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Relationship Problems

by hrcounts

Your opinion? My partner is contradictory and critical, but at the same time gets very upset if any of her ideas or decisions are questioned in any way. Examples: She will ridicule any book I am reading unless it is one recommended by her. If it is not a subject that interests her, especially technical books, she will describe the book as childish rubbish. The same with any TV program or film. She is an aspirational vegetarian. If I have meat and she has vegetarian she has spent the evening — while I am eating — asking how I could eat dead rotting flesh, how do I feel having caused the death of  a living being just for my gratification etc. The following week she will buy, cook and eat chicken and say how tasty it is. Sex. This has now ceased. Very often she has not only rejected me, but says that I am disgusting for wanting sex, “Don’t come near me. Don’t you dare touch me”etc — almost hysterical. A couple of days later she will start crying and ask why don’t I make love to her any more, don’t I care for her? She will deny that she ever said that she did not want me near her. I thought that being nice to her would gain her trust and we would get closer. But it seems to have the opposite reaction. The nicer I am, the more awkward, contradictory and demanding she becomes. She seems to need to push me until we have a disagreement. My partner’s mother was English and her father Portuguese and she was brought up in Portugal. Her parents broke up when she was 10 and she ended up with her mother who did not spend much time with her as she had to work hard. With her job her mother was given a scholarship for her daughter to go to the local international school. My partner spent years there but never got on as her first language was not English. She felt very left out, not coming from a rich family. My partner has two older brothers and mentions her poor relationship with them when she was a child. They continually told her she was stupid and ugly. If she wore a new dress they would tease her mercilessly. I think this has had a big impact. (age 65, from United Kingdom)

To be quite honest, I am not sure why you are still in this relationship.  You do not describe any positive aspects, only negative. It’s as if she is on a mission to make you feel crazy. It makes me wonder if she might have a personality disorder.

I realize that you may have left the positive aspects out of your question, focusing in on the problems, but even if she has some wonderful qualities is it enough to make the relationship worthwhile for you? I don’t know her full history but there are many people who have been teased by their brothers and who have had some adversity in their childhoods who still grow up knowing how to show respect to others.

If you choose to continue in the relationship I think it would be necessary to get some couples therapy and she might also benefit from individual therapy. However, given what you have described, I feel that you are justified in just breaking it off and finding someone who treats you with kindness and respect.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

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