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Tori, Psychologist
Tori, Psychologist, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 48
Experience:  Work/Coaching Psychologist & Therapist
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I have been married to my wife since 2012. We were very

Customer Question

I have been married to my wife since 2012. We were very happy up until September 2017, when she went on a trip to visit family in Prague. While out there started to experience pain in her arms and legs. She self-diagnosed herself on the Internet as having Arachnoiditis, a rare degenerative condition of the spine which causes full body pain not treatable with painkillers, and eventually results in Paralysis. She has spent over £10,000 of her own savings on private medical consultations, MRI and CAT scans, all of which have shown no sign of any problems with her spine, but these have failed to re-assure her and she still believes she has the condition. She strongly believes she will end up in a wheelchair one day and has "given up" on her personal appearance, piling on over 20kg (3 stone) and stopping using makeup. She is in denial over her weight and goes out in her old size 12/14 clothes stretched over and barely covering her size 18 body - really embarrassing to look at. She repeatedly states that life is not worth living any more. She neglects her duties at home, instead spending 8+ hours a day on online "support groups" for people with arachnoiditis, where she is a top contributor.Whenever I encourage her to try and lose weight or at least buy clothes that fit her, she attacks me verbally and accuses me of being insensitive over her "illness".I have paid for counselling for her. Sometimes she refuses to go and on the occasions when she does go, she is not honest with the counselor and just repeatedly tells them that it is I that am the delusional one and she is fine (other than her spinal illness)I don't want to leave her if there's any other option, but I am not physically attracted to her and have built up a well of resentment over her stubbornness.Other than accepting the situation and setting aside my desire for a wife I am attracted to, is divorce the only option?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 months ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  Tori, Psychologist replied 3 months ago.

I would suggest that relationship counselling would be helpful for you both to discuss how this situation is affecting your relationship and your feelings for each other. Having a third person to help mentor the discussion is a helpful way of safely and honestly airing your position as well as helping both of you to understand each other's needs at the moment. Divorce is the last option, and is best only considered once all other options have been tried. As you mention, you feel you have already ruled out the relationship counselling as an option, however you might consider asking whether you could come along to one of her counselling sessions, to better understand what is going on for her at the moment. It is possible this has been triggered, consciously or unconsciously by her being back home and visiting family, and it is possible there are underlying events, traumas, or feelings that are unresolved for her, that she is coping with through this health condition. I would be very open to the possibility that for her there is likely more to this, and if that is the case, an open mind, suspension of judgement, and a lot of support is what is required until she works through this. It is good that she is going to counselling, and if this is of quality, she should gain the help she requires to work through the crisis she is in at the moment.

Alongside this, have you considered getting a similar type of support yourself. It is possible to attend relationship counselling alone, and this would help you to discuss your frustrations at the moment, and to perhaps find a different perspective on the situation and on what is going on for your wife. Love is unconditional, and reading over your initial question, I would consider whether you are perhaps putting superficial conditions on your love for her at the moment, and whether she is sensing or feeling this in a way that might actually be exacerbating the crisis she is going through at the moment. There is much research at the moment regarding the relationship between our physical health and our emotions, experiences, and memories, and how unresolved emotion or trauma can actually manifest as physical symptoms, if it is being repressed or ignored on the emotional level, so keeping an open mind about whatever is going on for your wife at the moment might prove beneficial in the long run.


Expert:  Tori, Psychologist replied 3 months ago.

I hope you are satisfied with my assistance. If so, please take the time to rate your satisfaction with my response at this time, or let me know if I can be of further assistance to help with this question.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I already stated that counselling had been tried and had failed - she either refuses to go, or does not take it seriously. As far as she is concerned, my suggestion of Counselling/CBT is a laughable misdiagnosis. What she believes she needs is a spinal surgeon who is willing to open her up and fix her spine. She has even suggested going to a third world country and paying for the procedure. She's in the delusion so deeply that she cannot see out of it. I am honestly concerned she has a serious mental illness. "In sickness and in health" was one of my vows, but I'm just not qualified to deal with this. What are my options?