Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of WholeFamily.com. He's been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.
LOVE - - What is it? First, let me tell you what it isn't. It's not a something we fall in or out of. It's not a dreamy, blissful state where all fears, doubts, and worries melt away as we merge into one flesh. And it's not those glorious first moments of your first love when you were swept away in a wave of ecstasy. I know that's what the music industry and Hollywood would like us to believe. It's interesting how we use language.
Dear Dr. Tobin, My wife and I have been separated for one year now. Some people around me say she is playing me for a fool, but she sometimes shows up for counseling and when she does everything is okay for a couple of days but then she does not want to return my calls or want to talk to me and says she loves me, but I get the feeling that she has a boyfriend even though we are still married. I just don't know what to do or think.
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?
Dear Dr. Tobin, Is it normal for me and my husband to live totally separate lives? He has developed a whole persona at a job 50 miles from where we live. I have never met any of his co-workers and he has never invited me to his office. On two recent occasions he half-heartedly asked if I wanted to go to parties for coworkers of his, but since he has become a complete stranger to me, I thought it would be embarrassing to go to a party and see all of these people who know him so much better than I ever did. I know your advice might be that I just try it and start to get to know one another again, but we've really never had a close relationship and I am not at all motivated to start developing one now.
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