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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6103
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My wife left me around 3 months ago(after 30 years together),

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My wife left me around 3 months ago(after 30 years together), not for anyone else, but because I've been controlling, emotionally and verbally abusive to her.
My personality changed after my first heart attack 10 years ago, since which I have felt less of a person and less of a man. I have attended several counselling sessions to help me more recently, but then the money ran out. I have tried to get her back but we end up very upset when we meet and its very painful. She says she is not coming back.
She has been amid her menopause and had a partial hysterectomy a year ago. Also her very elderly mother is coming to her end, so there is a lot of stress, not helped by my poor attitude (spoilt child?) I,m told to let her be, and hope that in due course she may want to return. She,s my soulmate and it hurts. I don't get the opportunity to show her what a better person i,m becoming, my life is on hold until....
Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.
Although your post seemed to cut off before you could ask your question, it sounds like you want to try to reconcile with your wife.
Your wife may say she is not coming back right now but that could be because she is hurt. She does not want to continue in the same pattern and that is most likely why she has left. She does not believe you will change. Add to that the fact that she is going through a lot of stress right now with her own health and her mother, and she may want to avoid any additional stress right now.
You can give her time to deal with her own stress. Giving someone time and space often helps the person heal, at least a little. But you don't want to just wait. While you give her time, you can work on understanding your own issues, changing your behavior and ultimately showing her that you are ready to reconcile.
It is almost always the case that when a couple marries, they bring their past issues with them into that marriage. People do not naturally want to hurt their spouse but instead learn the behavior during childhood either by example or from being hurt themselves and may not even realize they are transferring those issues to their marriage/spouse. And from what you have said, it sounds like you have learned that you have issues with controlling behavior, and that results in abusive behavior towards your wife. Going to therapy to address these issues is an excellent step to help you learn how to recognize where your behavior comes from and how to change it. But if you can no longer afford therapy, there are ways to address your behavior so you can change.
What you can do to address the issues is to begin by learning more about controlling behavior and abusive behavior. Here are some resources to help you:
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel
Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
By understanding the effects of the abuse/controlling behavior, you can begin to see things from your wife's perspective. And you can also understand the possible roots of why you act out as you do.
Another step is to build support. Therapy helps because there is someone who can support your efforts to recover and someone you can talk with about what you are going through. But if therapy is not an option, you can try to gain support through self help groups, on line or in person, other sources of therapy such as on line therapy or groups and seeking out groups like this one:
Also, ask for accountability from supportive friends and family. You want someone to watch out for you since seeing your own behavior before others do is hard. Someone who can say, hey, did you really want to say that/do that? can be extremely helpful in giving you the chance to stop your behavior.
When you feel ready to show your wife you have changed, start by contacting her and seeing her one time. Go very slowly. Show her how much you care through putting her feelings first. Identify ways that you can put her first in your life and show her that you have changed. Because trust is often gone after abuse in a marriage, you will have to slowly prove to her that you have changed and that you can be trusted. It may take her a while, especially since she is under a lot of stress right now, but with small steps you can repair your marriage.
I hope this has helped you,
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Should I not contact her. I'm afraid she will forget me and carry on with her own life. Its been 3 months now, I do understand so much more about me and my behaviour, and how she has been suffering. She is going to her sisters again soon about 100 miles away. It will be her birthday while she's there, should I send flowers or just leave her be. I,m lost without her but I want us to have the best chance of reconciliation.

Being a past control freak still leaves me with the thought that if I do nothing she might think I don't care anymore. I don't sleep much and my life is on hold

You may want to stay away most of the time, just to respect her wishes. But it would not hurt to send her a birthday card and maybe a small, meaningful gift without any strings attached. In other words, don't ask her about it or mention it. Just send it to her. You can also make contact with her, maybe once a week or so (you have to judge what works for both of you). Keep it simple but let her know you are working on this and that you care about her.
It is very unlikely she will forget you, no matter how long you are apart. She may still be very much in love with you, but the issues between you prevent her from being with you. She has to protect herself until she knows you won't hurt her again. So focusing on your own recovery will help her begin to trust you again.
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
I hope my answers have been helpful to you. If you need further clarification let me know.