A woman who I will call Kristin told me that her husband Dan seemed to be slowly slipping away—but as she explained the situation, it was clear that there was far more going on than just a bit of distance in the relationship.
For a few years, she and Dan had been juggling a lot of work and family obligations and always going in opposite directions. Most of their conversations began centering around logistics—who was going to get which kid where, how the SUV was going to get to the dealership for servicing, who was going to pick up dinner. Way too often, patience ran low and tensions ran high.
But those tensions were complicated by a few issues at work. Kristin knew Dan loved her, but he also loved his job and was highly respected and well-liked there. When things were off at home, she knew he felt appreciated at the office. In fact, she had been wondering if a female co-worker of his who seemed just a little too friendly might be interested in him.
Dan worked with this woman only occasionally, and deep down Kristin knew he would never do anything inappropriate. But she couldn’t help feeling like he was at a point in life where the pressures of home and family could make outside interests more appealing. So she started checking up on him to find out where he was, what he was doing, and who he was talking to. If he was having to work late, she asked who he was working late with. And in the rare instances that it was this female colleague, she would ask him to relay everything they had talked about.
By the time she told me about the situation, it was clear that her marriage was starting to have the life squeezed out of it. She knew a lot of the reason was probably because of her controlling behavior, but she didn’t know how to change.
Have you ever been where Kristin is? Feeling insecure in your marriage not because of anything inappropriate your spouse has done (that is an entirely different situation that will need to be covered in a different article), but because life is drawing you apart and you have resorted to hurtful behavior as you try to hold on? Unfortunately, that attempt to control everything can end up pushing away those we love most. It’s a vicious and maddening cycle, but you can get out of it.
If you see yourself in Kristin’s example, here are five key ways to do that.