When I met my wife ten years ago, she was tall, slim and beautiful, and a good person. I fell in love with her and we married two years later.
After she had our two kids (they’re four and six), she started talking a lot about being “flat-chested,” though it never bothered me.
She went to a surgeon for breast enhancement. But, without telling me, she also had a tummy tuck.
I understood about the breast surgery but felt the latter was really unnecessary.
Now, she dresses to show off her curvy figure. I feel she often looks slutty. It embarrasses me and we get into fights about it.
How do I deal with this? I love my wife and don’t appreciate her looking like she’s available to every man who sees her.
And the men do stare.
First, get the word “slut” out of your mind and mouth.
You don’t mention affairs, so she’s not sleeping around. Yet your description insults her, is accusatory in nature, and very hurtful to her.
Any woman, who decides to undergo surgery to change her figure in some way, is clearly very image-conscious. You likely knew this about her already.
Instead of labeling it negatively, she wants you to think she’s sexy and desirable, beyond being mother of your children (a role that can feel all-consuming at this stage).
Show her that you’re proud of her when you’re out together.
Go shopping with her, occasionally, and show her what’s attractive on her.
You are the man whose eyes she wants on her, with pride.
My brother married a woman from a very affluent family. They live in a large house, have a cottage, and their kids go to private schools.
My husband and I live in a small house, and our kids go to public schools.
I want to be close with my brother’s family, but they’re constantly busy – weekends at the cottage or in town using their tennis club, lots of brunches and dinners out, taking the kids to high-priced sports matches, etc.
I don’t expect them to include us in everything, and they do nice things for each of our two children on their birthdays, like a surprise of baseball-game tickets for all of us.
Yet I can’t help but feel they could be more generous of their time and company on a regular basis, given how easy it’d be for them to invite us over more, or to their cottage, etc.
For me to entertain them is almost embarrassing… we have a tiny living space by comparison, and we can’t afford the kind of luxury foods they serve. I also don’t have a nanny and housekeeper to clean up everything after, as they do.
Am I unreasonable, or just jealous when I think they could extend themselves more to get together more often?
The Other Sibling
You’re envious, and that’s natural. But you’re letting it interfere with a family relationship that could be generous on both sides.
You have a home and children, the main ingredients to offer hospitality to your brother and his children, and create a new connection without comparisons.
If spaghetti and meatballs, or a pancake brunch is your favourite family meal, offer it up with love and it’ll be enjoyed heartily.
Have some card and board games available for the children, and enjoy some casual time and chat with your brother and his wife.
Focus on warmth, not things, and family will want to reciprocate.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose boyfriend drinks heavily and threatened to kill her if she ever leaves him (May 5):
Reader – “This man is clearly abusive and I think you minimized what she’s experiencing as well as that of other women in similar situations.
“Women in abusive relationships often question themselves and excuse the abuser for his behaviour.
“Substance abuse, instilling fear that she’ll lose her daughter, threats to kill her if she leaves him, all suggest she’s at high risk.
“I agree with you that she should talk to a counsellor, preferably one from a women's shelter where they have expertise in helping women develop solid and thorough safety plans.”
Ellie – I urged this woman to get to counselling immediately, and develop a safety plan to leave. That’s not “minimizing” the risk from his threats. You’re correct that abused women question themselves, and I countered her fear of being without him.
Tip of the day:
If you want family get-togethers, be as hospitable as you want the others to be.