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My wife and I are very different. She's from Russia, and when we met, I didn't realize how different we were. I believe it was because of the language barrier. She would talk about things she saw as right and wrong, and I would agree, and I thought she had a lot of wisdom hidden behind that language barrier. Unfortunately, 4 years later, she knows a lot more English (that's not necessarily the unfortunate part), and now her conversations seem very superficial.

My wife is 38 and I'm 30. She loves to talk about clothes and skin cream and how her creams keep her beautiful. She tells me almost every day that she has no clothes (she cries about it). She actually has a large selection of clothes. She has an entire walk-in closet to herself. She loves to talk about how people pay attention to her and complement her on how good she looks. At the same time, she cries about getting older.

She seems very materialistic. I've bought her gifts in the past, and, knowing we don't have a lot of money (we're not having money problems either though), she complained that they weren't nice enough. Once she was almost in tears, asking the air around her, why her wedding ring has such a small diamond. Actually it's a few small diamonds. It doesn't have large diamonds, but the style is very nice, and people complement her ring often.

She has no real interests. She's afraid of everything exciting. The only outdoor activities she enjoys are walking and suntanning. She's afraid to swim, she's not fit enough to hike (she's thin, just has no muscle), she hates going out on boats, she's afraid of roller coasters, she doesn't like to ride bikes, she doesn't like to jog; I really can't find anything she's interested in. She doesn't like any type of deep interesting conversation. She doesn't like t.v. really. She has very limited taste in movies. I try to get her interested in a lot of things, but she scoffs at them and gives me a condescending look more often than not because she thinks whatever it is is stupid.

She gets stressed so easily. She'll literally cry, or at least scream, over spilled milk. When she is home, she is either cooking, cleaning (even when the house isn't dirty), or doing her nails. I've seen her do her nails for 6 hours before. I think she's OCD. She'll freak out over the tiniest bit of dirt and start yelling and screaming at me and her son (my stepson). I was raised in a house where family did not yell at each other because we loved each other, so this really bothers me.

By now you're probably wondering why I married her. Well, like I said, she seemed a lot deeper when I met her. Also, she was living in S. Korea by herself, and her son was with his grandmother in Russia still. My wife was sending money back for him. So, she had a small place, easy to keep clean, and she had no responsibility other than work. She seemed to be a very happy person. As soon as we came to the states and started living together, I saw how easily she became unhappy. She is not a strong person, and she admits it.

She's very jealous of my time. She's upset when I have to work, she's upset when I have college homework, and she's upset if I spend any time at all messaging or calling a friend from back home. It's very difficult being in the Army and going to school at the same time, especially with a family, and I feel like I get no understanding or support from her.

I'm considering divorce. However, so often she can be very sweet and silly. I love that about her. And she does have some wisdom about things in life. But sometimes she becomes very needy and worries that I'll leave her. And this was a fact before I had ever given a thought to divorce. I feel sorry for her when she gets like this, but I also resent her weakness. I want her to be strong and realize that she's perfectly capable of dealing with troubles in life. Often she gets very stressed out and starts crying, saying that her life as always been crap and will always be crap. I want to impress upon you my love for life. I love every aspect of my life. I'm not afraid of the future, well maybe a little some times, but I have strong faith that I'll be able to handle anything that comes my way. My wife seems to have an attitude that comes from hating her life. She thinks that she's always had horrible problems, and every little bad thing that happens in our life, she says, "Oh ya, of course this would happen to me."

She spent $4,000 dollars of her own money, to pay her penalty for being in S. Korea illegally, and so she could go with me to America. She took her son from his friends, family, and school in Russia to bring him with us to the States. He loves me so, much and I love him. He calls me dad, and never even asks about his real dad who is still in Russia. He's 14 now, by the way. I feel like I snatched them both up out of their comfortable lives, and changed everything for them. I feel like if I get a divorce, that I'd be abandoning them. I know it would destroy both of them if I were to ask for a divorce. He would probably even think it was partly his fault.

The guilt I feel just from thinking of divorce is nearly unbearable. However, I can't go on with the yelling and screaming in my house. I can't deal with a wife that doesn't know how to cope with stress. She's told me, in these exact words, "I can't change, I don't want to change, and I will not change!" I just want her to be more easy going. Not get so crazy about the slightest little dirt, or the smallest mistakes made. Not be so jealous of the hard work and time I have to put into improving our lives. I want her to be just a little more adventurous and good interest or two. I want her to have a decent respect for education. She thinks that I, being 30 years old, am too old to be going to college.

I know this is a long post, and I hope you can suffer through it. I've tried to be as clear and thorough as possible. I hope some of you can offer some advice.
 

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Hi Greenie -- Sounds like your wife needs IC to learn to deal with stress and other issues. She may be depressed -- lack of interest in activities and irritability (screaming about a little dirt on the floor) are signs of depression. She does seem to be obsessed about her personal beauty -- maybe she feels that it's all she has to offer you? Don't know -- another issue to work on. If she would agree to IC, then that's what I think she should do.
 

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Greenie, welcome to the TAM forum. I agree with HiMaint that your W likely could benefit from IC. As to her issues, it would be helpful if you would provide more information. Do you see her often doing black-white thinking, wherein she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" -- and will recagegorize someone in ten seconds based on an idle remark or minor infraction? Does she often use all-or-nothing expressions like "you never" and "you always"?

Moreover, does your W always have a lot of suppressed anger that, in ten seconds, is easily triggered -- resulting in frequent temper tantrums and hissy fits? Finally, does she flip back and forth, in seconds, between adoring you and devaluing you?
 

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Thanks you two. My wife does do a lot black-white thinking, and uses the words "always" and "never." Also, she can flip from being in a good mood to being in a bad mood in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, nothing I personally do will put her back in a good mood once that happens.

I'd love for her to seek counseling, but she refuses to admit that she has any problems. She also refuses to discuss personal life when anyone. There have been times when her and I had an argument, so I called my Grandmother or Godfather for advice. When she found out she flipped on me saying that our problems are personal and not for anyone else to know about. She would never talk to another person, not even her own mother, sisters, or friends, let alone some stranger, whether or not they're a professional counselor.

If she refuses to seek counseling, then I don't see what else I can do.
 

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Thanks you two. My wife does do a lot black-white thinking, and uses the words "always" and "never." Also, she can flip from being in a good mood to being in a bad mood in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, nothing I personally do will put her back in a good mood once that happens.

I'd love for her to seek counseling, but she refuses to admit that she has any problems. She also refuses to discuss personal life when anyone. There have been times when her and I had an argument, so I called my Grandmother or Godfather for advice. When she found out she flipped on me saying that our problems are personal and not for anyone else to know about. She would never talk to another person, not even her own mother, sisters, or friends, let alone some stranger, whether or not they're a professional counselor.

If she refuses to seek counseling, then I don't see what else I can do.
What can you do? Stop enabling her behavior, as a start. Refuse to put up with it, even if it means breaking a few eggs. Until there's consequences to her actions, there's no reason for her to stop.

C
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My wife does do a lot black-white thinking, and uses the words "always" and "never." Also, she can flip from being in a good mood to being in a bad mood in a heartbeat.
Speedy, the behaviors you describe -- the black-white thinking, verbal abuse, irrational jealousy, anger management issue, lack of impulse control, low self esteem, and I-am-always-The-Victim mentality -- are some of the classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW has.

Significantly, only a professional can determine whether those traits are so severe as to satisfy all of the diagnostic criteria for having full blown BPD. Yet, for the purposes of deciding whether to remain married to her, you don't need to know whether her traits surpass the diagnostic threshold.

Even when those traits fall well short of that threshold (i.e., even when a person doesn't have full-blown BPD), they can be strong enough to make your life miserable and undermine your marriage. Moreover, strong BPD traits are easy to identify when occurring in a woman you've been living with for four years. There is nothing subtle or nuanced about behavior such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, jealousy, and constant blaming.
If she refuses to seek counseling, then I don't see what else I can do.
One thing you can do is see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with. I suggest that you do exactly that. Another thing you can do is read more about BPD traits to see if most of them seem to apply to your W's behavior. Although you cannot diagnose whether your W "has BPD," you nonetheless will find it easy to spot the red flags if you take a little time to read about them.

An easy place to start is my description of BPD traits in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. Another place to start is therapist Shari Schreiber's article at BORDERLINE WAIFS AND UNSUNG HEROES; Rescuing The Woman Who Doesn't Want To Be Saved.. If those two discussions ring a bell, I would be glad to discuss them with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, Speedy.
 

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I think you've received a lot of good advice here, so I will just address the part where you talk about feeling guilty if you asked for a divorce because she moved to be with you. Please don't let this be a part of your decision making. SHE made the choice to move. You did not force her.
I moved for my husband as well, not as far, but to another state, and also moved my 6 year old daughter at the time (who is 14 now as well.) It was hard, and it is still hard not having anyone here, but I would die if he stayed with me out of guilt of leaving me. Even if things don't work out with my husband and I, I do not regret moving here and hopefully your wife would feel the same.

I also have one more peice of advice that will hopefully help. As others said, she does sound depressed. If she won't see a counseler, maybe just a Dr. to start out with. You can make an appointment for her, and tell her that you want her to get a physical exam. Tell her you are getting one too, and also go with her. Hopefully the Dr. is good and will ask her her hobbies, about her physical activity, etc.. and things will come out.
Good luck to you.
 

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Your wife sounds depressed and lost. Take her to see a doctor.

Does she have any friends? She might need more social interaction. See if there is a Russian club in town and take her. This might help.

It sounds like she is not working. Does she have job skills? I would encourage her to enroll in some kind of school/training that will give her skills so that she can earn something, have interactions with adults and fell more connected to the society around her.

If she had interests, freinds and a job a lot of this odd behavior would go away.
 
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