When my wife and I married (I was 30, she was 26), she complained that we got married too late to travel before having children.
We’ve taken extended trips all over the world.
We moved into the house of her dreams, making my commuting life a nightmare.
During the wedding process, my parents expressed some unhappiness to her. I didn’t stand up for her and have expressed my regret and remorse. But she still takes issue with my family, wanting to cut them off, totally. I didn’t agree, but tried it and it was a disaster for them and me.
Through five years, she’s perpetually unhappy. Marriage counsellors have agreed with me that the real problem is how we communicate and that she needs to let go of the past; but she just switches counsellors.
She never acknowledges my efforts, e.g. special birthday celebrations, though she did nothing for mine.
Everyone, including mutual friends, thinks she’s selfish, self-absorbed and bitter, without reason.
I’ll always care for her and am terrified about this being over.
- Need Help
Start by finding your spine, then stand tall when you refuse to reject your family or discuss their past behaviour, period.
Instead, you’re willing to discuss together how to create a workable plan for mutual happiness, OR a plan for going separate ways. If she’s truly a bitter person, she needs personal therapy to figure out why; but she has to want to change. So far, she hasn’t had to do so, because you’ve bent over backwards to please her, to your own discomfort (the house) and disloyalty (the family).
You fear ending it, but you should have greater fear of both of you living unhappily for years ahead. Insisting on a new plan – one way or another – may be the wake-up call she needs.
If she rejects it, it’s what you need.
During 38 years of marriage, my husband has had affairs but I never doubted his love, and I love him.
Suddenly, he’s decided to find himself and doesn’t know if he can be married anymore. He’s recently taken up with married woman with young kids. I’m devastated and feel I can’t go on without him. I’ve known no other love, nor do I want to.
He refuses counselling, won’t even talk to me, only this woman.
Our five daughters and 10 grandkids are also shattered over this pending abandonment. I don’t know where to turn.
Your husband already “found himself”… in an affair, one with little responsibility, since the woman’s married. He’s played fast and loose with his “love” for you, so it’s time to value yourself higher.
Go on strike. Tell him to take his laundry and get his meals from this other woman, since he’s offering you nothing as a partner (just picture her reaction when he walks in with a bundle of dirty clothes).
Until now, he’s seen you as self-effacing and accepting of anything he does. That can’t last, no matter how this turns out, so show him the confidence that you can carry on without him, even if you have to fake it.
Get out more on your own (join a community activity group, make new friends, take a course). Do NOT wallow in self-pity or spend all your time hashing over the story with your children. Be pro-active and see a lawyer – he can’t “abandon” you financially so let him know the cost of his behaviour.
A close friend of my boyfriend has a new relationship with someone who’s constantly rude. The first time she came for dinner, she criticized the food and my cooking. She talks too much. I gave her a chance to see if she’d change but she hasn’t.
Even her boyfriend tells her discreetly to stop talking so much.
How can I put a lid on it, without sinking to her level? We want our friend to be happy but this woman’s getting on our nerves.
- Bad Choice
Two choices for you and your boyfriend: 1) See the friend on his own whenever possible, and only as a couple when you’re in a larger group; 2) See the newbie as insecure and trying too hard, which calls on you both to laugh off her criticisms, gently change the topic when she yaks on, and generally show kindness to see if she settles down.
Tip of the day:
When a perpetually unhappy person poisons a relationship, an antidote is needed - one-way or another.