Tony was a controlling guy. He had subtle ways of controlling Elana about which he was clueless. He even attempted to control her thinking. Underneath, Elana was a feisty person but was resigned to a trapped relationship –waiting for the kids to graduate high school before she would secretly leave him.
The relationship didn’t have a chance unless Tony changed his controlling ways. Elana had checked out years ago, until she was discovered having an internet relationship with a guy who gave her the attention she craved. I think she was relieved to be caught. At least in my office, she had a chance to move off the path of misery.
Tony deeply loved Elana. Despite his inability to recognize his mistreatment, I consistently challenged him. He was having difficulty hearing Elana’s complaints, so I became her interpreter—expressing her issues with more power. He never wanted Elana to have another affair, which motivated him to eventually hear her grievances. He wanted his loving relationship to return.
Eventually we broke through. Tony comprehended his negative impact on Elana and even felt remorseful. He worked on his controlling behaviors until they vanished.
As time went by, Elana became more confident in the new Tony. She was becoming her vibrant self again. They were spending more quality time—going on beach walks, while even holding hands, and returned to the ballroom dancing of their earlier days. Elana fell back in love.