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Our differences are causing too many troubles

by Callum
(England)

My wife and I love each other very much but we have only been married now for two years and things already seem irreparable. We've tried many different activities suggested online and the same mistakes are constantly made over and over. We are now considering couples therapy. We are adamant that divorce and separation is not an option for us.


Our three biggest issues are:
1. Massive differences on every level
2. Lack of communication
3. Both get overly emotional

We both have such different backgrounds. She comes through a heavily family orientated background while not the case for me. I am not great at conversation as in my family home there was not much conversation whereas she's used to constant talking to her mum and dad and two sisters. I often find it hard to know what to talk to her about.

I admit I am really bad with listening and remembering things. Not that I am being lazy or distracted but because things don't always seem to stick in my head. Understandably this irritates her as she is often having to repeat herself.

We both suffer from depression and anxiety. When she gets sad and down, I find it very hard to be supportive in the way she needs because the way she needs it doesn't come naturally to me. I often make the situation worse. It's even worse if I am down too because I feel hopeless.

I also feel very guilty because I don't seem to have any sex drive since getting married and I don't fully know why but she ends up feeling sexually frustrated because of this. I have had a history of being groomed by a friend when I was 17 which may have caused this non-existent sex drive but I don't know.

One of my biggest struggles is that her sister and I have
everything in common. We are very similar people in all areas. As she is very close with her family, I often have no choice but to spend time with her sister and I tend to focus only on her without even knowing it. I feel so much shame because I love my wife and I only want to be interested in her. It's very hard when there is someone else who just seems so much more like me. Of course I would never ever ever cheat. I hate the idea of it but having those feelings just puts more of a strain on things and my wife does know about my feelings for her but she is understandable and does not blame me for them.

Of course these are my biggest problems I have and my contribution to this unhappy marriage but I will now list my biggest difficulties with my wife....

She has a very bad temper. She is regularly ticked off by the smallest thing which she will explode about. Even if it's something I do that does not even involve her.
She often misinterprets things I say and accuses me of incorrect things. She is very critical of the things I do and often puts me down when I make mistakes as I am quite clumsy. Calling me names like stupid or idiot. She's a bit of a control freak too. She likes things to be done her way. When I express my own opinion she gets upset and says I am always disagreeing and hating on her ideas.

When I am anxious or depressed or even physically poorly, she is supportive up to a point until she gets fed up and starts suggesting I just "get on with it" etc.

We've continuously tried talking about our issues but it often end with her raising her voice and then eventually crying.

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"You gave us counseling without making either one of us feel that you were taking sides.
You always maintained your impartiality with us. You encouraged Rita to be more assertive in stating what she wanted to get from your counseling sessions, as well as what she wanted to get from the relationship.
You taught both of us better communication between ourselves, which lead to an emotional comfort level between us that didn't exist before.
You took control of the direction of the session if things were not moving along.
Thanks so much
for helping us."

Rita and Mark

Eugene Kayser, MA, MFT's profile on the Gottman Referral Network