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Discussion Starter #1
So, the past few weeks have found myself looking at this website and others like it more and more often.
My wife and I have recently returned from an overseas vacation – one which was intended for us relax, connect, and to meet her family.

My wife is not a U.S. citizen – she is a two-year conditional green card holder – one which was obtained as a result of our marriage. We have been together for a little more than a year now and married just over six months. We are a young couple.. late 20’s.. just a few months apart in age. This isn’t one of those “50+ year old man married to a 22 year old Filipina (or other foreigner)” kind of stories.

I know that everything moved extremely quickly with our marriage. We hit it off really well in the beginning. She was here on a tourist visa and had intended to return home after just a couple months. I met her almost immediately after she arrived in country and when the time came for her to leave – I asked her to stay. A couple months later – we were married. A month after that we had submitted her green card application.. and three months later, which was four months ago, she got her conditional card. A conditional green card is granted to newlywed couples and is only valid for the extent of the marriage.

I must say, I had the best of intentions marrying this girl. I’m a successful man in my late 20’s.. master’s degree, been working for the government since I graduated high school.. almost half way to my 20 year retirement. I have a high level security clearance, one which was challenged and investigated as a result of this marriage. She is from a not-so-friendly Asian country and naturally, there was some scrutiny on behalf of my employer. After a lengthy investigation into her background and the validity of our marriage, we were cleared – else, we would never have been married.

Anyway, fast forward to today.. just this morning, only two days after returning from vacation – we’re fighting again. I’m not going to sit here and claim that I am perfect and without fault. Honestly, I would say that half of our problems are my fault. When we met, I had been undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression, something which I have struggled with my entire life.

We seem to get into fights over the littlest of things. Myself, I like to fix problems on the spot. I am a very analytical person – it comes with the profession – and I like to think through problems logically and efficiently. I am never above apologizing when I am wrong, and even do so when I am not at fault – simply to end whatever argument we are having. In the few instances where she has been blatantly wrong no apology is given, or she just smiles at me thinking that I will instantly forget what was bothering me. What ends up happening is that what was bothering me is never addressed, it simply goes to the wayside like it never mattered before. In instances where I am wrong (for example, I snap at her while playing a game) she is cold to me for hours and even days and reflects all of my attempts to console her and apologize, which, I might add, only irritates and feeds my anxiety disorder.

Lately, we had been fighting over very little things. Something as simple as the fact I am preparing for a fitness test and don’t want to eat rice with my meal is enough to set her off. She eats it and she stays slim – so I should eat it too. Most of our problems have been extremely small ones like that, but they explode into big issues. In the previous example, she had me in tears within an hour as I tried to get her to talk with me, as I tried to logically explain why I am counting calories and don’t need empty carbs. I will try to grab her shoulders to get her to look at me – anything – but it never works. She refuses to ever make eye contact with me when we have a problem, and that hurts the worst.

Sometimes she’ll get mad over nothing. Recently we got what I considered to be a very nice and expensive gift from one of my family members. My wife, on the other hand, did not like said gift. After picking it up at the store, she refused to talk to me or to eat dinner with me, and we ended up in cold silence for several hours. Even when I pointed out (after letting her cool off) that she was wrong in that example, I get no apology whatsoever – she just tells me that she was miserable being mad.

I’ve come to the conclusion that she is a very passive aggressive person, and that’s what hurts the most. She will say and do things intentionally so that they irritate me, or so that I get no joy in what I am doing. If I start to play a game, she will immediately recommend that we take the dog for a walk – then become annoyed when I protest about going. If I want to eat fast food, or something she doesn’t like – she’ll either sit there with me and say nothing, eating nothing, refuse to leave the car, or tell me when I am eating it why it is bad for me and how “all Western food is garbage compared to Chinese food”. These actions, of course, make me lose my appetite and I get no joy out of what I am doing/eating.

When we were on vacation recently, things came to a head. While visiting a restaurant, I tipped the waitress. OOPS! Apparently you don’t do that in her country. She then went on for roughly four hours (after storming out of said restaurant and embarrassing both of us) about how I am irresponsible with money, how I don’t know how to spend it, throw it around, and how tipping at the restaurant is an example of that. Forget the fact that the tip was a mere $3 on an $80 meal – she wants to be angry. She then argues with me, then gives me the silent treatment, for the next four hours or so, swearing that she’s going to go to the mall by herself and charge up my credit card. Her logic? If I can just give money away to Chinese waitresses – why can’t she recklessly spend our money too? She then gives a beggar on the subway double the amount I tipped the waitress, and then demands that I give her more money so that she can tip each of the girls working the front desk at our hotel.

All of this from tipping a waitress $3. I don’t even know the culture there.. I had been in country for five days! In the U.S., if I try to correct her on ANYTHING (such as chewing with her mouth open, acceptable in her country but not here) I am told how Western culture and society is not as superior as her society and that she can eat her food as she pleases. Anyway, the above argument about the tip escalated into her telling me to go back to the U.S. alone and that she didn’t want to have my children – WHOA! – where did that come from?

The rest of the vacation was fairly calm after that.. until the last four days, which was seeped into today. Since the first argument in country, it never left the back of my mind – am I coming back to the States alone? Anyway, she starts stating that she is homesick. She then asks me if it would be possible for her to have an extended stay in the country and for me to return alone, with her returning at a later date. At this point, my patience was gone. I explained to her that I almost lost my job to be with her and that it would be very bad for me if she stayed in her country with me in the States – this is very true. She followed up with a statement along the lines of, “I’m free to come and go wherever I please. If I want to stay here, I will. Nobody can tell me where I can and cannot go!” At this point, I am insulted – thoroughly insulted.. and a little shocked. After all the crap she had been putting me through on this vacation, my heart finally hit rock bottom. I told her that if she decides she wants to stay in her country indefinitely, that I would have her few belongings boxed up and shipped to her brother’s home – with divorce papers attached.

Her follow up? “Okay, go ahead. But I’m coming back with you to get my graduation certificates – I don’t trust the mail and don’t want them to get lost.” REALLY? After what you just said to me, you’re going to say THAT? Anyway, it goes on and on. She then told me that it would probably be best that I find somebody else because she’s obviously not the right person for me, etc. etc. At this point I am exhausted from arguing and I don’t want to anymore. I tell her that if that it’s probably best that she just grab a taxi from the hotel to her mother’s and that we can settle the fine details after everything has settled down. She then says that it’s “late” (8pm) and that she will NOT be leaving the hotel. I stop talking to her at this point – her ability to stonewall any amount of reason finally putting me off.

I then get ready to go to bed – our flight is 9am the next morning – and she tries to put the blanket over me. I abruptly push it off, as I almost never sleep with a blanket. I then put one of the bajillion pillows on the bed between us – she then goes to put the blanket back over me. I push it off. Rinse and repeat. She then starts crying VERY loudly (intentional maybe?) stating that she can’t sleep in the same bed with a man who doesn’t love her – all of this after everything she said earlier. At this point it’s 11pm and we’re both exhausted.. in an effort to get SOME sleep that night, I console her. She then promises me that she’s going to work on the relationship and getting along with me, that she’ll work on getting her driver’s license and a job when we return to the States, etc.

Two days later, it’s back to the same old same old. This morning I wanted to take a huge (3lb) bag of candy to work to put a couple pieces on each of my co-worker’s desks. This would perhaps be 10% of the whole bag. She states that she wants me to leave the bag home, and then to individually make ziplock baggies for each person with just a couple pieces. I have to leave in 10 minutes. I tell her that her idea is not the best, that I am not giving most of the candy away, and that I’d be bringing the vast majority of it back, but that I didn’t want to individually wrap everything because I had to leave in seven minutes at that point and what if I forgot someone? It’s best to have the bag.
She doesn’t like the fact that I stood up to her and challenged her (i.e. the word “no”) abruptly turns away from me, saying, “Do whatever you want, I don’t care!” walking out of the kitchen.. and starting the whole process all over again.

I’ve already made an appointment with a counselor tomorrow (it’s free with my job). At this point I am convinced that I am not the sole 100% reason for all of our problems, as she states (by the way she told me she hated me at the hotel in China). But I’m tired of the whole.. “if she’s wrong or misunderstands.. I’m wrong. If I’m wrong, I’m DEFINITELY wrong.”
Please, someone – tell me I’m not crazy!

What do I do about this? What happens if we divorce? I don't want to be stuck supporting this girl for the next x amount of years if she continues to do this to me! Will it matter to a judge that when I met her she only had $2,000 and no job or career and was only visiting the country? I believe she will have to go home if we divorce, per the times of her green card.

Edit: Also, I might add - both of our parents have seen us argue. Two weeks after we married we visited my hometown - one of my friends mentioned a female friend (yes, just friend.. she has since moved away) I had two years earlier when I was home for a few months after finishing college. She then lambastes me about this, making a huge deal about "how can you have a female friend for a whole summer a not be dating? you're lying to me!" Even if we had dated.. how does that mean anything? It was two years earlier!

Her mother and father have instructed her that she is WRONG about how she acts and that she needs to learn to apologize to me and to also cook Western food.. if that means anything. I also must add - she ignores her parents wishes. It seems she only cares about the aspects of her culture which favor her.

Premium Member
2,913 Posts
Badger, several of the behaviors you describe sound like traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW has. Specifically, the verbal abuse, temper tantrums, vindictiveness, always being "The Victim," blame-shifting, and inability to trust (e.g., irrational jealousy of a woman you dated 3 years ago) -- are classic traits of BPD.

Of course, you will not be able to diagnose your W's issues. Only a professional (ideally, a psychologist) can do that -- i.e., determine whether her traits are so severe as to meet 100% of the diagnostic guidelines. Yet, if you take time to read about BPD traits, you will be able to spot the red flags (i.e., strong occurrences of the symptoms). There is nothing subtle about warning signs such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, and always being "The Victim."
I know that everything moved extremely quickly with our marriage. We hit it off really well in the beginning.
If she is a BPDer (i.e., has strong BPD traits), that great start is to be expected. BPDers typically fall in and out of love very quickly. Because their emotional development is frozen at the level of a four year old, they have a very fragile, unstable sense of who they are. Indeed, much of the time they really don't know who they are.

The result is that, during your courtship period, a BPDer will mirror all the best features of your personality -- to the point that she will tend to like everyone and everything you do. This mirroring process, which typically will last up to six months, will convince both of you that you have met your "soul mate." The mirroring ends, of course, when her infatuation evaporates -- which allows her two great fears to return. Those fears are abandonment and engulfment.
She then lambastes me about this, making a huge deal about "how can you have a female friend for a whole summer a not be dating? you're lying to me!"
As I said, if your W has strong BPD traits, one of her two greatest fears is abandonment. Because she is unstable and unable to trust herself, she is incapable of trust you -- always fearing you will leave her. Moreover, BPDers are filled with self loathing and shame and thus are incapable of believing (for any extended period) that you are capable of actually loving them. The result will be an endless series of $hit tests that are intended to test your love and devotion. When you pass a test, the BPDer will not be convinced of your love. Instead, she will simply raise the bar higher for the next $hit test which will soon follow.
If she’s wrong or misunderstands.. I’m wrong.... In the few instances where she has been blatantly wrong no apology is given.
If she is a BPDer, you will be perfect while she is "splitting you white" and always wrong when she is "splitting you black." A BPDer is convinced she is always "The Victim" and she will allow you to remain in the marriage only as long as you validate that false self image.

There are only two ways to do that validation. One way, as you saw during the courtship period, is to be "The Savior" -- with the implication being that she must be "The Victim" you are trying to hard to save. As soon as her infatuation evaporates, however, the only remaining way to validate her victim status is to become "The Perpetrator," i.e., the source of her every misfortune. You therefore will be blamed for everything -- except for those rare occasions when she is splitting you white again.
We seem to get into fights over the littlest of things.... Sometimes she’ll get mad over nothing.
That is exactly how it is with BPDers. They will create fights over absolutely nothing. The result is that both spouses usually will be unable to recall two days later what the terrible fights had been about. Because a BPDer has such a fragile self image, she will feel suffocated and engulfed during intimate moments. It is a frightening feeling of losing herself into your strong personality -- as though she is evaporating into thin air.

A BPDer therefore will create an argument -- out of thin air -- to push you away and give her breathing space. This is why the very WORST arguments typically will happen immediately following the very BEST of times, e.g., an intimate evening or a great weekend spent together. My exW, for example, usually would blow up about 2 or 3 days into our expensive vacations out of town.
Myself, I like to fix problems on the spot.
Unlike you, a BPDer generally has little or no interest in fixing problems or finding solutions or compromises. Instead, her primary interest is to create the drama needed to validate her false image of being "The Victim," always "The Victim." BPDers therefore strive to create drama, not to find solutions.
She refuses to ever make eye contact with me when we have a problem.... she is a very passive aggressive person, and that’s what hurts the most. She will say and do things intentionally so that they irritate me,
The vast majority of BPDers will "act out" when their anger is triggered. That is, they will verbally abuse you and throw temper tantrums. Occasionally, however, these BPDers will switch to "acting in," at which time they will punish you with passive-agressive snide remarks and icy withdrawal and sulking. Indeed, a small portion of BPDers do this "acting in" nearly all the time when their anger is triggered. Because they don't yell and scream, these BPDers are usually referred to as the "quiet BPDers." Even these quiet ones, however, will occasionally act out by being verbally abusive.
She then promises me that she’s going to work on the relationship .... Two days later, it’s back to the same old same old.
If she has strong BPD traits, you should expect to see her making dramatic improvements every two or three weeks. In the same way that many smokers are always "quitting" every two weeks, BPDers typically can be seen to always dramatically improve their behavior. This is part of the push-you-away and pull-you-back cycle that is so characteristic of BPDers.
She told me she hated me at the hotel in China.
If she is a BPDer, she likely meant it when she said it. BPDers are extremely uncomfortable when experiencing mixed feelings, ambiguities, and uncertainties. They therefore "split off" their conflicted feelings, putting certain feelings out of touch of their conscious mind.

This is why a BPDer is capable of flipping -- in just a few seconds -- from loving you to hating you. And this is why a BPDer shoe horns everyone into black and white boxes. That is, she will categorize everyone as "all black" or "all white" and -- in a few seconds -- she will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other, based solely on a minor comment or infraction.
She doesn’t like the fact that I stood up to her and challenged her (i.e. the word “no”) abruptly turns away from me, saying, “Do whatever you want [with the candy], I don’t care!”
That is the way all four year olds behave. They absolutely adore you while you're playing with them but, as soon as you take away the toy, they throw a temper tantrum or start sulking. Moreover, if your W is a BPDer, she not only has a stunted emotional development, she is filled with shame and self loathing -- making her super sensitive to criticism (real or imagined). Remember, in a BPDer's mind, being a little bit wrong is the same thing as being "all wrong" (i.e., "all bad") because the grey areas don't exist. That is, a BPDer applies the black-white thinking to herself as well as to others. Indeed, BPDers are much harder on themselves than on anyone else.
Her mother and father have instructed her that she is WRONG about how she acts and that she needs to learn to apologize to me....
This strongly suggests that, whatever problems your W has, they are NOT due to a cultural difference. Her own parents disapprove of her behavior.
I’ve already made an appointment with a counselor tomorrow.... Please, someone – tell me I’m not crazy!
If you've been living with a BPDer for a year, "crazy" is exactly how you should be feeling. Of the several dozen disorders listed in the APA's diagnostic manual, BPD is the one most notorious for making the abused spouses feel like they may be losing their minds. Indeed, therapists see far more of those spouses coming in -- to find out if they are going cracy -- than the therapists ever see of the BPDers themselves.
What do I do about this?
Badger, I cannot tell you whether your W has most BPD traits at a strong level. I've never even met the young lady. I therefore suggest you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with.

I also suggest that, while you're waiting for an appointment, you read more about BPD traits so you are able to spot any and all red flags that are occurring. An easy place to start reading is my post about BPD traits in Maybe's thread at And, for a good description of the passive-aggressive "quiet BPDers," I suggest you read Schreiber's article at BORDERLINE WAIFS AND UNSUNG HEROES; Rescuing The Woman Who Doesn't Want To Be Saved.. If either of those discussions rings some bells, I would be glad to discuss them with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, Badger.

44,529 Posts
You have been married about 2 years, right?

If you file for divorce, you might have to pay her support until the divorce is final. In most states you will not have to pay her any support after the divorce is complete because you have a short marriage.

In California you might have to pay her support for half the length of the marriage once the divorce is final. That's the rule for marriages under 10 years in length.

But she will most likely have to leave the country so you might not have to pay her anything.

See an attorney and find out your rights.

2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Wow, I really need to thank you guys for the replies!

So, it's 6:40 am and I am heading to work.. From the time I came home from work yesterday until I went to bed last night, my wife slept in the bed, not speaking to me. She was fully clothed.. jeans, shirt and sweatshirt.

When it was finally time for me to go to bed, I attempt to wake her up. She gets up, saying nothing, washes her face, changes, and goes to bed.. complete silence.

This morning, she has started into me again. Trying to talk with her turns into her raising her voice, almost screaming, with myself trying to speak softly worried about the neighbors in the other end of the townhouse. Her response, "I'm not yelling! And who cares, the windows are shut!"

She told me that -I- need to see a counselor, that I am bi-polar, and that she hates my mother because of it. So, once again - it's all me, not her. And the issues we had in China? Why, it was my fault! I should have known that tipping wasn't customary, and that I somehow lied to her mother via translator - with her in the room. She was fully capable of defending herself and insulting me, after all.. it's her language and I can't understand. Yet she sat that on that couch just a few days ago, arms folded - completely shut down.

This morning, she has left the bedroom while I'm getting ready for work. Right now she's sitting on the couch playing a game on the iPad and chatting with her friends back home. We just had another (short) argument in the kitchen, with me telling her that from this day forward, I refuse to accept all of the blame - only that which I am responsible for. She followed up with the fact that she could make me "lose face" with my coworkers and family, and that I should be thankful that she hasn't. I need to go to counseling. I have a myriad of problems. I am the source of every problem. When she stormed out of the restaurant in China, I had done something earlier in the day she didn't like but didn't tell me about so - again - it's my fault and she's ready to remind me of it.

This morning she told me that I wouldn't have any problems if I were alone, and that if I did, I could just beat the dog. Really? REALLY? And that she said that if I don't get counseling, perhaps I'll become so frustrated sometime in the future that I'll abuse her - at this point her eyes welled up, but she didn't cry, and continued in her harsh, sharp and loud tone.

I looked her square in the eyes and said this, "Yes, I need help. But I'm not taking the blame for you anymore. I offered you a way out in China and the door is still open. I'm not playing your game." and walked out of the kitchen.. took my shower, dressed.. and here I am!

I am not without my problems. My anxiety disorder causes me to bottle things up and then let them explode.. I've never hit her, but I've hit things, including myself. That's what I'm going to see a counselor for this morning. But I am convinced that I am not crazy.. I'm beginning to think a lot of her actions are intentional.

She's told me for the past year that everything I said about my condition was made up, that I don't need medication, etc. and that it was only an excuse. Now, conveniently, I have tons of problems and she's the victim, by and large, and she can't handle it.


2 Posts
Hello, Crazybadger! I had to join this forum to answer you.
I am a foreign wife, not Asian though. (sorry if my English is not very good).
I don't think that your wife has BPD or anything else. She is just homesick and in the process of getting used to US.
Does she drive a car, has a job, friends in US now? She might be disappointed by your lifestyle, habits ect..
She will never be like any American woman, ever. It took my husband years to accept that i will never be driving a car farther than a grocery store, that I hate dogs in the house, there are million of things that you will have to accept and live with (she needs to do the same though).
It's way harder on her to be in your country, you need to stop getting angry at little things that she does. She will be more emotional about everything, remember that (Americans are the only nation who don't show they emotions much).
INTERNATIONAL MARRIAGES ARE HARD. Usually one person ends up sucking it up (in our case it was me).
If you both don't love each other enough to deal with cultural misunderstandings then just end it.
She might not want to go back home, she can accuse you of abuse in order to stay (I've seen women play that card in order to stay in US and it always worked). If you 100% want to end this marriage, stay civil and calm, don't give her a reason to accuse you in abuse when divorce time comes around.

Premium Member
7,835 Posts
Marriage requires a great deal of work even when there aren't cultural differences. Decide if you can do this before there are children. And sooner rather than later.
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