I need an objective view on this #EpicRant. I am at a tipping point and I am sure if I act my marriage will never be the same again – which will be fine by me. I am 38 and an Architect. Naturally I am melancholic and it is a family trait. Growing up, our personal space mattered to us a lot.

I married a happy-go-lucky woman I felt would complement me and add some color to my life. Even if it would not be for me, the children will need someone with whom they can let down their heads from time to time. I fear my regimented and perfectionist lifestyle may be too much for them, after all it is the 21st Century.

It was all going well until my wife suddenly got stung by this social media craze. I am on most of the platforms and I am fairly ok there. I post stuff that are not too private and intimate.

But my wife is the exact opposite. She literally lives on social media. From her latest nail polish, to intimate stuff like her pregnancy and newbies, everything is online. I feel naked, frustrated and abused. She hadn’t blocked me, thankfully. I wouldn’t also want to block her because I want to be there to control some of her excesses. We have drawn swords a couple of times over this. Interestingly, her mum is ok with it while her father is indifferent. Clearly I am on my own. Everyone around me finds it weird that this is my life. Resolutions upon resolutions, she keeps going back. Two days ago, I had it to my neck.

My kid sister, who is a lover of arts, messaged me to ask that I get her a similar art work in our bedroom overlooking our bed. That was surprising because since we hanged that painting, she hasn’t visited us. Upon query, she sent me an IG screenshot of my wife on our bed in her nightie with the wall art showing behind her. I Messaged my wife to ask why she did that, and we had a back and forth through WhatsApp.

Two hours later my little Sister messaged me that she can’t find my wife on Facebook and that she hopes I did not blow things out of proportion, since it feels like my wife deactivated her account.

I went online to check, I did not find my wife on the regular platforms. I asked my two other siblings to look for her as well, but she couldn’t be found. I felt bad that she was offline because of me. Then I received a screenshot from a male cousin who was also blocked, and my wife was fully online shading all of us. He had made his PA check. PG, I don’t intend to be controlling; far from it. She can do what she wants with her life online.

But I am a part of her life, I have a say in the exposure my children are getting. My very private and intimate space is now a public spectacle. While she is enjoying her privacy rights, she is systematically abusing each one of mine. It is a beautiful family, but if my wife can block me for this, then I guess I can’t hold her down again. Divorce is now being contemplated so she can be herself, while I also be myself. I am happy for her, but I don’t see myself in that space with her.

Jay

Dear Jay,

I feel your pain, and as a coach I know the needs of a melancholic, and I honestly, without intending to sound prejudiced, feel sorry for you. An architect needs all the privacy and peace of mind to get his creative juices running and this will double mess it up for you. So on all levels I understand the hustle. I also understand the hustle because, if you are not an aberration, but your entire family is Melancholic, then that is how you have been brought up. This shaking of the table by your wife, is far reaching than she may probably understand. I can imagine you, your parents and siblings being a close knit family minding your own business, then suddenly someone in your midst starts shaking things so hard and noisily everyone is looking at you. I feel your nakedness.

That said, I would give your wife the benefit of the doubt, and request to meet her (if that is possible) to let her understand, from a professional perspective, the implication of what is going on; on you, on family cohesion, on the children, and on the security and the emotional wellbeing of everyone concerned. It is important she sees it through her own eyes, in an intuitive manner, how this is affecting you all.

I guess in your bid to handle it you may have gone over board, sounded harsh and blunt, (typical of melancholics) quoted dates and made references to resolutions she made and failed. What you term as back and forth, might have made her cry. That is typically melancholic. The detailed nature of your letter is most likely the watered down version of how harsh you may have communicated your displeasure to her, potentially making references to how your parents and siblings find her weird with her wanton social media engagement. That explains the far reaching blocking spree. You might have said things you have bottled in for far too long without realizing it, triggering a final quake that let loose her avalanche.

You mentioned Divorce is contemplated. I hope you did not tell her that. If you did, it could push her to act out of panic rather than a dare. You might have scared her more than you thought, with your blunt display of honesty and displeasure.

We will have to sit down and go back to the source of this conflict. It is important she is part of the process if it is to work. You said she got stung by social media, meaning in the beginning it was not so. Could your melancholy and the need for space to be creative, led to a subtle or overt neglect, which might have precipitated her filling of that vacuum with social media? What changed if it was not so in the beginning? These and many more are the questions we need answers for.

But let me make a few observations for the purposes of our reading public. Social media is fun and engaging, but can be intrusive and abusive. As a married person, WHO RESPECTS THE BOUNDARIES AROUND YOUR MARRIAGE, your spouse’s absolute Buy-In is required before you expose your marriage and home online.

While posting pictures about yourself is fairly within your right, remember there is a thin line between posting a picture as a person, and as a wife or husband. Your marital status means someone else has a vested interest in how you ultimately conduct yourself. If anyone would be duly embarrassed to find out their spouse got drunk and brawled in public, it would be fair for them to be embarrassed if that same spouse shared suggestive and compromising content online. So here there is a thin line between your right and their right. You have a measure of duty of care to them.

There is a measure of liability your family also assumes by virtue of your actions online. Someone can pass a comment about your children unfairly because of how you conduct yourself online. No wonder, He is Osimesy’s son. It is possible he may have been judged differently if no one knew his parents. A harm coming to a child could potentially be traced to posts of parents, the same way people can blame a parent for a harm done to a child even if it is not connected to any specific online behaviour.

A friend once told me she hates a particular lady for the singular reason that while she makes her family look perfect online, her husband is sinking low with bitterness. In this scenario, the poor man and his bitterness would now be known in many circles, because someone is just bent on setting the false record straight that the lady hasn’t got a perfect marriage. If his wife was not all over the place, this person would not have been incensed. Is she right to hate someone? Absolutely not, but the reality is that she is now spreading information about a man simply to discredit his wife. She does not talk much about the woman; she simply mentions how sad the man is. While she is ensuring that people know the lady to be fake, the husband become a collateral damage. So online is not just about you. The reverse is also true.

Children complicate the equation the same way your place of shelter does. These are shared experiences and while one person may want to have them exhibited in a particular manner, another person may want something different. A fair compromise wins. If you cannot find a compromised position, it can turn really nasty.

While I love the fact that you serve as a check on her, so as to contain some of her excesses, one may ask you to define what you mean when you say excess? Here definitions matter a lot. In fact this is the crux of the matter. You are a melancholic, you read meanings even into an eye blink. She is a sanguine, if she poops on her self in public, while trying to fart, she can make a joke out of it and forget it by the next day. You can commit suicide over it. So here we have a problem. The two of you are looking at the issue from different angles, influenced by your emotional disposition and socialization. Objectively, is what your spouse sharing wrong in the eyes of ordinary thinking humans?

If the whole world thinks seeing your bedroom is not wrong, you then are in the minority, meaning you may have to rewire your thought, and compromise. If the whole world sees a picture of a married woman on her matrimonial bed in a lingerie on social media, not as a model, but for the fun of it, to be wrong, then she is in the minority and she would have to reorient her actions. Whilst in marriage, what works for ‘us’ is what counts, if we have an unbreakable deadlock, we need to find a fair ground to break it. Her family finds her actions absolutely ok and I know some readers will think you are so weird. Your family, which I presume is upper class, finds her loud and ALL OVER. So in a scenario like that, where she has actually blocked you to make a statement that she is not budging, we need to agree on a compromised position that is fair.

I may not, unfortunately, be able to help you much without seeing her, hearing her side of the conflict, and seeing some of the most scandalizing (in your opinion) posts, to assess for myself. If your marriage will work, both of you need to move towards the center. You wanted a colorful person and you got one. You need to admit, your choice might not have yielded the intended results, because you miscalculated. You need to also admit that you cannot always control things as a typical melancholic. You wanted, and therefore went after a colorful person, you did not create your own colorful person. You have to take her with all her strength and excesses. This is not a Buffet; you don’t get to choose what you want and skip the rest.

I will advise you to see the brighter side of it. Aside your social media contentions, what else does she bring to the table that you find exciting? Focus on it. Be less emotional about the current en-passe; learn to let it go, until we meet.

I also noticed your have a safety net in your family of orientation where you fall back on and draw strength. It is dangerous. For as long as you get people telling you your wife is wrong, the urge becomes stronger on you to want her to change. And you are not the only one at fault here. She has two sets of cheer leaders cheering her on: Her mother and her social media fans. Both of you need to fall back on your current family – The Family of Procreation. Set your own rules, draw your own boundaries. Come up with your own compromised definitions and begin to shut down your ears to family members who make you feel like you are right all the time.

Your little sister comes to your bedroom? I found it implied when you said she hasn’t visited since your got the art work. If she has access to your bedroom, it must end forthright. Why did you call in your siblings when you didn’t find your wife online? Why not a friend? Why not a co-worker? Do not make enemies between in-laws. For this reason shall a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined unto his wife…. The scripture has eternal applications.

I feel your emotions are getting in the way. I am a believer in online privacy and therefore don’t hold brief for your wife as there are serious breeches here. However, the root causes may be telling and it is important we look at it. Therefore, I will insist that you avail yourselves for a session or two; first alone with her to hear her side of the story and then the two of you for an extended scheduled session, so we can properly diagnose and treat this.

Kindly revert as soon as possible.

I wish you all the best.

PG

 

 

Columnist: pgsebastian.com