I've been married for 15 years with two beautiful daughters; we have an active family and spend lots of family time together. Suddenly one day, my wife says that she loves me like a brother, not a husband, and wants her space.
While our sex life wasn't consistent or as often as I'd have liked, it was always exciting. Now she won't be intimate with me. We've already been sleeping in separate bedrooms for years because of my loud snoring.
I'm a good father and a good husband. But I always seem to disappoint my wife, as I'm inconsistent with our communication. I've lost confidence around her for some time, and feel I must walk on eggshells to not get her upset with me.
She's lost respect for me because I have difficulty making concrete decisions, and then get defensive, and a conflict ensues. At work, I'm much more confident and capable. She's previously said she wanted to leave me but always decided to stay because she loved me and believed in the family unit.
Now, she recognizes the possible strain on the children and will stay in the house but will be distant/unconnected to me as to protect herself from emotional disappointment.
I know that my leaving would paint a permanent scar on the kids, yet I cannot live in a house that's devoid of some hope of reconciliation. Your thoughts?
The gulf has been growing from past to present, and your wife has seized control of everyone's future.
However, since you both have concern for your children's reactions, approach her on that tack: You MUST get counselling together as soon as possible, before you openly display the divisions in your home (and emotions).
I'm talking about separation counselling, in which you both learn how to communicate better (it's never just one person's fault) in order to remain effective, equal, and sharing parents.
Hopefully, the therapy process will reveal some underlying problems you two never really faced. Example: Your wife intimidates you; there may be past individual history for each of you that allows that. Once understood, there's a chance for change.
I believe that when couple's become as "brother and sister" in the same house because of one parent's insistence, the kids still feel negative effects. They see hypocrisy in the so-called "family values."
So, if your marriage doesn't benefit from professional help, I'm with you on leaving. Make it a clean split with clear joint custody and access arrangements.... don't let anyone intimidate you on those.
My grandfather's upcoming birthday party will serve as a sort of large family reunion, the first one we've had in years. Everyone will be excited to catch up with each other.
Would it be inappropriate if my partner and I announced our engagement at the party, after the cake is served and the songs are sung?
This is a clear case where, if you were sure it'd be okay, and unanimously welcomed, you wouldn't be writing me.
You know the people and attitudes involved, so be honest in your assessment: If your announcement will appear like a grab for attention, and stealing of the limelight from Gramps or any other grandchildren, then save it.
A few days later, when you announce it in person to close family - and send out an enthused email to the rest - it'll be seen as an added joy for the family to celebrate, especially if they'll all be invited to the wedding.
An old friend contacted us. She's thin, weak, has ailments, and "hears" ghosts of dead relatives. We took her to the hospital; the doctor said she needs to see a psychiatrist. She refused.
We phoned her the next day to confirm she'll see a family doctor. Her mother answered, and said, "She only needs vitamins." Later calls weren't answered.
We plan to show up at her home. But what if she (and Mom) refuses medical help?
Stay connected but do NOT pressure her or her mother, lest she become isolated. Try to win her trust to tell you more of what's going on.
However, if you suspect she's in a depression or experiencing some form of abuse, get her the phone number of a local distress centre and inform her that there are people trained to listen and direct her to appropriate help - even if she needs help to leave home.
Tip of the day:
An emotionally divided home can negate all the messages about family unity.