My fiancée works in the fashion industry. I’m in technology, an admitted nerd with no sense of style.
We’re in the midst of renovations for our first home together.
We’re having to order appliances on a moment’s notice, choose light fixtures, paint colours, etc. in the midst of our work days.
For the first time ever, we’re arguing a lot. She shoots down my ideas, and I’m constantly being pushed to spend much more money than I’d ever imagined.
Is there a way to renovate and still get along?
The jury’s still out on that question.
Remind yourself, however, that these are First World issues (e.g. expensive bathroom light fixtures).
Sit down together with your joint budget.
Admire her sense of style and ask her to respect your practicality.
If necessary, leave one or two projects for the future.
Take time together once a week at least, to just “date” – no lists, no decisions.
Make love, not décor.
I want a divorce but don’t know how to move forward.
After 20 years, his alcoholism has drained me of any emotional feelings for him.
He’s not abusive, I’m not afraid of him. However, he refuses to admit there’s a problem.
He agrees he needs to "do better," will dry out for a couple of weeks, and then start back up again (hiding it from me).
I'm tired of the lies and deceit.
We lead separate lives, rarely eat together, and I sleep in another room.
He doesn't ask why. He doesn't want to deal with the reality that our marriage is over.
I don’t want to make him out to be the bad guy and I don't want to have a huge drama-filled proceeding. I just want out.
We have three children (one still at home) who are all affected by his drinking. We’ve confronted him numerous times, but he changes the topic or tries to make light of it.
For the past 10 years I didn’t realize how depressed I’d become.
Recently, I’ve begun getting stronger mentally and physically. I’ve lost a lot of weight and am trying to move forward (he continually tries to sabotage my efforts).
Where do I go from here? He's not ready to let go, but I am.
Done With Him
Yours is the familiar story of men and women alike who live with an alcoholic partner in denial, building quiet desperation in the other, just as you feel.
Your turning point has come from a survival instinct, realizing that your future will be more of the same unless you save yourself.
But just leaving isn’t enough. You need personal support – knowing you’ve tried your best, offered him a lifeline he refused, come to terms with why you stayed and can’t any more.
Readers repeatedly tell me about the help they received from Al-Anon (and the help their children received, too).
The support groups, the knowledge that others who experienced this have moved on or coped better, and the strategies for getting across to the alcoholic where his/her addiction’s leading, are what helped change their lives.
Now is the time to tell your husband this is his last chance, period.
He either commits to the program through Alcoholics’ Anonymous or another addiction rehabilitation program, or you’re gone.
If you then decide to end it, make a plan.
You’ll need legal advice regarding the split, and counselling advice too to work out what kind of relationship you’ll have with him later, as parents of your grown kids.
Reader’s Commentary – Here’s the writer’s quote from your recent column (November 4):
"Since she became pregnant, those traits have gone from bad to worse. While at our place, she helps herself from the fridge and naps on the couch (where we’re watching TV), without asking if that’s acceptable."
This was good for my daily laugh. If "helping herself from the fridge" and "napping on the couch" is where these folks are putting the bar for "being disrespectful,"
I think we can see where the relationship’s going wrong.”
Ellie – Yes, advice columns are a window on how others think and behave.
The attitude of both the rude daughter-in-law and the unwelcoming mother-in-law are worth a tear as much as a laugh.
This young pregnant woman already knows she’s not accepted by her in-laws.
She may have some poor manners, but there’s no one there encouraging her to be nicer by treating her as part of the family.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let a renovation deconstruct whatever caused you to love one another.