Are you considering divorce because you're dealing with a needy spouse? You may relate to this reader's question that we answer for "Address your Stress" Tuesday, which is about one spouse considering divorce due to feeling tired of dealing with a needy spouse.
More inspiration on feeling triggered and upset by your partner:
- Imago therapy and rude, hostile people
- Harville Hendrix and the gift of Imago Therapy
- More than just a communication technique, Imago therapy is deeply healing
My wife over the last week has told me she wants a divorce but not until after the holidays. She says I am never happy and everything I do for her is to manipulate her and get my needs filled and that she is exhausted. I have listened to her and agree to a point. I actually have two doctor appointments this week and researched some online and believe that I have some severe anxiety and depression issues. I have told her that I see some of this and am going to start seeing some professionals for help. She told me that I need to suffer to get better because I have "made" her suffer so long. At this point I can only look into my issues and see what happens. With no expectations. We have 3 kids two at college and one in middle school. Is there anything else I can do?" - Needy Spouse
Our answer to Needy Spouse: It is great that you are taking responsibility for your part in the relationship, though I wonder how much of your wife's behavior is due to the influence of others.
Are people advising her to consider divorce?
It's also important to note that the things that really bother us about our spouse are usually mostly about us.
It might be helpful for her to get conscious about why you are bothering her so much and what you are triggering in her.
It is possible that she is triggered by "needy" people, regardless of your contribution, due to unmet needs in her childhood.
For instance, some children assume the role as caretaker for their siblings or even their parents and this can lead to an aversion towards "needy people".
If you have an idea, try to have some compassion for her story, it may help her feel heard.
If you are willing to get help and change, why doesn't she give you a chance? Saying that you have to suffer because you made her suffer sounds like revenge and not someone who is genuinely interested in a relationship. I
f she has thought so hard about the issue and plotted a date for the divorce, she may have already made up her mind and has been talking to others.
The best hope you have is to take responsibility and commit to working on the relationship. You can tell her how important the marriage is to you and that you want to work together.
To throw it away without giving it a chance is unfair to your children and unfair to each other.
We talk more about unmet needs in childhood and how they can trigger major frustrations and upset with spouses, like in this case of the wife considering divorce due to her dealing with a needy spouse, in our book on healthy marriages. Click here to read it.
Be in touch,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin