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Communicating Marital QA


Dear Dr. Tobin, My wife and I seem to have many arguments over my taking time for myself. She is home all week with the kids, however, she gets out of the house three times a week for an average of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours an evening. I, on the other hand, go to work and come home to sit the kids and get them to bed those three evenings (and most weekends while she is in her garden) and we both are home the remainder of the week together. Sometimes on the weekends I would really like to get out of the house to do small errands or just to get out by myself without the children. My wife of course confronts me about this and turns this "me time" into "you don't want anything to do with the family" (even though I had planned to do something with my boys that day). I do not demand this "me time" often and the time I take is seldom more than two hours. The problem is each time I suggest "me time" it is the wrong time (according to my wife). I am accused of neglecting my children, and sometimes we start two days worth of arguing. My question is, when is it appropriate to take "me time" and why can't I get my wife to understand that I am entitled to it on occasion, as she takes hers for granted? I do not consider some time between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday or Sunday a serious prime time offense on my part (we don't usually have lunch until 1:00 - 1:30).

Dear WholeFamily, I have been married for almost three years. I had a difficult time planning the wedding because I have a bad relationship with my parents. My parents were physically abusive to me while I was growing up and even up to the time I moved out at 19, and I struggled with planning the wedding without my family. My husband and I did not have much money to pay for the wedding, and although his family is wealthy and expected a lavish affair, they refused to contribute because they felt my parents should pay.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I just had our second wedding anniversary. We've been together since 1992. We have a beautiful one-year-old baby boy. Although our son is only an infant, I felt I was reading our future story when I read the psychologist's comments about triangulation in the on-line drama "The Unemployed Son." Like in the drama, I feel as though I am the single parent who shares accommodations with my husband. I find I compensate for our failing marriage by dissolving my unhappiness in time spent with my baby boy. From the time I get home from my full-time office job until I go to sleep at night, he is my only priority. The result is a hollow realization that if I did not have my son in my life, I would be drawn to tears every evening out of loneliness and frustration with my marriage.

My husband and I have been having the same problems for years. But just recently, within the last year, we came very close to divorce. It feels like no matter what I do things just are never all that calm. When working part-time and going to school, or when we had kids and I stayed home, he was still not satisfied. Now that I'm working full-time it's still the same. He seems to expect me to take care of the home front no matter what the situation.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I really need your help and advice. My husband and I have been married for just over five years. We do not have any children together, but we each have one from previous marriages. The kids are not the issue. When we met I fell "head over heels" in love with him, and he felt the same way. We married only one year after we had met (and only dated for four months). We worked together, were best friends, and did nothing without the other.

Dear Dr. Tobin, When we have conflicts, my partner does not want to involve his friends or family, rather he feels free to contact my employer. In one case he contacted a prospective employer and I lost that opportunity. In another case, he informed a prospective employer that I was no longer available for work, which was not true. What are the guidelines regarding the relationship between a family and a partner's employer? He's Ruining My Name Dear He's Ruining My Name, You know the answer to your question.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My wife and I have been going to marriage therapy since October. The problem is that she says that she loves me only like a best friend and not as a husband. The problem in our marriage has been communication. We were both raised in families where communication was a problem. Therapy has helped me communicate but my wife still has difficulty doing the same. In addition to my wife and I seeing therapist separately, we are seeing one together. This whole situation is extremely difficult for me. We have two daughters, a three-year-old and a ten-month-old. I have recently got on medication due to the anxiety this has caused. I have changed in so many positive ways since the beginning of therapy but my wife's feelings are still the same.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My marriage of fifteen years is in serious jeopardy and I feel helpless. My wife recently went back to work after 12 years of motherhood. There she met a man and started a flirtatious exchange. At first it didn't bother me and I felt so confident in our relationship I let it go on. Then started the touching and kissing. I felt she was going through a phase and allowed it to go on and didn't discourage it. Well, of course it went a lot farther. After this episode she told me it was over,(she got it out of her system) and our life and family was too important to jeopardize. She promised me that was that. One week later she was very late from work and I found out things went over the top.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I want to save my marriage! But I feel lost. My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we hardly say anything other than: "What's for supper?" "Where is my underwear?" and basic everyday life stuff. We NEVER sit down and just talk, laugh, or joke together anymore. I feel as if I am losing my marriage (that I have worked very hard to keep together). If I leave, my children will be hurt and if I stay I'm the laughing stock of town because I think he's having an affair. How do you work on a relationship when you work days and he works nights (his choice) and on the nights that he is off he stays out till all hours of the night running around? Thanks Dear Feeling Lost, You write that you want to save your marriage and that you feel lost.

Dear WholeFamily Counselor, On January 12th this year, I met my fiance. The first moment I saw her I knew that she was "The One". She was the new bartender in a lounge I frequent and I began talking with her after closing time. After a few nights of this it came out that she lives with a boyfriend who is also the father of her 3-year-old child. I was crushed but shamefully continued to pursue her.

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