My husband and I got married this past July. We keep fighting about the same things – me feeling he doesn't do enough (putting effort into our marriage, keeping the spark, division of labour), and him feeling like I’m passive aggressive with unreasonable expectations and making him change.
We can't seem to understand each other's perspective.
His points: After waiting in the cold for him to pick me up I wanted to hear, “Sorry you waited long in the cold, want some heat?”
I asked for a weekly date night. He felt that was too much and values being at home, so bi-weekly is all he accepted.
I wanted a weekly activity together. I've been asking to play squash so he picked that. We have squash courts right in our condo; he could hardly find the 30 minutes he could spare.
I got upset because he could easily take a half hour from his gym time. So I felt gym was more important than me. Also, he spends two nights weekly with his friends.
We compromised on bi-weekly date nights and our 30-minute activity. But I still feel he puts me second.
He's unsure he can handle another fight like this where he feels I’m telling him he's not doing enough. He says, eventually it’ll be the end for him.
Can’t Stop Fighting
In less than four months of marriage, you’ve set up a dynamic that can’t work.
He’s not new to you. You knew that he saw friends twice weekly and had a gym schedule. Instead of telling him what he has to say to you, and what he has to give up, back off and create an equal team. You’re not the captain.
It’s hard for anyone not to be late picking people up in traffic. If you need heat in the car, turn it on. If you want conversation, start one. You’re an adult woman, not a helpless child.
He’s agreed to squash, so make that activity pleasant for both of you. Have some ideas for your bi-weekly date night and let him have his ideas for it, too.
In time, suggest that you both see friends one night weekly and maybe go out with couple friends on another night.
You’re both new to married life, so stop trying to give orders. Introduce changes from your single life gently, and with more compromises, not fights.
Several years ago I worked with a colleague who asked me out, but I wasn’t interested. He later got married and now has a three-year-old kid.
I was played by immature men and was also lost in life. We reconnected a year ago and now we love each other.
However, I cannot make up my mind whether to be with him. My only barrier is that he has a kid.
I feel the pressure to be married as I’m 26, he's 41. I feel we’ll argue about his kid eventually and not have normal couple arguments.
Do the man a favour and move on. Loving someone with a youngster requires having a mature, welcoming heart that brings warmth and acceptance to the child.
You’re not that person. It may be why you got into bad situations previously. Maturity brings self-confidence, which presents a barrier to letting people “play” you.
Also, it’s unclear whether this man wants to marry you, or is still with his wife? If so, you’ll be doing yourself a favour by NOT seeing him anymore.
I've been separated for four years, now divorced. Recently, my ex and I both realized that feelings still exist. I’d left with my daughter because he was controlling and manipulative sometimes. He hit rock bottom, and has been in therapy.
I'm now open to finding out more. However, everyone in my life hates him - my parents, friends, co-workers.
I feel I owe it to our family to see if the change is real, but I'm getting negativity from everyone close.
Take six months to see if he’s truly changed. That means seeing him regularly in ordinary ways, not just out for dinner or having sex again. Also, ask to see his therapist with him and discuss the past openly.
Tell close people to trust you, that for your daughter’s sake and your own sense, you have to give him a chance. But make no permanent move or promises for those six months.
Tip of the day:
Ease each other’s transition from singlehood to married life, through compromise instead of criticism.