Q: My wife and I grew up in a small town where everybody knows everybody. She lived with both her parents and mine got a divorce when I was 9. I saw lots of violence from my mothers behalf toward my father and it was sometimes scary for me. When my wife was growing up she wouldn’t stay all night with friends and such. She even had a scholarship to go to school to play basketball and turned it down cause she had to leave home. She’s 31 and I am 27. She’s been married once ….I have not. We got married in 96 and moved 5 hours away from our hometgown where she really resented me for the longest time making every effort to go visit our hometown…even if it meant falling asleep on the way. I coach and teach and she teaches. My time in coaching is always used against me when I coach. I often hear how I am neglecting my child cause I coach and I am gone a lot. I also get tired of going to our hometown because its not very big and to me everything that’s going on has been said on the phone the night before. Her and her mother talk every single day on the phone. Her mother did not hold a job. When she was growing up her father was the only one that worked. I lived with my father because of custody battles and he stayed busy with coaching and teaching as well. We had a child two years ago and recently moved again but somewhat closer to our hometown …about a three our drive. Our desicion to move was based on opportunity as a teacher. We teach in different school systems and we have different schedules. Our breaks fall at different times and more often than not over lap. She leaves when her breaks start… usually before mine and takes my son too. They go to her mothers and stay….while I teach and when my break starts I leave to so I can see them. I do not stay with my wife and son when we are in our hometown. I stay with my father and my wife and son stay with her mother and father. I really don’t like this situation and they offer for me to stay but the house is small and someone has to double up in a single bed or sleep on the couch and I can’t be myself either…..I stay up late and everyone else goes to bed so I stay with my dad and feel more comfortable..except I don’t have my family. However to get back to the point …I try to do things she does to me so she can feel how I feel and she erupts…with emotional anger. For example I wanted to take my son to my fathers with me to stay a night and she was not going to allow that to happen. Another example is she wanted to leave one weekend because some friends from back home called and offered to come and get her so she could go to our hometown festival. I had a graduation on a Friday, and a track meet all day Sat. She wanted me to drive in Saturday night and we all come back on Monday because of a holiday weekend. I simply said that’s not a problem…the problem is when I decide to leave in the middle of your last two weeks of work and take little Tommy then there will be a problem. She said well I would go to…! I said and miss work she said yes. I said well I am not saying I am but if I wanted to then I guess you would have to miss work….! She got really angry and I was trying to make a point….. that its okay for her to leave me home by myself but its not for me to leave her at home and visit over night (Just me and my son). More often than not I am tired when I get in from Track Practice or meets and anytime she gets a chance she leaves to go to our hometown and I don’t feel like driving 3 hours to turn around and come straight back. I also would love to see my family when I get home and not drive at all. It hurts me for her to leave and take my son off and me not get to enjoy him. The last example caused a big up roar and she told me my point was useless cause its different with a mother and son than a father and son. That may be true but I try so hard to provide and enjoy my family cause I didn’t have a strong family and all of my sons morals take place at her mothers house and not our house…. When we return to our home in our work place it feels like a place we stay when we work. We very seldom enjoy our own home outside of work cause we always end up in our hometown. The last example I gave you about me trying to make a point lead to a argument where she pulled a butcher knife in front of my son on me cause I asked her a direct question and she wouldn’t admit it was the truth and she tried to escape the situation and I wanted her to answer. My son started crying and I grabbed her hand and shoved the knife down in a flower pot and it fell off the counter. She runs to the phone to dial 911 and I should have been the one calling 911 cause my life was in danger not hers…I didn’t raise a hand to her and never will. So I asked what are you doing …. she replied calling 911 and I hung the phone up and she belted me across the mouth and busted my lip up pretty good while blood sprayed from my mouth… I immediately…..turned around and was getting my stuff to leave and she says I am sorry ….and wouldn’t let me leave… and then wanted to talk…. The whole entire time my son is watching this stuff. She ends up leaving. My question is what in the world should I do in this situation. Every time our hometown is brought up its a argument and sometimes a fight. I don’t want them to leave and feel left out sometime…but when the tides are turned man its world war three around my house. I can’t deal with this…and don’t really understand the conflict if its jealousy or if she doesn’t care about my feeling ( cause she told me during the arguement that she didn’t love me and it felt good to say that …she has also has told me in the past she would sleep in Tanners room but shes afraid that he would wake up and not see us together). She is stern when it comes to our hometown and I feel like she wants to be mothered. How do I approach the situation…next time and do you think my son will remember what he wittnessed? Please respond… I need help… this has been going on for a while now….Byron.
A: Good grief Byron! Your “question” has been the longest I have ever had….and perhaps the most difficult to answer. It sounds as if your wife is minimally invested in your relationship and that’s a major problem. It also sounds as if she’s terribly invested in seeing her folks and her hometown instead of sharing time with you. I would suggest that, in the near future, you do whatever you need to do in order to increase your contact with each other. You may need to reconsider staying with her at her parents’ place when you’re in her hometown, even if it is cramped. – But I also really think that you both will need counseling because of what sounds like real avoidance on her part. You don’t make her sound like she’s in pursuit of a relationship with you. A counselor will force both of you to deal with the real issues between yourselves instead of avoiding each others (as it sounds to currently be the case). – Bryce Kaye