Arts & Entertainment
Dear Jody: Feeling Trapped
Originally printed 6/21/2012 (Issue 2025 - Between The Lines News)
Q: Almost two years ago I met "Jerry" and fell in love. I knew then - or at least thought - that I had met the man of my dreams and that life would be wonderful. I am still in love with him but life doesn't feel wonderful, like I thought it would. It's beginning to feel like a cage.
The problem is that Jerry wants me to himself, all to himself. That is exactly how he puts it every time I want to go out with friends or just do something without him. So, I really don't see much of my friends anymore. I know that this is pretty normal for new relationships but I'm feeling lonely and needing to see other friends, not just Jerry. In other relationships that I've had, my boyfriend and I would finally roll out from under the covers and start being social again, but this doesn't seem to be a possibility or the plan in Jerry's mind.
In fact, he has actually said that we don't need anyone else in our lives, and that we are "complete" in and of ourselves. However, that does not seem to prevent him from stopping off after work and having a few drinks with people he knows. I can't stop off after work because I don't "work" anymore. A year ago Jerry wanted me to quit my job and stay home and take care of things, because he has to work a lot and doesn't have time to take care of all the daily stuff. I'm his stay-at-home wife. At the time I thought that that was a good idea and have actually enjoyed it, but now I'm feeling so lonely.
I tried to tell Jerry all this but he keeps going back to saying that we don't need others and that his stopping off to have a drink with people is part of having to network, and networking is important to his job.
Last night I told him about a Fourth of July party that I'd like for us to go to - not just me but both of us. There will be a lot of my old friends there that I haven't seen for a long time. There will also be lots of people that he knows as well, so I thought he'd really like that idea and be for it. Besides it's the Fourth and I sure don't want to sit home on that day and do nothing!
Well, guess what? He said that he had plans for us on that day: To have a cozy dinner on the patio that he was going to prepare for me, and then we'd go to a movie, together. I came unglued with that. We had a fight, verbally not physically, but I really thought he was going to hit me. I went to bed and we didn't talk to each other at breakfast this morning.
I don't know what to do next or how to get it across to him that I'm not happy being so alone all the time.
In a Cage
Q: For starters, you tell him how you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what needs to happen for you to be happy in a relationship with him. His behavior is controlling, and even more to the point, it is emotionally abusive - that's the bad news. The good news is that you can do something about it. You can leave if he's not willing to change his attitude and behavior. Abusers isolate and control their partners, and that's what's happening to you. In these situations, things tend to get worse, not better.
I am concerned that his emotional abuse will turn into physical abuse as well - maybe not that far away, given you felt he was going to hit you this last time.
I strongly recommend that you both get into couple's counseling - and if he won't go, you go anyway. You need to learn what's going on in this relationship and how you can deal with it.
For more about abusive, controlling relationships go to Dear Jody Valley on Facebook.Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly. Reach Jody at DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.