Can I Fix an Anxious-Avoidant Relationship with My Wife?

by Martin

I'm 56 and have been married to my wife for 23 years. Recently our relationship reached a sudden low with my wife saying that I was miserly, fat, and someone she was ashamed of in front of her friends. I'm a PhD with a successful business career, now semi-retired, and her view took me aback. Initially I looked to myself and did find myself wanting, so I made some changes such as losing weight, not drinking, taking exercise, etc, but still things weren't right. I then turned to Catherine's publications and understood that I hadn't been truly myself for many years, having focused upon "getting on" meaning adopting the rule systems of my employers and the like. I have been working on this, but most recently, wondering why the relationship with my wife wasn't improving, I came across Attachment Theory that would classify me as Anxious and my wife as Avoidative. The received wisdom is that an Anxious-Avoidative relationship simply is not viable, but is that really true? I love my wife so much, and have been working so hard to set our relationship back on-track, it simply breaks my heart to think that it fundamentally can not work.

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Jun 20, 2013
by: Martin

My wife has now said that she wants a divorce. Her reason is that my process of self-discovery could be never ending and my need for reassurances from her about our relationship in the interim makes her feel that I'm controlling her, and she feels trapped. Probably what you'd expect from an avoidative attacher. I guess the real question is how our marriage survived 23 years in the first place? - my dogged tenacity I think.

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