Counselling

Want to find happiness in 35-year-old unhappy marriage

My husband is uncaring, selfish, flirtatious and controlling. How can I change him?
Lonely old woman

Question:

Dear Snigdha ji,
I want a happier and more fulfilling life with my husband. My husband and I a very good musicians and both of us play musical instruments. We have been married for 35 years and now I am 60. Till today my husband has not allowed me to blossom in my talents by totally suppressing me and being the dominant person in all matters. I hate socialising with him around because he is obsessed with people and feels compelled to impress them, even by telling lies. He can make a very good impression on others, so no one believes me if I tell them about his real personality.
He needs to be surrounded by people all the time and has no time to spare for me or my son.
Also he is obsessed with women, sweeping them off their feet with his sweet talks. He will hug all women and girls but never have any intimacy with me. He won’t even listen to me or people’s views as he is very self-centered. I am really tired. Now I am bold enough to do what I want and I don’t ask for his permission or opinion.He can talk for hours and hours and that’s exhausting for me. It’s really difficult to live with such a person

I want him to:
1. Not be obsessed with other women
2. Spend more time with me and my son
3. Be loving and affectionate to us instead of pretending to be caring in front of others.
4. Allow me to display my talents by not cutting me off. (Especially because he loves to counsel ladies as to how they could develop themselves and not waste their talents.)

Kindly advice how I can tackle him diplomatically as we still love each other. There is no physical intimacy for the last 25 years.
Thanks in anticipation.

relationship counselling

Related reading: Should I go back to my suffocating marriage or stay firm on a divorce?

Answer:
Dear Married for Thirty Five Years,

Why have you been married to him for so long? You have been suffering since years. Having said this, it is your choice, really. The four questions that you have posted are all related to his behaviour, which unfortunately you or me or anyone else cannot control and change. He is his own person and that’s about it. As for handling him and his behaviour is concerned. You clearly have been miserable with a man for the last 35 years. If you want to continue in this marriage, you’ll need to learn to be emotionally independent, irrespective of your husband. As I said before, you cannot change or control him, unless he wants it for himself. So you just need to accept that this is my husband and that’s how he is going to be. You also mention you love each other… Although I do not know how love can survive without respect, acceptance and trust.

Answer these to gain more clarity.
a. What do I want for myself, independent of my husband?
b. What are the things I’m ready to do to help myself be more independent in life.
c. Am I willing to learn to stand up for myself?
d. Am I willing to learn skills to be more emotionally and behaviourally independent.
Answer all the above questions keeping in mind that you do want to continue living with him. Your letter does not indicate otherwise.
Another advice would be to take Couples Therapy with your husband for a couple of months.
I hope this was of some help. All the best

Dr Snigdha

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