Dana is a public relations executive and Allan is a chiropractor. Both of them have worked during their entire marriage. They have two children in high school. Now that the kids are out of the house more, Dana and Allan have more free time together. Dana feels like she wants more out of life.
Brad, a 34 year old accountant, and Kathy, a 35 year old sales rep for a cosmetic firm, have been married for five years. They have no children and as this scene reveals, they hardly have each other. She pursues, he distances and both are unhappy.
"The search for true love is a spiritual quest." At the dawn of the new millennium, the main complaint from partners in intimate relationships is the lack of passion and romance in their marriage. The big crisis of modern marriage is that it tends to become about arrangements: I'll pick up the kids, - I'll do this, you'll do that. Married couples are so busy managing their marital lives that they tend to eliminate all the fun of being together.
It's become a cliche by now that men stop talking once they get married. My husband, Dan, is no exception. Like everyone, I remember those late, sometimes all-night talks. What started out as loose and free-flowing has turned into something more akin to constipation. It's the surface that bores me. And after 15 years of marriage, a lot of what Dan and I have is surface. Will you put in a load of laundry? Do you have time to take the dog to the vet? "How was your trip?" "Fine." "What did you do?" "Oh, the usual.
The comedienne, Phyllis Diller, once said, "Don't go to bed mad, stay up and fight!" Well, that's not the best advice, but it beats doing the "I'll - pretend - to sleep - but - what - I'll - really - do - is - toss - and - turn - groan - and - moan - and - make - you - as - miserable - as - I - am routine." Whether you stay up all night fighting or tossing and turning, one thing is certain, you'll be exhausted and miserable and your problem won't go away. So what's the alternative? How does a couple fight fairly and resolve conflicts?
Personal responsibility is one of the least understood concepts in modern psychology. A person who would say about himself, "I'm responsible. I get to places on time. I pay my bills. When I promise to do something, I do it," would be describing very fine qualities. However, being reliable and conscientious are not definitions of personal responsibility.
Perhaps, a way of defining personal responsibility is by telling you what it's not.
Think about this question for a moment. Are you as polite, kind and considerate to your partner as you are to a casual acquaintance? For most of us, the answer is no. How come? How is it that this same person that you now hardly give a moment's thought to, unless it's negative, could be the same one to whom you once were so loving, giving and appreciative?
You can't make anyone love you and nobody can make you happy. Whew, is that ever hard to buy. I can already hear the screams of protest: "What do you mean you can't get anyone to love you? What a depressing thought! You mean there's nothing I can do to get my wife to love me? What are you saying? There's no love in a marriage? If so, why get involved with someone if they can't make you happy! Why are you telling us this depressing garbage?" Well, the truth of the matter is, it's not depressing; it's liberating! Here's how: First of all, we've all been hypnotized into believing that our true love will heal all hurts.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am a 50-year-old woman, been married for 13 years. There are so many problems in my marriage; I don't know where to start. My husband is very emotionally abusive. He says mean and cruel things like "You are so ugly, no wonder I can't stand you." He has belittled me so bad I have no self-esteem. We can't talk about much of anything especially my feelings. As long as I let him think he is always right, everything is fine.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I can't seem to get along. For a while he went through a period of months of staying away from home and when he was home we either fought or he was asleep. He has sleep apnea and it seems chronic. He has a doctor that he sees for it and uses a cap machine but he won't wear it. You can tell when he doesn't as his sleep is affected. We have five children and this is also hurting them.
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 am 42 yrs. old. I have been married for 11 years. My husband has 3 children from a previous marriage, and I have 1 son. Together we have a 10 year old. Our relationship was strained in the beginning over our children, but we seemed to be able to let go of a lot. Lately though my husband has become, for lack of a better word, paranoid. I can't even go see a concert with my nineteen yr. old son, who bought me the ticket, without my husband getting upset.
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.
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.
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, 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, My wife and I have been married for 3 years and our first child is due in 3 months. My wife has told me that she is not happy in our relationship and doesn't have the same love for me she had when we were engaged. We met with a marriage counselor to discuss this. I want to work things out and stay together. She wants a separation and then a divorce. The main issue has been that I have taken her for granted and put my other interests ahead of her.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have a simple question for you. Am I a "control freak" for getting angry that my wife is alone with a single man in his apartment at 1 am? To me, this seems inappropriate and creates a dangerous environment. I feel very jealous and disrespected. Thank you, "Wondering If I Am a Control Freak" Dear "Wondering If I Am a Control Freak," The question you ask is clearly not as simple as you make it out to be.
Dear WholeFamily, I've been with my spouse for almost fifteen years. Lately, we haven't been getting along at all!!! He'll tell me something for instance and a little while later tell me he never said it. Also, whenever I tell my opinion he tells me I'm wrong and only his opinion is the right one.
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, 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 WholeFamily Counselor, I am obviously writing due to marriage problems. My question is what type of therapist is the type we need to work things out. A psychologist, a therapist, etc.? I am not sure what each specializes in, and what would be the best for us. My husband and I love each other, but have some issues in our marriage that need to be worked out. My husband feels that if we continue to stay together our marriage won't last.
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 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.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others Think it only happens to you? Families in conflict reveal their innermost struggles to communicate.
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