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Teetering in Trenton

  • Posted on October 2, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Dear Christine,

I’ve done something really impulsive and now I’m afraid to tell my husband. Each year his family comes in from out of town and stays with us for Thanksgiving for a 4 day weekend. That includes mom, dad, brother, his wife and three young kids. I love him. I’ve put up with his family who are still a bit judgey about the gay thing for 6 years now. I’ve been kind and gracious, I think, but I will lose my mind if I have to deal with them this year. I haven’t told him yet but I bought an airline ticket to visit my friend in New Mexico for that weekend. I can’t even work up the nerve to tell him. Now that I’ve done it I feel really guilty. What should I do? I’m teetering between getting out of town and cancelling my reservation. I’ve never even really told him how much I dread these visits. I love him so much. help!

Teetering in Trenton

Dear Teetering,

Seriously?!  You are married to your husband, co-hosting his “judgey-about- gays” family for Thanksgiving for not 1, not 2, not 3 but SIX years.  And it never crossed your mind to tell him that you dread these visits?  And you think he has no clue as to your actual feelings of dread? What kind of marriage is this?  Apparently, there is no honesty about what each of you need and how either one of you feel!  My prediction is that this marriage can’t last long.

Trust is one of the fundamentals of a healthy relationship.  Trust comes from being vulnerable, honest and open with your spouse.  It’s not easy.  It’s not fun.  But it’s entirely necessary to build trust.  It would seem that your husband values his family coming to visit at Thanksgiving each year, despite their moral stance.  Seriously, you have never said a word to him about how difficult this annual ordeal?!  Time to change that!

You can keep your reservations for New Mexico if you don’t tell him, but you might think about looking for a job and an apartment there while you are visiting your friend.  I’m not sure your husband will appreciate your surprise disappearance.  Or you can just fess up to your husband and let him know just how uncomfortable you are with his family visiting and see if he is willing to graciously let you out of this co-hosting of his family.  Or you can cancel the tickets and fess up to your husband that you’ve been hiding the real you from him for six long years and see if he gets your misery or feels hurt and angry.  Your choice.

Physics teaches that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  No matter what you decide to do or when you decide to do it, there will be a reaction.  You choose what is the best course for you and for your marriage.  If you have any hope of this being a long-term marriage, I’d suggest cancelling the tickets and then telling all to your husband.  And I mean all.
Maybe he’ll understand your desperation and give you the green light to avoid his  “judgey” family.  Maybe he won’t understand and resent your cowardice.  I don’t have a clue.  Good luck to you, but just remember, honesty is the best policy and the sooner the better.  This would have been a really good conversation in year 1 or 2.

Take care,
Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

Reading Books in Richmond

  • Posted on August 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

Dear Christine,

My wife and I love to read.  I’m into history and historical fiction and her, psychological thrillers.  Recently she found a list of 13  “must read” psychological thrillers.  She has taken her love of reading to a new high and no longer has time for anything else but work, come home and read and start all over again.  We used to come home from work and talk over dinner, maybe take a walk or do yard work together and then perhaps snuggle on the couch, each with a good book.  He obsession with finishing these 13 books is causing me to feel somewhat neglected. I have voiced my objection and her answer is, As soon as I finish these books, we will go back to normal.  At least she agrees, this isn’t normal!  She is about half way through her list.  So at the pace she’s reading, I have another 6 to 8 weeks of neglect which is making me feel everything from anger to loneliness to just plain sad. Should I risk a fight and demand more time with her or just try and be patient for another month or two? 

Sincerely,

Reading Books in Richmond

Dear Reading,

I’m assuming you two have been living together for a number of years at this point.  Reading now is taking precedence over deep conversations, long stares into each other eyes and hot sex!  So, how long has it been?!

I don’t think I have had a question about reading interfering with a relationship before!  Texting, FaceBook, TV, friends even porn, yes!  But reading is new.  So at least you both are using your imaginations and keeping your brains fit.  Is there any time in your relationship in which you touch base with each other and see how each of you is doing/feeling?  I hope so.  That would be an excellent time to let her know that you are feeling replaced by some books and you could make a request that there be some time set aside without reading that you could attend to each other’s needs and feelings.

If not, then it’s important to let her know in a moment she doesn’t have her nose in a book, that you need to talk and connect with her and let her know how you have been missing her.  Have you had a date night?  Any time with just the two of you alone together?  Over dinner?  Before bed?  Or are books and electronic devices invading all times you might otherwise connect.  Speak up and let your feelings be known.  Waiting another 6-8 weeks seems a long time, but if you’ve already spent 20 years together, perhaps it’s a relatively small amount of time and will pass quickly.

It is important for couples to spend time checking in with each other and reconnecting their emotional, social and sexual connections with each other.  Ask for that if you’re not getting that at all.  If she puts these 13 books before you, then you clearly know where you stand.  That is a different issue.  Write me again if that is the outcome, ok?!

Christine C Cantrell, PhD,

Psychologist