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Question
Posted by: Ben | 2010/02/22

I need relief

I am a 55 year old professional. I own a successful growing business.I have been with my common law wife for 24 years. We have a 22 year old daughter who is at university.
My ''wife'', is a very strong person who controlls everyone around her, including me. She has some very good qualities, but also some rather embarrasing traits, such as arguing with me in front of company, insulting me, and has at times spoken about intimate and embarrasing subjects at business social events.
She has slowly over the years become an alcaholic, and is addicted to dagga. She has chased her daughter away with her behaviour and at times treated her elderly mother very harshly.
I am tired of her controll!! She uses guilt and tears to control me on a daily basis. I have bought myself a small townhouse, and have decided to spend some nights there every week.
My problem is, she would like to go for counselling to repair our relationship, but I have had enough! I would like to enjoy the remaining years of my life without her controlling me.
I have a good friend who is happily married, but who has shown me that men and women can spend many hours together without competing and challenging each other continuously. She is a colleague who I respect deeply, and we spend many hours working together and sometimes have to travel. What do I do? What is the right thing to do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sorry to hear about this, Ben. Alcohol abuse and dagga abuse is likely to have contruibuted significantly to the embarrassing social behaviour you describe.

I understand your reluctance to embark on couples or marriage counselling with her, but it would probably still be a good idea. I think such counselling should not be seen as superglue, aimed entirely at sticking a relationship back together. It can be valuable in enabling BOTH of you to understand better what went wrong, how and why, and how to avoid it in future, whether in this relationship or any other ( there's a high risk of both of you repeating this pattern, otherwise ). And it can enable a peaceful and more friendly breaking up of the relationship, with less bitterness and recriminations.

If the friend you mention simply provides a good colleague and a model of the sort of relationship you would like to form in the future with someone else, that's useful. A relationship directly with her of course, especially on the rebound from your present elationship going sour, could provide the opposite of that.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/22

Sorry to hear about this, Ben. Alcohol abuse and dagga abuse is likely to have contruibuted significantly to the embarrassing social behaviour you describe.

I understand your reluctance to embark on couples or marriage counselling with her, but it would probably still be a good idea. I think such counselling should not be seen as superglue, aimed entirely at sticking a relationship back together. It can be valuable in enabling BOTH of you to understand better what went wrong, how and why, and how to avoid it in future, whether in this relationship or any other ( there's a high risk of both of you repeating this pattern, otherwise ). And it can enable a peaceful and more friendly breaking up of the relationship, with less bitterness and recriminations.

If the friend you mention simply provides a good colleague and a model of the sort of relationship you would like to form in the future with someone else, that's useful. A relationship directly with her of course, especially on the rebound from your present elationship going sour, could provide the opposite of that.

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