In November 2016 he told me he was done – this was his first and last meeting with me and he was going to file for divorce. He was fed up with years of her being negative and controlling of him and everything around her.
He said he loved who she was when they first met but over the years and after a first child she had changed and he was now unable to stay with her.
He told me the relationship had been so difficult for him he felt he had no choice but to seek love elsewhere.
So he created a secret relationship with another woman and stayed with his wife not wanting to leave his child. It was his way of staying with the family but he was now at the end and needed to move on.
In his head the situation was clear but I could see he was missing some crucial information.
He was unaware that who she had become was not who she really was. The reality was she had been in emotional trouble for years and they both didn’t know.
So rather than finding out why she had changed he just accepted that this was the new her and he couldn’t live with her negativity anymore.
As I spoke with him I could hear he had genuinely tried everything he could think of.
He was also totally unaware of the things he was trying had actually made her worse and so she simply became more entrenched.
This is a very common problem that when couples try to fix their problems they actually make them much worse.
The reason this happens is because they don’t understand the real problem so they try and fix either a symptom or what they think the problem is with disastrous consequences.
In this case, this lady had become emotionally overwhelmed and her system had fired up a survival mechanism that had emotionally detached her from her husband and herself.
This meant any intimacy was very difficult for her so added to the husbands’ suffering.
In her head, she was just trying to get through every day – one day at a time. Life for them both was no longer fun, passionate or light.
She didn’t know what had happened to her so she wasn’t trying to get out of this emotional state she was simply reacting to it.
It’s almost like an open wound that never heals – it makes someone irritable and negative and emotionally exhausted.
Over the years he asked her what he could do to help her, but she had no idea and all she could come up with are solutions that practically helped her but never really shifted her out of this dark hole.
Both people were emotionally exhausted but she didn’t want him to leave.
He knew he couldn’t stay with her this way.
I helped the husband understand what I was seeing and naturally, he pushed back and became animated and upset with me. I was asking him to get to the truth which was different from the truth he had created.
So it was a big decision for him but he needed to know the truth before he moved on.
Due to her emotional overwhelm and her husbands’ natural frustration with her she had become so stuck over the years she had lost all emotional connection with herself and sadly didn’t know.
As I helped her reconnect with herself and supported her husband with how to support her the couple were able to reconnect.
By helping the husband to really understand what had happened to her he brought new compassion with a curiosity to learn what they were really capable of together.
For her, she now understood what had happened and how to either help herself in the future or call upon her husband to help her.
Essentially the couple were now fully aligned and this is a place both people can live.
His message to me was I can’t believe the change in her.
Her message to me is her husband is now her hero! She said, “I never wanted him to leave but I really didn’t like him, but looking back I didn’t like myself either.”
Virtually every couple I work with are totally disconnected to their real problem and so they go round in circles destroying their connection to each other.
To all the couples I see my first piece of advice is to stop trying to fix their problem before we have defined the root cause because you will do more harm than good.