Our expert says:
Gosh, Me, quite a long saga here ! And I find it a bit confusing, that the story seems to shift between the 1st and 3rd person. Let's see. The husband has had a childhood that would have been disturbing to anyone, but apparently the marriage was getting on relatively well until the additional stresses of moving to Switzerland, and the struggle, eventually abandoned, to adjust to work and lifestyle there.
I'm not so interestd in whether the husband has a genuine empathy with the "other woman", the old flame, but in why he fels she should have even the remotest claim on his empathy --- can she really find nobody in all Africa who can empathize with her ?
And I don't buy the argument that any intelligent person decides to try extramarital sex, and homosexual relationships, as a cool intellectual experiment to explore alternative lifestyles. What other lifestyles does he plan to sample next ? Surely these are based in his own sexual interests outside the marriage, and also in men. Such interests are within the range of normal, but undesirable within a marriage.
If the husband feels a degree of guilt about feeling he may have been complicit in the earlier experience of sexual abuse, this is quite a common feeling, though of course he is not to blame for activities initiated by or at least encouraged by the older person who had sole responsibility to ensure that such things did not happen.
One can understand the uncomfortable feelings of both husband and wife. I'm not sure that anybody is preventing the husband from "being who he is", especially as who he is doesn't sound clear to him yet. That all of one's proposals or desires are not approved of, or encouraged, doesn't constitute preventing someone from being who they are. In deciding who one is, one inecapably has to take into acount the views of those with whom you are in a committed relationship, and, indeed, of society at large. You don't have to follow all the views o fsociety, but you cant complain of being thwarted if they differ from yours.
I don't here much in this mesage about the husband having concerns about he wife's desires or needs, or whether she is being enabled to be who she is.
I understand that the couple may feel some constraints on their entirely free choice of pastimes due to having the child, but this is inevitable, and not everyone chooses to see this as a problem. Lack of income, geography, many other such facotrs constrain absolutely all of us from spending all of our time as we might otherwise freelly choose.
If the husband resents the wife spending time caing for his son --- what on earth does he expect her to do ? Work fulltime ? Then who does he expect to care for his child ? And how does he imagine he could possible "wiothdraw financial support" for his wife and child, who, even in the event of a separation or divorce, he would have to pay to maintain.
Surely what you are describing are a couple, who should be spending some of that timer, and that income, on (a) marriage counselling, to work sensibly and producively on their relationship, and (b) on personal individual counselling for each of them, to help the husband deal with all the issues he has arising from his problematic childhood and his more recent apparent sense of being unsure about who he is, and the wife for her sense of hurt, and fear of abandonment.
Both seem to deserve this, and likely to benefit greatly from this, as would their child.
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