My wife of seven years walked out with only her purse and some clothes. She left me a voice-mail message saying she was safe and sane, and not to try to find her, she’d be in touch in a few weeks when she got settled. She said that I know what our issues have been… and I do.
Some of our fights were silly, such as her dislike of my dog sleeping in our room. Some were serious differences, like her desire that we scale down our lifestyle, starting with my quitting my golf club, my not going on my annual fly-fishing trip, and giving up my sports car. We had our ups and downs but I never thought she’d leave so abruptly and coldly.
I don’t know whether to hire a detective to find her, or just leave it and fight any of her demands in court when we finally go through a divorce.
- No Warning
Some people recognize alarm bells when they sound; for others, it takes what therapists call “the fry pan over the head” – in this case, your wife’s sudden departure was the shock to get you to recognize how far apart you’ve been on those “issues.” Hiring a detective won’t get her to see your side of things any clearer.
Fighting her down to every penny in court is probably just what she expects.
Your battles have been over lifestyle - I’m guessing you’re a successful guy who’s used to getting things your way and saw no reason to give up any of your preferences. But your wife must’ve had reasons for wanting change: perhaps golf kept you away from home and family, perhaps you overspent on the sports car when other purchases were needed, maybe she wanted you to vacation with her this year.
If these issues kept coming up, then there wasn’t enough compromise for her to feel you were listening. It’s also possible that she wasn’t clear in expressing what was really the problem… loneliness? financial stress?
When you do have contact with her, try to find out the emotions behind her actions, and what mattered so much to her, that the only way she could get you to pay attention was by fleeing.
We’re two high school best friends, we have no boyfriends (we’re still virgins) and another girl started hanging out with us. We thought she was really cool because she talked about having had a lot of boyfriends, but didn’t miss being with guys when she was with us. She always liked the way we dressed and where we hung out.
Then suddenly she announced she’s a lesbian, so now we don’t know what to think. Was she making fun of us?
Or maybe she didn’t really trust us.
Or was she trying to hit on one of us?
Hold back your judgments. She’s entitled to her personal reasons for waiting to come out; these usually have to do with self-confidence and maturity vs. fear of others’ reactions.
Her choosing to share this information with you likely means she’s trusts you both, and that’s a good thing. Be supportive but casual – neither crowd her with questions and curiosity, nor become distant. You’ll soon know whether her being gay affects the way she relates to you.
But be true to yourselves, too. Since neither of you have felt ready for sexual relationships, treat this side of your friend as her business.
My son has married a self-centered woman who never helps when she comes to a family meal; she often arrives late or calls at the last minute to say she can’t make it.
She’s moody and so are the children she’s raising.
It breaks my heart to see my grandchildren emulating their mother with pouting and easy tears, when they’re not getting attention.
How can I improve any of this?
- Disturbed Mother-in-Law
Lead by example and some pre-planning. Before arranging a family meal, call your daughter-in-law and involve her… is she free that night, would she like to bring something, does she need transportation there?
For the children, set up a game for after-dinner or an age-appropriate DVD they can watch. Be patient and gentle when they pout, and distract them rather than cave in to every whim.
This is a long-term mother-in-law project, so stay patient, hopeful, and mostly mum.
Tip of the day:
A partner’s sudden flight from the relationship usually comes after a long period of warning signs.