Advice for marriage difficulties

Hi

Me and my wife having relationship issues in our marriage. At this point I feel I am going crazy and I don’t even know if I trust my own thoughts anymore. I don’t even know if what we have is salvageable at this point.

I am working on getting some relationship counseling from https://www.communitycenter.org.tw/ but don’t have an appointment yet.

I would like independent perspective on what I feel and whether the issues I see are legitimate or not.

I am a western male married to a Taiwanese woman with 3 kids.

  1. Often in arguments or disagreements she will threaten divorce to get power over me because she knows that it will upset me and I will give in. She also knows that my Chinese is bad and I would struggle to be a single father to 3 kids (while working with a long commute).

  2. She has never been happy with me or accept me for who I am. There is always something that I need to change about myself and it is never ending list. Currently she is unhappy because I am not “sweet” enough or I don’t treat her like she is my daughter / like I am her father. Most of the request are so vague it is impossible to know what they mean / satisfy them.

  3. I don’t feel love from her, there is no intimacy and sex is rare. I have tried to improve the intimacy between us but she tells me that for any efforts I make, I should expect nothing in return. I feel she only spends time with me when I ask her to, I feel she spends time with me only because she feels obligated to, not because she want’s to.

  4. She has decided to study at the open university and this means many evenings are study and homework. Because of this, I have to negotiate time to spend with her. There are some classes in weekends and she also goes to seminars during the weekend. I am left with the children in these cases and after class she will go out with her class mates and come back late. I struggle to look after 3 children by myself (especially when it is both days of the weekend) and there is no discussion about how her study affects me or the family and any disagreement around her study results in threat of divorce. She just tells me she will be away these dates and I need to look after kids. I have to accept it, there is no discussion.

  5. I will offer to work from home (privilege the company gives staff) in order to look after our youngest child when she has yoga classes / appointments. The understanding is the class is an hour in the morning (10am) and I need to work the rest of the day. Often she will call me afterwards and tell me she want’s to have lunch with a friend (I hate to say no but do hesitate, tell her not to be long, she takes that as a yes) and then comes back at 3pm. Once I said no to her and she went to lunch anyway. I feel this is disrespectful as I am not on leave and am supposed to be working.

In general I feel the love in the relationship is very one sided (me to her) and I don’t feel I receive much in return in our relationship. I feel the constant need to prove myself good enough for her while she is still not happy drains my energy and makes me depressed.

In general I still have hope and still want to work through the issues but I feel her feeling is to threaten divorce or tell me to find someone else if I am not happy with her.

Thanks.

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Seems you are doing the right thing looking for counseling.
It will give you better guidance than any of the opinions in an online forum, especially because she will be involved, too. Here, there’ll be only one side of the story.
Still, I couldn’t help noticing that you are assuming a lot of things from her side, which can be dangerous. Unless she clearly told you something, avoid assuming anything. :2cents:

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Most of the work that marriage/couples counselors do is just gracefully lead you both to the conclusion that it’s not going to work out and you should split amicably. And from what you’ve written here, she’s a horrid, selfish, and abusive spouse that probably wouldn’t even be cooperative in counseling.

I think this is over. Do yourself a favor and begin the process of extricating yourself from this situation while doing as little harm as possible to your children.

Although, I do wonder about her side of the story…

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This doesn’t look good. From the outside it looks like she’s not respecting you and then demanding things you can’t give. The demanding things that you can’t give is a compatibility issue that probably cant be resolved. This happened with my ex gf, she drove me crazy as well and breaking up with her in the end was the best decision I ever made. In fact I always look back and say I should have done it sooner !

I hang out with my wife all the time and we almost never have to negotiate stuff like this.

It’s demanding taking care of three kids maybe she thinks she has ‘done enough’ already and thinks she needs to do things to satisfy herself. But then you are taking care of the kids a lot already.

I’d say divorce is a definite option so long as you can deal with the assets and the parental rights.

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I’m so sorry to read your post.

It can be so hard to make things work when communication is poor.

I don’t have any advice other than to make sure your kids know you love them and that you’ll do whatever you can for them.

Take care,

Guy

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This is what I’m wondering. Your post seems to imply the kids only speak Chinese. Did she get shafted with the bulk of the childcare during their infancy, toddlerhood, etc.?

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Taking care of three kids is a lot of work. After two kid’s I got a vasectomy. :grin:

Her decision to study should have been delayed until the kids are bigger and spend most of the day at school/cram school. Couldn’t she study before getting kids?

What about the in laws? Many Taiwanese offload their children on their parents while they work/study.

My advice. Don’t work from home. This will result in situations you described where you are forced to look after the kids. This may result is problems with your employer. Imagine the shit show when you become unemployed, plus you will be more vulnerable.

When I have a heated argument with my wife and I wouldn’t bulge, she also does some crazy talk. One day later she calms down and everything is fine. Later we find a reasonable solution. When tempers are heated give it time. No need to throw fuel into the fire.

Your wife should be grateful for what you do. You have a job and still care for the kids.

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Hi

I know anything I post is biased in some way, that is why I want to attend a counselor to get an independent view.

I think you are right that she wants to satisfy herself but the way she is going about it is hurtful to me and our relationship.

In terms of day to day environment, we live in Taoyuan and I commute to work (international company) by train to Taipei. I spend about 2 and 1/2 hours commuting which results in 11 hours total. Usually I will organize some breakfast the two oldest children and walk them to school before catching the train, I get home about 7:45pm and help to get them to sleep when I get home. I will usually help out with cleaning the kitchen, dishes etc after that.

I do rely on her for taking care of our youngest (2 and 1/2 year old) and looking after the children from when they finish school at 4pm until I get home.

There is a limit to what I can do, I have said that we can put our youngest into a private kindergarten when she thinks he is ready so that she can study during the day but she isn’t keen on that.

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Yeah, I got a vasectomy the week after the third was born.

In terms of in-laws, she doesn’t come from a wealthy family, her parents are divorced, working and share a 1 bedroom apartment, so her parents are not able to help on childcare except some weekends.

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How long is this course for? Couples can go through patchy situations. If it’s a short time you could wait till she gets a job and see if it gets better as I assume that’s the motivation. However I somehow doubt it will get better. Could give it that time though.

She shouldn’t stay out late after her classes , maybe the odd time but not regularly.

Personally I think it would be good if you could get what you need outside the marriage but thats not a great idea in this country either.

I don’t think she should have gone back to school now because that’s super stressful. She should have waited till they were all in elementary school . But that’s her right too I suppose.

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Any normal person would and should appreciate what you do for the family.

I think your wife is a spoiled little baby brat and that you will never actually be able to meet her demands or make her happy. I struggle to understand why you got married to begin with, seeing as this has always been a problem.

Quietly get your assets in order and give her the divorce she threatens so often. I think you will be a lot happier for it.

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You sure she’s not banging some other guy during lunch ? That could explain the lack of sex

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That is my view, she should wait until our youngest is in kindergarten (around 3 - 4 years old).

She is studying in open university and is enrolling each semester for more classes, I don’t know how long it will go on for as she wants to prepare to do a masters degree at a university here (I don’t know the details about that). She is also going to ad-hoc seminars that interest her.

I don’t see a natural end to her study at this point as it is not a specific course, more a bunch of related papers that interest her.

I forgot to mention, she was voted in as a representative to the committee that manages our building and volunteered to be the manager of that.

The building management position is unpaid and takes significant amount of her time as well.

I believe all of this makes her stressed but it is what she wants, and it is hard to discuss.

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I doubt it but it is a remote possibility, usually I see some picture on facebook she posts with her friend.

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On a more personal level, it seems like has a real need to explore herself and her place in the world that hasn’t been fulfilled. Maybe she got married and became a mother too early. Maybe, like I said before, she’s just a brat. Either way, that’s her choice, her problem, and it shouldn’t be taken out on you or her children.

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It sounds like she’s doing everything in her power to avoid her family responsibilities. How does she treat the children?

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In general she is good with children, I am not such a children person (I could never teach English in a kindergarten). In general, she was the one who wanted children in our marriage. A long time ago she started studying to be a kindergarten teacher / nanny but didn’t complete it.

I think you need to find out more. Have you considered following your wife to confirm or hire a private detective to keep an eye on her ?

I would agree that she is trying to make herself very busy in order to avoid family and me.

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