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My wife will not talk to me

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My wife and I have been married for 14 years. She is my high school sweetheart. We have 2 kids. The second one was born 7 months ago. She is a great wife and a great mother. 2 years ago I stated to work on my Masters on a weekend program that has brought me a great amount of stress. During this time we have had our 2 kids and at the same time we both work full time. Recently I took off from school to allow her to have some time with the baby after birth. We spent time together and everything was ok. We had our disagreements here and there. Once I came back from school she decided to go out with her friends for fun. She started buying dresses and was going out while leaving me home with the kids.

One night she returned around 6 am swearing that she was with her girlfriends. I got suspicious and installed a gps app on her phone. One night she ask me to stay with the kids while she went over to her friend’s. I activated the app and found her going the opposite way. I got someone to stay with the kids and went over to where she was. I found her parked in the street talking to another guy. He had his car parked behind her and there was another person in the car. I decided not to confront her there (my mistake) and went home and waited for her.

When she got home I asked her how was her friend, she replied fine and kept going about her. Then I asked her what she was doing with another guy in the car and told her that I followed her and found her. Her jaw dropped and couldn’t talk. I kept asking her about it and she would deny it.

Then I lost it and smacked her. I knew i did it it, but I don’t remember actually hitting her. After this we had a huge argument. She called the police and had me arrested. According to her the police tricked her into giving her information, because she didn’t want me to get arrested, but they did anyways. I turned my self in the next day.

Now I have been thinking and I realized that I should have never hit her. She has alway been good to me. I don’t know where I went wrong or what I did to have her look for another guy. Now Im living with my parents and she lives back in our apt. She has allowed me to see my kids anytime I want. I want to work things out and try to understand what happened, but now she does not want to talk at all. I have repeatedly attempted to talk and she does not want to. Can she fall out of love this quick? we were fine a few weeks ago. Everything was great and no worries. She avoids me and when I go see the kids she leaves.

How can I approach the situation and begin to at least talk to her. Her brother says she is not ready and that I should give her time. 3 weeks have passed by and she hasn’t said a word to me. I want to get back to my old life, but I don’t know how to go about it? How much time should I give her? I dont want to lose her. Please help.

Thank you for writing. As you already know, your marriage is in serious trouble. Things were not fine a few weeks ago. They haven’t been fine for some time. You’ve both been doing far too much and your relationship has suffered as a result. I know you’ve both been working to support the family. I understand that you went to school to try to position yourself for a better job. The two of you brought two children into the world out of love and optimism for a good family life. But there is only so much energy to go around. You’ve been trying to be a provider, a student, a husband and dad. She’s been essentially single-parenting while at the same time also being a provider and wife. Yikes! Where has there been time to nurture your relationship with your spouse?

I don’t know if your wife has ever tried to talk to you about how lonely and overloaded she has felt. I don’t know if you had serious conversations about the sacrifices the two of you were making and whether you could really handle it. Clearly you couldn’t. The pressure kept building until she looked for some fun and affirmation elsewhere and you lost it and hit her.

If you want your wife to talk to you, you’ll first have to acknowledge her loneliness and pain. You can’t make excuses for getting physical, no matter how hurt, frustrated, and angry you were. You could have left. You could have cried. You could have quetly told her how scared and hurt you were. Instead, you resorted to violence. That’s never, ever okay.

I suggest you do two things. First, write her a letter with a heartfelt apology. Tell her how much she means to you and how much you want to save your family. Offer to go to couples counseling to try to untangle all the hurt feelings and to rekindle the love. Second, make an appointment with that couples therapist and go. Go even if she won’t go with you. She may need to see you are serious about it before she is willing to be vulnerable to you. At the very least, you’ll get some guidance about how to handle your situation. With time, she may join you in the project.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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