed for divorce an that was 8 months ago.. an it's still goin on..

If you love him, stop feeding his paranoia. He's using this manipulation not to keep you from cheating on him (although it's pretty obvious why he expects cheating is something to worry about) but to get whatever he needs to feel whole: attention, a house keeper, texts at 3 in the morning, sex, reassurance, promises.

But he's getting it in a way that will always deny him the security, safety, and warmth of being loved and respected. He's getting it in a way that he can't stop, because he's convinced himself constant diligence is needed even to keep you from cheating on him. And he's getting it in a way that will keep you from ever questioning his fidelity, even though he's already demonstrated how shaky his fidelity really is.

He's getting it in a way that will never make him feel strong and proud, only weak and scared. And he's getting it in a way that, in too many instances, tends to move toward violence toward or imprisonment of the one person who actually loves him.

If he's not an impostor taking cruel advantage of you, he's almost certainly a man who needs therapy to deal with the black hole inside him. And he's unlikely to find the strength to seek it while he's getting what he wants from you with his unhealthy approach to his problem. Don't answer texts at 3 am -- turn off the notification sound. Don't keep your kids locked up in the house -- get out with them, and make dates with your own friends when they visit their father.

You two are not married (and dare not marry before he deals with this), so it is only your feelings for him that are holding this relationship together, and they won't last under this constant assault. The only chance for a loving relationship with this man requires that he choose to get help with whatever makes him so fearful.

Hi I've been married to my wife for 18 years, we have twin boys 11 yrs old by IVF, I have an older son from a previous marriage and brought him up as a single parent. We've been through the usual ups and downs, but the biggest stress is in the bedroom, I have a raging libidos and she shows no interest, especially since the boys came along, although it has got gradually worse. I stupidly had an affair with an old girlfriend some 4 years ago, she fulfilled all the physical needs I had and more, but all I really wanted was an ok relationship with my wife who I love. I have spent the last 4 years going everything I can to show her I love her, supporting her interests , even though they aren't mine, spend and encouraging loads of quality time with the kids, etc. the physical things have continued to deteriorate, I tell her I love get, I tell her how beautiful she is, I work my butt off for us.
We have just had a pretty enjoyable Xmas, although I was pretty low and depressed before the holiday, when on New Year's Day she hit me with a bombshell, she accused me of breathing something or spraying something on her to make her feel like sex, against her will!!!! I.e something unnatural, she had previously done this some years ago, prior my affair. the fact is I have never or would never do anything of the sort, she also stated that she had to be very brave to speak up about this and it had been going on for years!!!!
I tried to tell her that there is no way and she laughs and says I know and you what is going on! I wish I did! I was so shocked and devastated at the allegation, I went to talk to my doctor as I couldn't think who else to approach, my wife is 47 and has been suffering hot flushes for sometime and has been recently to her doctor for blood and hormone tests which supposedly showed nothing to worry about. My Doctor says I have to ride the storm and observe any other strange behaviour. my wife appears convinced I have gone something, I have suggested going to the docs together, but she refuses and laughs it is my problem and there's nothing wrong with her, after my affair we both went to counselling, but she decided not to continue, as she didn't like the idea she could have some part to play in the cause or solution and it was all my issue.
Problem is how do I deal with a completely fictional accusation and why does she believe she is correct!!
Rock bottom and lost for what yo do?

Pete, I commend you for checking in with your doctor on this one. There are indeed sprays that promise to increase a woman's libido, and I don't know how you could ever prove you're not using one to someone who's sure you are. (Perimenopause makes all of us women feel possessed or drugged -- it's more bizarre than adolescence.)

But the more interesting item here is that she does not want this feeling. This suggests sex is physically painful or emotionally painful for her. All the nice things you're doing to put her in the mood are pointless if being in the mood is frightening. At a private time, away from your bedroom, you might want to have a caring conversation or two about what's up. I would start it with what you said: "All I really want is an ok relationship with my wife who I love." Then I would add: "If feeling in the mood makes you unhappy and suspicious of me, I don't have that ok relationship. What can I do to make it ok again?"

You both know you enjoy and want more sex. Leave this off the table for now. Focus on the other thing you want, the relationship, one where you protect her from pain and fear and she can trust you to do this, even if you temporarily failed at it four years ago.

I am being falsely accused and it is driving me crazy. He is convinced I am cheating, at first I got sad and would try to reason with him, now I just get angry and then he claims that that is proof, why would I get angry if it weren't true? I am at my wits end, and am soon ready to throw in the towel and end our relationship. I dont know what to do or where to turn,

Time for a Third Alternative, Leslie. You could say to him, "I value our relationship and want it to continue. I promise I will never kiss or have sex with anyone else unless we break up. Now, what else do you need to feel secure in this relationship and go back to being the great guy I fell in love with?"

Then you must be quiet and wait for him to consider his answer. And if he says anything like, "Aha! So I was right!" do not defend yourself. Instead repeat word for word what you first said.

It's not likely, but if what he needs to feels secure is more than you are prepared to do (like let him lock you in the house when he's out or give up your career or answer phone calls from him every five minutes or while you're in the bathroom or the checkout line), you can say, "I value our relationship and I want you to feel secure in it, but I cannot do what you ask and feel secure myself. Is there any other way you could feel secure?"

Helping him feel secure in a relationship is one of the greatest gifts you can give him if there really is no reason for him to suspect you of cheating.

Greatg advice Patty! I used these words when speaking with him, and we had one of the best talks we have had in years. I really appreciate the great advice. Things are not perfect but at least we have a starting point now and are both willing to do the work. Am a huge fan now, and this page is bookmarked! Thanks again so much!

Leslie, I am so happy to hear this. Thank you for sharing it. Write again any time! Wishing you two the best.

I’m 37, male and my wife is 9 years older to me with a son from her previous marriage which was violent. I met her while I was giving tuitions to her son 13 years ago. Her son had trauma problems from his biological father who used to beat up both of them. Also she was forced upon to conceive while her previous husband was suffering from a STD which the child also contacted in the womb so he had learning problems. I helped the child to re learn how to read, write and overcome his fears. Now he is a successful computer engineer. While I was giving tuitions I was also doing my final year in Law. After I passed law she one day sought my help to bring her husband to the books as he had beaten them up very badly one night. I helped her all the way to a divorce.
After her divorce I married her and took her son as my own. We do not have a child of my own as she is advised against it by her doctor due to her high pressure problems. Im ok with that. However, the problem is she suffers from extreme insecurity and keeps accusing me of being promiscuous even though I’ve never had an affair or anything beyond having friends on facebook. My wife though keeps thinking that I have slept with some of them. God knows it’s not true. I give her as much time as possible, rushing home from office everyday so that she doesn’t feel bad. But she refuses to believe I love her. We know each other for 3 years and been married for 3 years now. Im at my wits end. She feels I no longer love her at all. I know she feels insecure but I too am human. I don’t know how to convince her. To allay her fears. I love her and need help.

Thanks in advance.

Sghose, your wife is at an age where a woman is likely to go through a period of insecurity about her looks as her body changes, her sexual appeal as her hormones change and her role in life as her children become adults. A woman who has been so mistreated in the past may experience even more insecurity than most.

Keep reassuring her. It's not forever. You two will get through this phase. (And then it will be your turn for a similar experience.)

You might also want to find a new hobby, sport, or project to work on together, something with a schedule that you honor as you do your work schedule.

And when you tell her you still love her, tell her why. Name something each time about her character, which won't diminish as her body ages: her creativity, her honesty, her spirituality, her eye for beauty in nature or in decorating your home, her open-mindedness, her modesty, her generosity, her optimism, etc.

Patty,

Similar to some of the posts I have been married 30 years to my husband who I took to my prom so we have been together for 36 years. He moved out this month because he says I "betrayed" him by cheating. He is wrong. He has become an emotionally unstable, paranoid and aggressive person who I do not recognize any longer. In 2014, he finally revealed to me that he believed I had an affair two years ago with a man who works in my office. He was stalking me by tracking me through "Find my IPhone." He said when I told him I was working late, my phone was showing up in empty offices. He further accused me of cheating at the gym; on business trips; with any man who I mentioned or spoke with and even when I go home to visit my ailing father. In an effort to prove him wrong and to save my marriage, I let him track me, let him have complete access to everything to allay his insecurities. It was never enough. We did marital counseling and he said he hated me. But, he would later become "normal" again and profess love. The breaking point came when he pulled a gun on me and later attacked my son because he believed my two children were being alienated against him by me. I begged him to stop attacking my son for 15 minutes and finally called the police to stop him. He was arrested. I feel so guilty but he would not stop attacking. He had since accused me of the most vile things one can imagine. In one day, he separated himself from the 3 people who live him. I finally told him-you either trust me or we are done because otherwise I cannot trust your emotions. Later, he told me he believed I had not cheated on him. Sadly, that sentiment lasted about 3 days before more talk of betrayal. I mourn my former soul mate and the life we built. But, I refuse to live in his ugly world that he fabricated in his mind. I cry less but peace of mind is precious. Is his behavior just jealousy, anxiety, bi-polar, paranoia? Thank you.

Gina, I am so sorry you are going through this awful situation, but you are right to protect yourself from his behavior. When a husband is vowing love one day and tracking you or threatening you or hurting you on another, he has lost the ability to control his behavior, and you are protecting him -- and your children and your marriage -- by calling for protection when you need it and by living apart until he addresses the problem.

Even if I were a psychiatrist or psychologist, there is no way I could tell you what causes his symptoms without seeing him in person. And I'm not. I'm a marriage educator. And this does not sound like jealousy. It sounds more like a developing problem with his brain -- a tumor, a trauma, a mental illness like Alzheimer's or schizophrenia, or the effects of abusing drugs or alcohol. In other words, nothing you can help with or affect by changing your behavior and something he really must see a doctor about ASAP.

And any time a spouse pulls a gun on you, it's crazy to consider being alone together in private or allowing your children to be alone with him in private until a doctor has treated him for the cause of such violent behavior.

Patty,
Thank you very much for responding. I agree with everything you wrote and we are, unfortunately, headed toward divorce. I had to come to the realization that he is not the man I married and I cannot "fix it" particularly when I never cheated. It is amazing what I put up with for the sake of the marriage and family. But, I am blessed to have options that allow me to protect myself and my children. Far too many others, particularly women, do not. I love him but it at least the "old" him but that person is "dead." It's like he died rather than a separation. I have two awesome and wonderful children and I just hope he finds happiness. Thank you again.

I am so sorry for your loss, Gina. I am glad that you and the children are safe, and I hope that your husband eventually seeks help. There are too many awful illnesses that can affect self-control and trust.

The weekend before out 10th anniversary we were returning from a trip in the mountains. We stopped at a gas station where I purchased a flavored condom. I figured it would be fun to use during oral sex. She found the condom before our anniversary date and accused me of wrong doing. At first I sat next to her and told her I loves her and explained why I purchased the condom. She told me she didn't believe me and that she no longer trusted me. You see, we are both surgically unable to have kids and no longer use condoms. Therefore she naturally accused me of buying it for infidelity. What I though would be a good idea to spice up our sex life has turned out to be a nightmare. You see, as much as I love her I cannot be with someone who doesn't trust me. We have two kids and three houses together. In haste I told her if she didn't trust me then we should move on. Then I called a realtor to set up a meeting to sell our houses. This is by no means what I want, because I love her. But I cannot live with someone who doesn't trust me.

Daniel, I am finally getting caught up on comments that came in during our move at the end of April. I hope that you two have called off selling the houses and rediscovered your trust for each other.

I disagree with this advice. Falsely accusing people of cheating -- especially when it is posted to social media to shame and embarrass them -- constitutes spousal abuse. This is especially true when the "cheating" is defined as speaking to other people because abusers use isolation to control and manipulate their victims (so false accusation are a way to keep them from communicating: to further isolate the abuse victim). Telling an abuser "I really value our relationship. What could I do that would make it right again?" empowers, encourages, and rewards the abuse, leading to more abuse; it's horrible advice.

Thank you, Michael. I was thinking of neither false accusations of immorality or lack of integrity, nor of public shaming, when I wrote this. You are so right that these are a tool to control a partner and require a much different response.

Hi Patty,
Today I was very stressed out after a major car accident. I have a history (3 years ago) of physical dependence on prescription painkillers (not psychological addiction). I do take Xanax very rarely for panic attacks (prescribed of course). After the accident I had a major panic attack so I took a Xanax. When my husband got home I went to rest my aching neck. He did a few chores. When I woke up a couple hours later I said that he could have woken me up. He replied, "Yeah, well, you took enough medicine to kill a horse." I told him I took the prescribed amount and only after getting home safely. One of my kids overheard him. I'm so angry at this false accusation I could literally drive to Mexico and never look back. He's not even sorry. He told me it was "just a joke", but with my past dependence and working so very hard to get past it years ago, I'm furious.

Erin, stress has an interesting effect on all of us. It makes us look for threats. It prevents us from noticing anything that does not look like a threat.

Assume Love is a technique to help us overcome this. It doesn't mean act on the assumption that you're loved. It means remember that this is not a stranger, not an adversary, but someone who promised to love you through better and worse, in sickness and in health. It's someone who is probably very frightened whenever anything happens to you, and therefore is dealing with that same automatic self-protective move that our brains employ, at the same time you're dealing with it. If one or both of you can recall that you know this and that the love is probably still there, you use it to take another crack at explaining to yourself what motivated the comment.

So you wake up and find him being helpful. Seems to corroborate there's still love there. Then he says something that triggers memories of a struggle you've been through, perhaps one that brings on embarrassment or shame for you on top of the memories of the pain and the challenge of getting your body through withdrawal.

If you knew for 100% certain that he adores you but can't read your mind, what might lead him to say these particular words?

Have you ever been worried about him or another loved one being late getting home but just as your worst fears are calmed by a safe arrival, you hear yourself say something snide about showing up late instead of "Oh, thank goodness you're ok! I was worried." We all can go quickly from being worried to relieved to angry we were put through the worrying, and only the last part comes out.

Just waking up, especially if you've taken something to help you relax, the self-protective narrowing of your thinking probably kept you from noticing the generosity of taking care of chores without waking you, all while surely worrying about you. (I'll bet he has his own triggers from those problems of 3 years ago.) And with his thinking similarly narrowed, it's likely he noticed the lack of gratitude and your anger over a comment that may have just slipped out.

Before you drive to Mexico, you might try an apology for the worry your accident and deep sleep caused him -- not because you owe him one, but because it opens a channel for his better self to connect with you and the pain and panic you experienced in a better way than that knee-jerk (emphasis on the jerk) response he first gave you.

Watching you two restore the rift quickly and find comfort in each other will also greatly help your child who's now dealing with what must have been a very frightening comment from her father.

Always, when you Assume Love, if you come to a possible explanation (like the one I offered here), you must check it against what you know of your spouse and the situation. If it doesn't fit, don't try to pretend it does. But if it does fit, it can help you feel the love you were being offered along with the button-pushing snide remark.

I hope you heal quickly from any injuries to yourself and your car, too, Erin.

I have been involved with a man for six years. Our relationship has been up/down, back/forth most of the time. We were married briefly, divorced and now for the past 8 months have been seeing each other. things have not changed. He struggled with rejection when he was a child. He has carried this over into adulthood. His first marriage ended in divorce-his wife divorced him. He is insecure, controlling, accusatory, verbally, emotionally and spiritually abusive. I know this sounds horrible but I am in love with him and have a strong emotional attachment. In one sense he can be very loving, sweet, caring and adoring, but then something happens (in his head) and he begins with the accusations, pushes me away, will not speak for long periods of time and tries to make me feel bad. I have suggested counseling and he makes the appointment and then gets mad about something and cancels. The problem is he is not aware of his issues and blames me and his family (stops talking to them for long periods of time). I think also there may be some personality disorder. Sometimes I think it may be a spiritual battle, I don't know what to do. When he accuses me of doing things I am not doing then I become angry. He then accuses me of having anger issues. He constantly points out flaws, goes from one thing to another. He has no joy and always seems sad. What do I do??
Helen

Helen, he sounds like a very difficult man to love. But since you want to love him, let's see what we can do to help.

You wrote: "When he accuses me of doing things I am not doing then I become angry. He then accuses me of having anger issues."

Sounds like a great tool in his toolkit. Want to get your way or invalidate whatever your wife wants? Just make up nonsense until she gets angry, then label her anger as an issue.

He may even be playing out his insecurities, terrified you might reject him, so trying to create a reason to reject the very person he fears losing.

His tool won't work anymore if you see the accusations as nothing more than a temper tantrum, a short-lived departure from intimacy and compassion that he'll survive and recover from if you don't respond.

Speaking of compassion, there's a weekend program in Gaithersburg, MD several times a year that you might want to invite your husband to attend with you. Unlike many fear counseling will do, absolutely no blame gets assigned to either of you. Instead, you both learn and practice techniques to use in tense moments for drawing on your in-born compassion for your spouse (what makes you want to be with him and what makes him loving, sweet, caring, and adoring at times) instead of the knee-jerk reactions that make people do things they regret later. I have no financial interest in it. It has a great track record. Dr. Stosny has one scheduled for December 2015 and another for January 2016. Here's the link to his website: http://www.compassionpower.com/anger-or-emotional-abuse-boot-camp/

My husband and I are party people , we've been married for almost 9 years . We always share sexual fantasies , I love to take him to extasy, while talking but this weekend I was saying yes to all his talk , and out of nowhere he decided everything I told him was true.
Last time this happened we almost break up, I thought he had changed , it seems like he gets mad because the fantasies are not real , and I refuse to admit to it , he calls me a liar and today he said he wants a divorce, I can't deal with this situation anymore I have admitted before to stuff I've never done to get out of the situation but I'm done.

Well, if you weren't done, Carviyan, I would suggest a Third Alternative, a way to enjoy the fantasies without being accused of lying when your husband can't tell what's fantasy and what's real. Something as simple as crossing your fingers, tapping your nose, or throwing a red chiffon scarf around your neck while you're sharing a fantasy (and only then) might do the trick.

I've been married twice and both ended when I caught them both cheating on me. I used a hidden tape player the 2nd time. I'm 67 and recently got into a new relationship(she's 60) and everything was going great. I showed her my high school yearbook and she pointed out a guy she had a relationship with about 20 years ago when they were both married to someone else! A few days later, I got my yearbook out again and found that this guys photo had been cut out. It really shocked me. I lost trust in my new girlfriend and when she came by to visit me, I snuck her cellphone out of her purse and saw 14 text messages from another guy she had also dated several years ago. He was also married. I exploded and told her to get out because of her stealing the picture and because I was sure she was still having an affair with this other guy. She denied cutting the picture out and denied she was having an affair. She left crying. A hour later she returned and told me she wanted to talk but kept denying everything. We took a drive to talk and I told her that unless she admitted cutting out the picture I was going to kick her out of my car. After 4 hours, she finally admitted it but denied the affair. I said we need to go to the guys house and talk to him which she refused to do. She said he was a good friend only, but I said with 14 texts in 2 days he was more than a friend. I wanted proof but she again refused. She blamed me for the fight.
Well I love her so much that I accepted her story but I still had doubts. She blamed me for it because I was not trusting her and she said I need therapy. I trusted her completely until all this happened.
We tried going out again and I told her I loved her very much, but she said she's going to have to work on it if she can ever love me again because of what I did to her. I said she started it, but she still blames me.
She acted very distant to me, and told me because her daughter died a few years ago, that's all she thinks about. I told her I am beginning to feel used and I still don't trust her. She began crying and left and told me it was over, but I still love her very much and am very confused.
What can I do??

Stephen, it doesn't sound good. When trust is so broken that you resort to spying with a hidden recorder or checking a cell phone you have not been invited to use, it's hard to rebuild it. Worth it if you've already married someone and given them your vow. Not worth it, in my opinion, for someone you recently began dating who is actively mourning a child's death and is the likeliest suspect for the damage to your yearbook.

After three untrustworthy choices in a row, you might want to consider hiring a relationship therapist to help you with your strategy for finding women to date. You may be attracted to qualities that increase the likelihood of falling in love with someone untrustworthy without realizing it. A trained clinical psychologist or social worker will spot what those are and help you steer clear of them.

Hi great site! I've lived with the love of my life for twenty three years ! We both had a child and now have one together. I'm not sure but I believe he's paranoid since this runs in his family . I'm twelve years younger also which makes things hard as well.hes accused me for many many years of having affairs since this is how I met him! I was and am still ashamed! But don't know what to say or do to reassure him ! He told me earlier today that I only stay for convenience it hurts when he thinks so low of me! He rarely has intimacy with me I have to initiate it and most of the time turned down!
Is it possible for a paranoid person to overcome such terrible ideas! He seems never to want to have sex either ! Feel empty and alone and so hurt ! I think I'd rather be beat with a remorseful partner afterwords than suffering in sillence!

Val, I am not a psychologist, and I've never talked with your husband, so you're probably in a better position than I am to tell whether it might be paranoia. And yes, paranoia is treatable.

However, you don't mention any other signs of it besides his fear that you would leave him if you could, and that fear is pretty common. It's likely a reaction to being unable to tell if you still respect him. Originally, you chose him over someone else, which probably felt he had your respect, but so many years later may feel like you can be fickle with your respect.

It could also be compounded by projection, in which he ruminates on the possibility that you are cheating on him because he's having thoughts about other women or cheating himself. The age difference, your attractiveness, and your earlier history make it easier to convince himself of this to justify his own thoughts.

However, even if he were cheating or thinking of cheating, he's concerned that you might be, which strongly suggests he's not feeling enough of what makes the marriage solid and dependable for him. For most men, this is respect: admiration, trust, gratitude for his contribution, not nagging or shaming.

And here's the Catch-22: mentioning that you fear he's developed the family mental health problem will sound like disrespect. So, unless there are other signs of paranoia, you might try two or three months of outward and more obvious signs of respect and see if anything changes.

Hello, I am in a very dire situation. I hope maybe writing this will help. I'll try to be as short as possible. I am in a 19 year marriage with a 14 month old son.
Five years into our marriage I started dancing to help pay our bills. We were very poor and no it's not the most upstanding job I had to do it. Well of course being in such an environment, I met another man, married at that. We hung out at the club and nothing more for a few months. Then I decided I was not happy and started seeing him outside the club. This went on for ten months. I soon realized I made a huge mistake and broke it off. Now my husband has always had a hunch about this as he had saw me talking to this same guy a few times and figures something was up. We I have denied it for 13 years and finally after having my son I wanted to come clean and tell him. Yes things were rocky and we have fought, he's said he wants a divorce, but we have slowly been working through things. Well about two months after telling him about the affair. He starts accusing me of being with his friends in the past, saying he remembers all these times I was with him. These are completely untrue, I know for a fact, but he has for the last six months done nothing, but torture me and call me a liar for not admitting to something I didn't do. He in fact now is accusing me of multiple affairs, because he claims he know all these things and I am just lying about it all. I know I have only had the one time and that's it. I have offered to take a lie detector and he said it doesn't matter either way, he knows what he knows. I am at my wits end, I have been drinking heavy and taking Xanax just to get through this time. I even asked my best friend if I should just admit it, so he will leave me alone. She said never do that because it will only lead to later accusations. Being accused of something you didn't do is the worst feeling in the world and I can't prove anything. Please help me on what I should do. Is my marriage even worth saving if I am going to be forever taunted, called names and constantly be told to leave. We have had such a great marriage up until this.

Jayne, the only way back to love is through love. You can't lie your way there. You can't drink or drug your way there. You can't get there with ultimatums or insults. And you probably can't get there quickly. It's likely to take at least a year.

Your confession obviously broke the trust your husband felt in you and reopened old suspicions, both the ones that were valid and the ones that were not. And this crisis in his life comes right on the heels of taking on the huge responsibility of being the father to a son who has many, many years to go until adulthood. He's got a lot to deal with.

[Note: none of this would entitled him to become violent or threatening to you or your son. If that's happened, I'd offer different advice.]

I would show him compassion. When he brings up other men, say things like, "I broke your trust 13 years ago, and I know it must really hurt a lot to learn that I did that and lied about it. But it also strengthened my resolve to never repeat that awful mistake, to add any more of that shame to our relationship or to my life story. You are right that I could have done it again with ____, and I can see how it might look like I did, but I need you to know I've been more faithful to you, committed to you since that awful mistake than I was even on the day we married."

Another time, you might say, "I know I have a long way to go to earn back your trust. Your suspicions about our entire marriage must drive you absolutely mad now. I assure you there has been no one else but you since then. I was wrong then and wrong to lie about it, but I've not added any more infidelities in the 13 years since then, and I told you because I respect you and want to stop holding back anything from you. What can I do to deserve your trust again?"

Maybe another time, "I am so sorry that I've made it so difficult for you to know when I'm telling the truth and when I'm lying. It really must feel horrible to think I was with these other men in addition to the one I lied about, which was over and done with 13 years ago. I respect you greatly. I value our marriage. I have for 19 years, except for 10 confused and stupid months way back then. The choice to trust me again is yours to make, but if there is anything I can do to help you get there, just ask, because I love you."

And when he's not angry or fearful about this, holding hands, touching his arm, hugging, massage, and sex will all release more of the hormone that makes it easier for him to trust you and feel connected with you.

Your advice seems sound but I am in a situation a little different than usual my husband of 36 years has become paranoid he beleives his phone and mine are hacked people are following him our home is bugged and my cough is a signal to these "evil minions" I am constantly being accused of being involved with some hidden cult and the like how can I continue to live like this I have tried counseling with him but he beleives counselors are his enemies also what to do???

Paranoia is an awful condition, Jennifer, and one I am not qualified to assist with. I would strongly urge you to make an appointment with a psychiatrist (an MD, as opposed to a psychologist or social worker) to talk over how best to deal with your husband's fears and how to tell when it's time for some involuntary mental health help for him.

We have been married for almost two years and my wife seems to be getting worse with her constant accusations of me cheating.Basically it's like a song in our home.I get accused of cheating when I go to the gym,go to see my friends,go to town for shopping basically I can't have a life because I have stopped explaining myself because it just doesn't work,nothing I say is good enough because I'm a cheat period.What suprises me is that I have never cheated on her, never had an issue in relation to any woman and I don't even have female friends because of her attitude but that's not enough. I have decided to just ignore her accusations and live my life because I'm tired .

I married my wife after only knowing her for 4 months. We were both in our mid 50''s and both divorced twice. We were also both madly in love with each other, and thoroughly discussed the desire for marriage and spending the rest of our lives together before we went ahead and tied the knot, as we no longer wanted the long distant relationship (3 hours away from each other), and at our age, we knew what we wanted and each felt that we were not making a mistake by marrying.

My wife experienced a lot of tragedy and loss of loved ones in her life, along with being in abusive marriages, and seeing a lot of unfaithful men all around her, which makes her believe that ALL men are the same, with very few exceptions. My wife also had a difficult time with moving out of her home of over 20 years and into a home I shared with my first two marriages, which is only a temporary thing until we figure out exactly where we want to live, but more importantly, not until we have shared quality time together and are completely secure with each other beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Here in is part of the problem. From the very beginning, I have done everything possible to make her feel secure by placing her name on the deed of my home, as she has refused to rent or sell her home which is 3 hours away, as she says she doesn't want to be without a roof over her head, no matter how many times I try to assure her that will never happen. She says she hates where she lives (in my/our house) in less than a month of living together, and began threatening to move back to her house 3 hours away and living as husband and wife like this. I thought being homesick was the root cause, but I'm now clueless.

The threats of moving back to her house have continued every 10 to 14 days or less for the past 14 months, and for the past several months, she's been falsely accusing me of being an unfaithful, lying husband who can't be trusted...just because I'm like every other man, and not one of the exceptions. I have not given her any reason to even make horrible assumptions like that, nor would I ever, as I love her more than I have ever loved anybody in my entire life..which she also proclaims to be a lie.

The threats of leaving and false accusations are taking their tool on me, and it has effected intimacy with the stress of worrying about our marriage and the horrible and extemely exaggeraged negative comments about our marriage. Before we married, she expressed the importance of going to bed together at the same time, and the desire for closeness and intimacy. However, going to bed together at the same time...or even sleeping together has been very infrequent, as she has spent the majority of time sleeping in another room, and uses the excuse of why sleep together if there is no intimacy. I have asked, how can there be intimacy when there is an almost constant threat of her moving back to her house, and even ending the marriage, on top of the outlandish and horrible accusations that are being made towards me on a more frequent basis.

It has been over two months now that she's been sleeping in another room with absolutely no intimacy. I have tried numerous times to ask her to please come to bed and stop living in the basement like a roomate, and have tried being intimate with her numerous times, only to be turned down and told that she's giving back to me what I dished out to her, as she thinks I don't notice, appreciate, or respect her.

Even though I've tried everything I can think of to show her that I do notice, respect, and appreciate her...and more importantly how much I love her... it all goes ignored and denied with false and dispicable accusations. In the past two months, she keeps bringing up that we havent made love in over two months, so I must be doing something I shouldn't be. When I remind her that I'm not the one who is denying us of intimacy, she tries to gaslight the situation.

I love my wife with all my heart, and have been completely faithful and loyal to her since the day we met, and will be to the day I die, but the sensationalized and absurd accusations continue and are increasing. There is obviously a lot of detail I've left out, but have captured the majority of the most important and disturbing things.

Regardless, I'm heart broken how things are going and I'm struggling for answers and suggestions. Please offer whatever help you can.

Gosh...it looks like awhile since there were piztings here, so I hope it's still active.

Still active! Latest blog post is always at http://assumelove.com

Hi, Jakey. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I'm always surprised to see that people who post their stories often seem to know and share the key elements of what's going on -- without recognizing what those elements are.

You two married before getting to know each other very well. You know enough about her history to understand why she expects abuse and/or cheating from you and is likely to jump to that conclusion when you behave in ways that surprise or distress her. She must have thought you were an exception when she chose to marry you, because who would volunteer for another round of that? Ergo, it's pretty clear that something's distressing her, and she can't think of any other way to explain why you're doing it.

You love her more than you have loved anybody in your entire life, but even so, her behavior's grating on your nerves, so perhaps you can understand how yours could be grating on hers, even if she still loves you very much.

You find yourself mystified why she's holding onto that house 3 hours away, instead of renting or selling it, but you are holding onto yours until you two "are completely secure with each other beyond a shadow of a doubt." You tried to make her feel secure by putting her name on the deed to that house, but she obviously doesn't feel secure...or comfortable there.

It takes a very secure person to feel at home in an unfamiliar city with no network of friends, living in a place whose spaces and uses and decor and furnishings have been defined, in large part, by other spouses before them. And you already know your wife is not a secure person after 50 years of living with folks who can't be trusted.

What does it mean to be an owner of the place when leaving it (with you) isn't an option for her? And when she's expecting to be hurt or cheated on, even while wanting very much to be proven right that she finally found someone different from the men in her past, what explanation is she likely to jump to when you disregard her feelings about your living situation.

Intimacy seems to be the area where you two act out your emotions over your sense of security, but it looks from here like you need to have a serious, heart-to-heart talk about where the two of you can feel secure living. It may be that you both need to hang onto your homes for a while to feel safe, but perhaps you could rent one of them out while you rent a place where you can start over on building a secure relationship.

And if you would actually do it, you might try replying to her next threat to return to her house with an offer to return with her. It would make it clear you'd leave anyone you're seeing to be with her (which abusers and cheaters wouldn't do), and you're more interested in your marriage than your house, both of which would be likely to make her feel a good bit more secure. Living in her house would probably give you a lot of compassion for how difficult it's been for her to live in your home, and compassion will build security for both of you.

But I would hope that, instead, you two would discuss finding a new place. I strongly suspect intimacy will return as you both start to think of the new place as home and the old places as financial investments -- even if the new place is just a temporary rental.

Once you get the housing security worked out, any time you're accused of being "just like all men," put your arm around her. Comfort her for the pain she's endured at the hands of the men she's known. Tell her you understand why it must be so hard to believe you won't cheat, and try not to take her fears personally. Then, while your arm's still around her, ask her if there's something else going on between the two of you that needs fixing.

John, that sounds like a very lonely life. Less stressful, perhaps, than constantly feeling misunderstood and distrusted, but not really a life most people could keep up for very long.

If your wife has accused you of cheating for two years without filing for divorce, I'd guess that she's trying desperately to get something from you that she has no clue how to ask for.

It might be that her Love Language (see Gary Chapman's book, the Five Love Languages) is quality time together, and she's not getting enough of it to feel securely loved.

She may be fishing for compliments on her physical appearance or her bedroom performance, reassurance that she's "good enough" to hang onto your love.

If she's moved somewhere without a network of friends and familiar places to be with you, or if she can't also go out when you do (because you have a child or a business together), she may feel you're taking more than your fair share of time away.

Or she may have a stronger sex drive than yours, leading her to believe you must be getting sex away from home because you're not (and she's not) getting enough at home.

Or it might be paranoia, a sign of a mental health issue best addressed with a psychologist or psychiatrist before you two have children.

See if you can narrow down the possibilities and experiment with giving her more of what you think she might be missing. Then watch to see if her panic subsides.

So i got in an argument with my wife of 5 years and we have 2 kids and i told her we are done. It all started with her going back to her moms for 2 months so she can work and her mom can watch the kids so we can catch up on bills. I stayed back in colorado to work. Well when she got back she seemed distant and secretive. I didnt think anything of it until one day i had enough and asked why she keeps turning her phone off everytime i get near her. She always responded "because im done with what i was doing." So it all escalated and i told her to let me see her phone and she got mad and said no. So i told her if you want to hide stuff from me and be secretive about it then we should get a divorce. Now she's back in washington with her mom and my 2 kids.

Solomon, it is with a sad heart that I welcome you to the club of people who said "I want a divorce" when they meant "I'm scared silly that I'm losing your respect and your love; please, please, please tell me it's not true."

Your marriage is not over yet, unless you want it to be, but it gets a lot harder now. It's harder because, whether your wife was innocent, cheating, or looking outside the marriage for support with her fears that she's lost your love and respect, you've gone even a step further than she did in confirming those awful fears.

The road back begins with taking a big risk: admitting how you really feel -- and sticking to it when your fears make you want to push her away again -- without knowing whether you'll be rejected again, in limbo for months, or quickly back in a warm and loving relationship. It can take a lot of courage and patience, but for many couples where one of them is willing to brave the risk, it ends with a much closer and more dependable relationship.

You'll probably also need to resolve some of the differences that have pushed the two of you apart, so please read some of my blog posts on Finding Third Alternatives.

Hello, I started dating my boyfriend a year ago. We love each other a lot and we have the best chemistry, we're like best friends. Even though we're so close and spend so much time together he doesn't trust me. He's always accusing me of doing the craziest things. When we argue sometimes I'll leave and go stay the night at my sister's house but he thinks I went and slept with someone, if he's away from me for a day he thinks i cheated while he's gone, he's even questioned me of sleeping with my brother in law. I usually get very upset and it starts another argument, then he flips it on me saying that me getting upset shows that i have done something behind his back. I don't know what to do, I love him so much and I don't want to lose this relationship. We nees help and he doesn't believe in counseling being that he's so stubborn so what do I do? How do we get through this?

Mia, it sure sounds like he's been through something that leaves him currently unable to be part of a long-term, healthy relationship. If the accusations are completely unfounded, I doubt relationship counseling would help, but individual counseling for him might. It would be foolish to hang onto a year-old, uncommitted relationship unless he's feeling the same desire to keep it alive. If he's feeling this, he really needs to find out what's behind his distrust of you and deal with it. In the meantime, try not to take his accusations personally. If you're not being dishonest about what you do in his absence, they are not about you. They are his own demons, and only he can deal with them.

My fiance went through my phone 1 month ago exactly and accused me of cheating on him; i begged and pleaded; which he didn't care about and was sleeping on the couch and not talking to me at all for about 1 week. He finally had come back around on the 19th and he had an entire outside relationship. After awhile I agreed to come back and fix things after I called the wedding off and I listened to him tell me its nothing the girl is crazy and things like that. So here we go again on September 18th more accusations, while I was at work he went through my Ipad and he left the house with non of his things stating that he saw me talking to other guys. which he did not and he left with no explanation or anything. Come to find out looking through my Ipad he really didn't see anything he was just trying to find a reason to be mad at me. I'm guessing so he can have a reason to leave. However I snapped out on him and was like you know what come get your things and leave I don't want to keep doing this because last time I caught him cheating. I have a strong feeling that he maybe cheating again. I pray that this isn't the case because if it is I will have to call off my dream wedding off again and/or could this mean that he doesn't really want to Marry me?

Brittney, dream weddings (and wedding dreams) are dangerous stuff. If you don't pay more attention to the 9,130 days that lie between your wedding day and your 25th anniversary, you're setting up yourself, your family, and any children you might have with the groom for some awful surprises.

You've spotted what's up. Your fiance uses these accusations as an excuse for violating his moral code -- or perhaps his moral code just doesn't include fidelity to someone he's asked to marry him and not yet broken off his engagement with. Whether he believes them or not is irrelevant. His personal best changes with what he believes or pretends to believe.

Is this someone you could find your way through another 9,130 or more days with after the big party is over? Is this someone you could trust to be the best possible father you can offer your children, if you have any? Is this someone your parents and friends can depend on? Is this someone who is up to the challenging duty to stand by your side through a devastating job loss or breast cancer?

Or is he just a throwaway excuse to put on a fancy dress and throw a big party?

I have no idea if he still wants to marry you, but I'm a bit unclear why you want to marry him. He's not ready. And if you're more focused on the wedding than the marriage, neither are you.

Brittney, dream weddings (and wedding dreams) are dangerous stuff. If you don't pay more attention to the 9,130 days that lie between your wedding day and your 25th anniversary, you're setting up yourself, your family, and any children you might have with the groom for some awful surprises.

You've spotted what's up. Your fiance uses these accusations as an excuse for violating his moral code -- or perhaps his moral code just doesn't include fidelity to someone he's asked to marry him and not yet broken off his engagement with. Whether he believes them or not is irrelevant. His personal best changes with what he believes or pretends to believe.

Is this someone you could find your way through another 9,130 or more days with after the big party is over? Is this someone you could trust to be the best possible father you can offer your children, if you have any? Is this someone your parents and friends can depend on? Is this someone who is up to the challenging duty to stand by your side through a devastating job loss or breast cancer?

Or is he just a throwaway excuse to put on a fancy dress and throw a big party?

I have no idea if he still wants to marry you, but I'm a bit unclear why you want to marry him. He's not ready. And if you're more focused on the wedding than the marriage, neither are you.

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