Dear Chandrama, My wife thinks I am keeping secrets . . . | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Mountain View Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

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

Uploaded: Aug 20, 2022
. . . 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.
Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Aug 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

If she grew up in a loving home, and he grew up in a dysfunctional family - unless he's had a lot of therapy, chances are it won't work. One is going north and south, and the other is going east and west.

What's functional to those of us who grew up in a loving home is very foreign to those from dysfunctional families. We live what we learn And even with therapy sometimes the dysfunction is so deeply rooted the damage is done.


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Aug 23, 2022 at 5:23 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

I have a lot of hope for people. Do your work, see your life change. It's a powerful choice to make.


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Vietnamese restaurant that may offer special menu for canine customers coming to former Wahlburgers site in Palo Alto
By The Peninsula Foodist | 1 comment | 3,499 views

Our First Anniversary in my Husband’s Retirement
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,764 views

I Was At The Stanford Shooting. Let’s Do Better Next Time
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 2,523 views

The clothes we wear: Cool, chic, casual -- or just plain sloppy?
By Diana Diamond | 21 comments | 2,129 views