More threads by Sula


Good morning all

I am new to this forum. I am a 35YO female. I've struggled with anxiety in the past and have been in therapy in order to manage my responses to stress holistically for about four years now.

My husband and I will be married three years this summer. It is a first marriage for both of us. He is 41.

We came to the marriage from very different family backgrounds and there were numerous "red flags" that were raised for me even while we were dating. I was committed to him, though, in love and seeking the companionship of a marriage.

My problem is that I have noticed a pattern in the marriage. I discover something unsavory that my husband has been doing in the marriage entirely by accident, confront him about it, we have an argument, but I fear this pattern of "he will do whatever he can get away with" will not be broken.

The "unsavory" incidents have been everything from looking at porn while I was at work, to not depositing his entire paycheck (something we had agreed to do, to our joint checking account). The second to last disclosure involved me finding out that he had been pocketing 200 dollars from his pay each week, only depositing half. I brought this up and he agreed to no longer do this. This was in March. I just discovered that he did it again
this week.

I told him that I knew last night, and he in turn accused me of monitoring him. I guess I am, because I believe trust must be earned.

I feel as though all of my "rational" attempts to work with my husband to make this relationship safe are failing. We've tried three different therapists to no avail. I fear that I've created a kind of codependency, because I enable him to keep on being deceitful by not kicking him out.

I'm afraid the only step left is to do just that--divorce him--and of course I'm anxious about this. And I'm kicking myself both because my rational side thinks that I would have kicked him out long ago were I not afraid of being alone....and my scared side doesn't want to lose him.

Sorry to have ranted. I'm not sure there's anything clear in this post, but I'd appreciate your feedback.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Sula, I would suggest that you return to therapy on your own, with a view to discovering what it is that you are seeing as red flags, why you ignored them previously, and why they are apparently so prominently on your horizon now.

We humans are complicated creatures and we are very good at hiding things from ourselves that we aren't ready to see for one reason or another. One consequence of this trait is that we often ignore things at the beginning of a relationship that don't fit the image of the other person or of the relation ship we are trying to create... then a few months or years down the road, we find we're not in the relationship we thought we had found -- What changed? Maybe nothing, except our own perceptions.

I think it might be helpful for you to explore or more clearly identify what it is that brought you into this relationship in the first place and what it is that's creating tension, conflict, and distrust now.

I hate the term "codependency", personally, but there's no doubt that there is a trust issue here. The question is what['s creating that issue? Don't necessarily assume it's you but of course it may not be entirely or necessarily him either...


Thanks Dr. Baxter, for your quick reply. I appreciate your thoughts and guidance.

I never left individual therapy even though couples counseling for us seems to fail. I am exploring why I have historically found it hard to set boundaries. I take full responsibility for the weaknesses that I brought to our marriage partnership--not setting clear boundaries from the beginning is one. But another weakness of mine, I fear, is not enforcing my boundaries when I set them--and then they're not boundaries at all. I realize that I can't change my partner; I can only change me. And sadly I'm wondering if the followthrough on one boundary that I have--that I will not be lied to--might be you've lied to me again, therefore I cannot live with you.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
That may well be the case, Sula. But if so, that's not necessarily a negative in the long-term, however, distressing it may be in the short term.

As I have said many times, I think it is a mistake to settle for less: As long as you are in a less-than-satisfactory relationship, you cannot find a more statisfactory one.

Leonard Cohen, Bird on a Wire

I saw an old man leaning on a wooden crutch
He called out to me, "Hey! Don't ask for so much!"
I saw a young woman leaning in a darkened door
She cried out to me, "Hey... why not ask for more?"

The other point, of course, is that by asking for more you don't necessarily lose the relationship you have -- you may be able to make it better. One thing you can be fairly certain about: If you're willing to settle for less, that's likely what you will get.


Welcome Sula. When I read your post I got some insight into my own situation.
Dr. Baxter, I think the statement about settling for less is extremely important in regards to relationships and having a genuine sense of happiness in an intimate relationship.
Thanks to both of you
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