How do I win my wife's heart?

peter_stahlDecember 19, 2007

My wife and I met in May in Moscow, got married in July in Las Vegas, got separated in Belgium in October, and now both in Moscow living separately. She's in her own place, me - at my brother's. I am 49, she's 39. I love her. She (says she) doesn't. She has a 21 yo daughter. She is well-off financially. She and her former boyfriend made money on RE operations. I am financially independent (rent some apts that I own), just enough for me to live a simple lifestyle.

Our mutual interest is Buddhism. She came to the States to see me because of that. Our romance had started in Moscow and continued in the states, leading to marriage. Life with my wife in the States was enjoyable. She was on "my territory" and she was wanted here. When we met in Belgium (she was taking a course there) things started to fail through quickly. In 2-3 weeks she asked me to leave, saying that she doesn't want the 'responsibility', that she doesn't love me, that I am a stranger to her. Instead of heading back to the states, I went to Moscow with hope to give it another chance here. When my wife got back to Moscow, she was an emotional mess. Communication ceased. She was seeing psychologist and undergoing some therapy. She said that our marriage had uncovered many emotional problems that she was blocking before.

Ten of so days ago my wife and I decided to make some efforts to reconcile (I called her). We met at her house for a half-hour conversation, but I ended-up staying there for three days. In a couple of days she offered me to go with her on a business trip. We went and had a reasonably good time. However, the tension is there. She planned a dinner with some friends of hers in a few days. Then she cancelled. I was upset. I went to see her at her apartment without invitation. Probably was a bad idea (certainly bad manners). She was mad that I invaded her privacy. Now we are talking on the phone (no personal contact). She is afraid that if we are getting close, it is going to be embarrassing to keep living separately. She is not prepared to share her space with me. She says that I am trying to make a good impression on her and it feels like fake to her. I admit that I donÂt feel quite my usual self. Mostly, I have no confidence nor see the need to retaliate on her sometimes abrasive words.

IÂd like to be able to persuade her to come back to the States and live with me for some time. I hope that change may do us good. What else should I try? How can I win her heart over?

I am omitting many details here. If more info needed  will provide. Please advise.

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From what you have written, it just does not sound like she is able to be in "any" relationship at this time. She does not sound as though she is able to be fully invested emotionally in a relationship, with someone actually living with her and sharing all aspects of her life. She mentioned that the marriage had uncovered many emotional problems that she was blocking, and she was undergoing treatment with a psychologist, because she was an emotional mess. This will take time. It does not seem like something that will be easily or quickly fixed. But from what you have written, it does not sound like she is able to be the wife you need her to be, or are hoping she can be. Something is wrong, it appears, that she did not address at the time, and it is forcing her to address it now. It sounds as though she is working to understand what she is experiencing and why. And that takes time.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Thank you, bnicebkind. I am trying to understand what, if anything, I can do to help her. She says 'My goal is my own wellbeing only. For many years it was a man's (her former boyfriend), but now it's different. Don't ask me for an advice. Whatever you do - do it for your own sake.' Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:11AM
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You met in May and married in July? Plus, now you are living apart. How could you even have invested enough time to know her enough to be in love with her?

I'd give her some space and time. Either she will find herself and want to be with you, or find herself and leave you. Who knows? In time you may even realize your feelings for her were something other than love. Good luck. I wish there was an easy answer.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:10AM
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Thank you Carla35. I appreciate your comments. It is difficult to do nothing, but it very well may be the only right thing to do under the circustances. I recognize that even my mere presence in the same city causes pressure. The Holiday Season doesn't help either. Should I even continue calling her? I am happy to hear her voice, but I don't want to make things worse. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:24AM
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I would see no harm in calling your wife especially on the Holidays. Just don't over do it. Does she care if you call her?

And, let her know you are ok with living separately if that's what she wants and needs at this time. It sounds like she is afraid you may pressure her into living together so she is pulling away. If you let her know it is ok to live apart for a while (and that it doesn't matter what others think), she may feel more comfortable spending time/talking with you. If she feels as if it's an all or nothing deal..she may choose nothing. Give her some other options.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:37AM
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Thank you Carla35. I think she expects me to call. May be its my wishful thinking. But when I call her tonight I will use your advice and will tell her that I am okay living apart and I don't care what others think. I usually call her late at night so she wouldn't worry that I will try to set up a date. Is it wise?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:14PM
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I think you may have picked a lemon in the Garden of Love.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Peter, it sounds like you need to have a really honest conversation with her. And it will help you determine whether you should stay in the same city, or whether you need to let go and move on with your life.

Ask her to be very real and very honest and clear about what she wants. Does she want you to stay in the same city, and take it slow, with the goal being to build this relationship into an actual marriage? Or was she truly unprepared to be in a relationship of any kind, let alone a marriage, and is she just afraid to tell you that? Does she want to annul the marriage, but does not want to hurt you?

I would imagine that it will drive you crazy until she is very clear about what she wants, and where you both stand. Tell her that you are unable to read her mind, and that she must be very clear about what she wants from you, and how you fit into her life. Is she able to share with you (her husband) what she is working through with her therapist, or what happened that she is trying to work through?

Otherwise, you are guessing about whether to call her, and when, and hoping to be able to see her every now and then. You will find yourself walking on eggshells, unsure of what to say, for fear that she will pull away again. What a difficult situation you are in. As hard as it is, it would seem that it would be easier to know the truth of whether the two of you have a chance, or you could spend a lot of time making yourself crazy hoping she will see you or at least talk to you.

If she really is unable to be in a relationship, let alone a marriage, it would be better to know the truth, so that you do not prolong the heartache and hope for something she is unable to give. Instead of wasting months or years yearning for something she simply can't give, and driving yourself crazy hoping she will change her mind. If you leave, you can then decide if you want to leave several phone numbers with her, so that if she wants to contact you she can, even if you move, or you can decide to not do this, so that you are able to truly move forward in your life without holding back from other relationships, hoping you will hear from her. Only you can decide.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:46PM
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Are you a United States citizen by any chance and would your wife be able to get citizenship being married to you? Because if thats true, that would explain a lot.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 7:49PM
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It sounds like you did not know each other at all. Met in May married in July? Weird.

If you pursue her to stay in the states, she will eventually divorce you (after obtaining green card) and you will feel that she used you (which is very common).

If I would be you, I would just forget about it and go home and file for divorce.

Frankly if she prefers to be in Moscow and not with you in the states, she really does not care about you. You would have to pay me a lot of money to live in Moscow, I don't know how and why you do it(I have been there many times)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:14PM
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finedreams & marge727: my wife doesn't want to live in the States. She does not want to apply for citizenship / green card.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 3:08AM
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Carla35: last night I told my wife that I am okay livig separately and that I don't care what others say. She said she doesn't think about nor is bothered by these things at all. She said it is my own problem and that all she cares about is her (not even her daughter). I apologized for stating the obvious and conversation ended. I realize that it bothers her nonetheless. Few days ago she was asking me why, instead of staying at my brother's, I wouldn't get my own place? She said it would show that I am serious about building a family. She knows I have a ticket to go back at the end of January.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 6:00AM
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bnicebkind - thank you for your accurate and kind depiction of how it feels: "walking on eggshells, unsure of what to say, for fear that she will pull away again".

I have no one to blame. I don't consider myself a victim. It is how it is. There is something important here for me to learn.

My wife hopes to work out her emotional problems - may be soon, may be in a few years. She says: "I appreciate your patience, but if it seems like too much for you - do as you like. I can't promise anything. I live one day at-a-time".

Naturally, she is trying not to burn bridges and to keep all her options opened. She had suffered earlier in her life being in a long relationship with a married man (an oligarch). Perhaps, as a single mom, she felt she had to stay in this relationship longer than she otherwise would. She mistrusts men.

In a way, now situation is a mirror image to what sheÂs got accustomed to. There is still suffering, she still, as before, is both alone and in a relationship, and, as before, is unable to make a decision about the relationship. Except now she feels more in control.

She says that I invoke an uncontrollable reaction in her (the root of which she is hoping to uncover with the therapist). Hypnosis produced evidence that she perhaps was abused by her father. Her latent father and I have lots of similarities (I never saw his picture). As an oldest child she felt she wasnÂt loved enough by her parents. Trying to win their love she became an overachiever. Her relationship with her mother is strained.

It seems, an aggressive opposition of her self to what she perceives a hostile world outside is a major part of her defense mechanism. The root, perhaps, is in her own opinion of herself: "I thought that I couldnÂt be useful to anyone anymore in this life. My daughter is a grown-up now and no longer needs me, and I havenÂt learned to do good to anyone else. I donÂt know how to love; I bring suffering to others and suffer myself. But suicide is not an option either  for the price for that is worse than that for the useless existence". So, perhaps, she is afraid that the Âtruth about her will get uncovered by those who get close to her. She doesnÂt want them to neither know nor suffer. She is proud.

But I love her because I see the inner beauty in her. She is a neglected woman-child for me.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:45AM
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There is a book out that talks about men who try and save the damsel in distress. They end up with a distressed damsel. Be careful. The book is actually titled: The ten stupid things men do for love, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. (I have probably spelled her name wrong). I do not like the title, and I have never read it, only heard about it over the radio. Since you desire to pursue her, you may wish to take a look at this book, so that you make decisions with your eyes wide open, and clear about why you want to pursue such a woman, who may never be who you hoped she really is. It is almost impossible to change someone else. They must desire to change, and for some, the effort is too great.

Due to your beliefs, and your thought that you may be in this relationship because there is something you need to learn from her, or through the relationship itself, it would seem wise to talk to those who share your beliefs and see if they believe this too, since you are seeking answers and guidance, to a situation that is very unusual.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 9:14AM
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Thank you again, bnicebkind

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 10:31AM
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