Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

Dear Chandrama, My wife thinks I am keeping secrets . . .

Uploaded: Apr 29, 2014
. . . from her. I am just trying to protect her. I had a challenging upbringing; hers was protected. That innocence attracted me to her, plus she is smart and attractive and we're like-minded on many issues and values.

What am I doing wrong?

Dear What am I Doing Wrong?

You may be Doing the Right Thing, The Wrong Way.

For many reasons, both known to us and unconscious, we choose actions and behaviors with the best of intentions. But the impact on our beloved may turn out to be a relationship snafu.

Welcome to the human world of Doing the Right Thing, The Wrong Way.

Remember, that despite feminism and many years since the "caveman," men are still wired to possess, provide, and protect. Not politically correct to say, but true nonetheless. From a brain perspective there is a big gap between evolution and culture.

Many a woman will say she doesn't want to be protected. Some women do, and some women don't; but whatever her desire in this arena, she wants to be protected in the way SHE wants it.

Here's a possible example from what you've said. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. He had a difficult upbringing and yet is smart, rebellious, and secretive – and successful, partly due to all of those traits. )And good for him to have developed the necessary survival skills for his particular childhood.) She is innocent, having grown up protected. To her, his early life story is tragic but romantic. He wants to protect her innocence, and also bask in it. She doesn't even think she needs protecting; she's competent and strong.

Time goes along, things happen and he is secretive – protecting her. With good intentions.

She finds out his secrets; her innocence is shattered and her trust in him plummets. This is the impact on her of his good, protective intentions.

Now his basking in innocence is shattered, too.

His desire to protect her was The Right Thing, but his implementation was flawed, and the outcome became The Wrong Way.

Can this couple rebuild trust? Absolutely. Will they have to change their methods? Absolutely.
He can still desire to protect her, but he has to learn from her what that means and looks like – to her. Being secretive is out. Does she want to have innocence again? Likely. Does she want and deserve his protection? Absolutely.

So now they can work together on Doing the Right Thing, The Right Way; as a couple, consciously, explicitly, and intimately discussed.

So, What am I Doing Wrong, you need to ask her a lot of questions, listen, and respond with empathy (which doesn't mean you agree; it means you heard and you show your care for her).

Learn how to protect in ways that work for both of you. And no more secrets.

If there are amends to be made, do so. Show her this letter and your willingness to change.

Best of luck to you both.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Ray Rice and Domestic Violence
By Chandrama Anderson | 16 comments | 1,464 views

Company partners with Coupa Cafe to launch mobile payment app
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,456 views

For the Love of Pie
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,065 views

All Parking Permits Should Have a Fee
By Steve Levy | 8 comments | 805 views

Ten Steps to Get Started with Financial Aid
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 667 views