When my husband and I married, we said our vows that included "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." I am now 65 and my husband and I are both retired. We have money but my husband does not want to give me any for any reason, including gas and groceries. I recieve Social Security benefits, but my monthly insurance payments eat most of it . My husband also has accounts at different banks in his name only . If something happens to him, I couldn't use these accounts for our household bills .
My husband is facing major surgery soon . Here's the real problem; He wants some distant lady friend to be at his surgery. I've never met her. He only contacted her a couple of months ago and refuses to tell me her last name . I don't want this woman here . She is a stranger to me and I would be uncomfortable having her around . What should I do ?
Very Upset Wife
Dear Wife ,
It sounds as if your husband met this woman online and wants a little romance . There is no reason for this woman to be present during your husband's surgery . But worse than a fling is the fact that he is keeping income from you, setting up different accounts to which you have no access and denying you money for groceries and gas. Controlling the money is a form of abuse. Please call Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at (800) 799-7233 for information and resources .
When my husband and I recently visited his sister, her husband said something very racist . He recounted how he had interviewed a black woman for a job for which she was prefectly qualified, but had declined to hire her because he "didn't want to work with black people."
I was shocked and disgusted by his racist
attitude. I didn't speak up because I didn't want to be confrontational, but the incident has been on my mind ever since . I wished I had pointed out that his attitude is not only racist but also illegal .
I love my sister-in-law, but I am reluctant to bring my children into a household where such bigotry is acceptable . How do I stand up against racism without damaging my relationship with my sister-in-law?
Principles or Family
You don't have to avoid your sieter-in-law. You only need to stand up for what's right in a way that doesn't alienate her . Should her husband say anything racist in your presence, reply calmly "I strongly disagree with your position and would appreciate it if you didn't say such things." Then change the subject . Later when you have a private moment with your children, express your views on the subject and explain why you disagree with "uncle Bob."
You canot protect your children from every reprehensible thing they will see or hear . The best inoculation is to teach them your values in a way that makes sense to them and will stick.
Dear Maxy ,
I am a psychologist and my husband is a psychiatrist . You give excellent advice, but there is one area where you could be more helpful .
When people seek low-cost mental health services you often print a list of places where they may get help . Unfortunately, that list might not be helpful in a smaller, more rural area. While we have several colleges, none have graduate departments that offer counseling . The YWCA and YMCA closed with the recession and the local churches offer pastoral counseling only to their own congregants .
The main low-cost mental health services offered in our community are through the county . This includes individual and family counseling, psychiatry and crisis intervention . We also have a 24-hour phone hotline to access emergency services . They can also direct people to an outpatient clinic at the local hospital .
In addition , Mental Health America (formerly the Mental Health Association) offers referrals, classes and support groups . If people are seeking low-cost help, please recommend that they connect their local county government .
K .J. Goodman , Ph.D.
Dear Dr. Goodman ,
Consider it done .
I appreciate the information and will definitely add county services to the list .