My wife has a good job that starts early each day. She’s back home by mid-afternoon.
If I occasionally get home early, she’ll be watching some mindless TV show and telling me to “shhh.”
This happens everyday – a minimum of 90 minutes watching TV shows that have no mental stimulation or learning value.
I’m totally ignored. It makes me even angrier that she’s engrossed in something that isn’t a positive use of her time, or productive in any way.
When I complain about this, she says it’s none of my business.
It’s not as if it’s her only time to relax. Our daughter’s a high-school senior, who gets herself home from school on her own.
My wife barely speaks to me until we’re all eating dinner.
What’s your take on this?
Home but Not There
It’s “none of your business” what she watches on TV.
What IS your business is your marital relationship which is so troubled that neither of you will mention it.
But the silence until your daughter’s there, speaks volumes.
Your wife won’t share even a brief conversation with you about the show she’s watching.
Meanwhile, your putdown of her choice of relaxation is insulting, and only widens the divide.
It’s likely that once your daughter leaves home, you two will separate, divorce, or live together even more coldly and disconnected.
If you don’t want that to happen, find a way to talk to her about the relationship, not the TV. Find a weekend time to be together, with no one else present.
Tell her what you want – is it a desire for the marriage to improve through both of you working at it?
Or, to consider counselling, and/or discuss separation in a rational, realistic way.
But I guarantee you, if you challenge her right to watch TV after work, you might as well start packing.
I’ve occasionally spent social time with my boss and his wife, and their two young sons.
I’m bothered by the way my boss treats his older son – comparing him to his younger son in public, often in front of other kids.
There’s always a subtle "I'm-just-joking" approach, like calling his younger son his “good” kid. The subtlety makes it hard to say something in the moment.
I feel sorry for the older kid who seems very well-behaved and intelligent.
When the father says something rude to his son, his wife will say, “Stop that.” I believe she’s repeatedly tried to stop his being a jerk, but doesn't want to make a scene.
I feel that if something doesn't change, when his son becomes a teenager, he’ll be much tougher to raise.
That’ll just reinforce in his father’s mind that he's a bad kid.
Criticizing someone who’s my boss, isn’t easy. Yet I'm willing to do something for the sake of his son.
Approach respectfully and carefully but give a gentle try because helping a youngster in this situation is an important act of kindness.
Research the effects of parental putdowns and pitting one sibling against the other.
Then casually say you read something interesting about something few parents realize.
Note: Even a quick search turned up a British psychologist’s admonition that comparing your children is one of the “four ways parents damage their children’s future without realising it.”
Another mentioned example is using “labels” (not being “the good kid” immediately infers being the “bad” one). It can seriously damage a child’s confidence, says the psychologist in an article at www.independent.co.uk.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding couples in love who nevertheless can’t agree about the presence of dogs in their home as a major part of their lives:
Reader – “Dogs are great as pets and companions, as long as they are not getting in the way of a loving relationship between the humans who are responsible for them.
“Example: Is one party in a relationship attaching himself or herself to the dog(s) and avoiding doing the same with his or her spouse or partner?
“Psychiatrists refer to this as “Attachment Disorder” and I suspect that it has become more prevalent as our society increases a trend to anthropomorphize (give human characteristics to) pets.
“The significant question both parties should consider is this: Where does the dog(s) fit into the relationship pecking order?
“If it ranks higher than the other partner in a supposedly loving relationship, then there’s definitely a big problem for the couple’s future together.”
Tip of the day:
The silent treatment often speaks volumes about a relationship ending, without ever being discussed.