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Trying to figure out where she's coming from

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My wife and I have been married for 7 years. It is the 2nd marriage for both of us. We have two children together and I have another that lives with us from my first marriage.


Our youngest is being tested for Autism and my wife is feeling a lot of stress and worry over this. Understandable. Our relationship is up and down and seems to depend on her moods.


On Sunday, she got upset with me when I went for a 2 hour bike ride. Kinda strange but I let it go. Since then, she's been on me about a lot of issues that she considers relevant, while I consider unrelated and her just stirring up trouble with me.


The latest is she's upset with me over something that happened during a cruise we went on last month. During that cruise, through no fault of my own, the restaurant sat my son and I down with a lady and her son. We chatted with them during breakfast, left, and saw them on the boat some, but that was it.


Let me at this point say that I DID NOT say or do anything to lead this lady on. But, she's convinced that I somehow did something inappropriate with this lady, although has no idea how i would have done this given her and I were together the entire cruise.


I'm not a player. I don't cheat. If anything, I am trying extra hard to hang on to the marriage because I don't want to put the kids through this.


She's mentioned divorce.


I feel she's totally stressed out over the medical situation and looking for some way to blame me for her anxiety.


She says she'll stay in the marriage if "i can change my ways".


I don't see where there's anything I can (or need to) change.

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What specifically does she want you to change? Have you asked her to pinpoint exactly what behavior of yours is unacceptable to her? She can't change you, and if you don't see anything that you should work on then you're headed for major conflict. It sounds like you both might be a bit stubborn here--she's quick to take out her frustrations and anxiety on you, but you seem to be more concerned with avoiding any blame instead of working to fix the issues. The "through no fault of my own" comment regarding the cruise situation is a little telling....I mean, what married guy doesn't think that his wife would be upset if he had breakfast with another woman? I'm sure that they didn't *force* you to sit with her.


Also, I am not calling into question your feelings for your children, but are you not feeling equal stress over the autism testing with your youngest child? It sounds like this is your wife's biggest stress right now, but maybe you're not showing her that you share her worry. For her, maybe her motherly world is crashing down at the thought of something being wrong with one of her kids and rather than seeing you as calm, cool and collective (which I assume you're being), she sees you taking a two hour bike ride like you don't have a care in the world. The issue with the other woman on the cruise is not the cause of your problems, but her reaction to it is an indicator to how much she trusts you--you need to find out what has happened in your marriage that your wife has lost her trust for you and get to work on it right away.


If she's mentioning divorce, you need to find out if she's lashing out or if she's serious. If she's lashing out, you BOTH need to work on better communication--she needs to express her feelings in a constructive, non-confrontational way, but it sounds like you need to do a better job of acknowledging those feelings instead of dismissing them. If she's serious about divorce, you need to sit down together and decide if things are salvageable and find out how she has gotten to the point of wanting divorce without you being aware of it. Counseling sounds like a good idea in either case if you want things to improve.

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