Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My fiancé and I have been together for three years . "James' shares custody of his 13-year-old daughter , "Chrissie."
The problem is , Chrissie will not sleep in her own bed . Until recently , she use to sleep on the floor in our room , but two months ago , James started sleeping in her bed . I couldn't take it , so I went back to stay in my place . Now that I am no longer in James' house , Chrissie sleeps with him in his bed . This bothers me .
James and his ex-wife tried sending Chrissie for therapy , but she told them it wasn't working , so they stopped . We have discussed this , but he continues to allow her to sleep in his bed . He doesn't believe there is anything wrong with it and also says he doesn't know what else to do . Chrissie is quite manipulative , conniving and sly . Even her hugs are fake . she is obviously competing with me for her father's attention .
I feel guilty not liking this girl . I understand that divorce is hard on children , but this is ridiculous .
Soon -To-Be-Stepmom 
Dear  Soon-To-Be-Step-Mom,
The fear of sleeping alone is a very real phobia in children. It is related to monophobia (fear of being alone). It comes from a deep seated anxiety, sometimes separation anxiety, and should be treated by a qualified child therapist or child psychologist. Hypnosis has also been shown to be helpful.
You can also do things at home like: redecorate her room in any color or way she likes and make it very comfortable...keep soft lighting on at night. Let her have a small TV in her room that she can keep on low volume all night, perhaps the cooking channel or 24 hour news...hearing human voices or ambient sounds will keep her distracted from her fear. Get her in the habit of reading light fiction or something funny in bed to  make her sleepy and have a relaxing bed time routine ( e.g.: a warm bath and hot chocolate). To start, you could let her sleep near your bedroom door with your door open and gradually make the transition.
On the other hand, Chrissie  may  be manipulating  her  parents  out of  insecurity  and  simply because she can . But her  parents  are  the  real  problem . They are  allowing  Chrissie to control  the family  dynamic.  At thirteen, it is inappropriate for her to sleep with her single dad. She needs her parents to be in charge, and instead, they have given her the reins . The therapist will no doubt advise that the family take counseling together so that James and his ex-wife understand  how much effort  and consistency are required for their daughter 's sake .
This problem has already driven you away because James handled it badly and did not take you into consideration or the way you feel about it. If  you still intend  to marry James, insist on proper therapy .

Dear maxy , 
I am 26-years-old and have been in a wonderful relationship for four years . "Cody" is my best friend and we are extremely compatible .
Here's the problem : His sex drive could run circles around mine . Sex is the only way he feels appreciated , loved and needed . Cuddles and kisses don't sate his desire . This puts immense pressure on me to accommodate him . and I am starting to resent it .
If Cody does something sweet for me , such as taking me to dinner , he will make a causal joke about how I should thank him in the bedroom . I have sat his down before and told him how his comments make me feel and that I don't like the emphasis he puts on sex . He either brushes it off , saying I'm too sensitive , or gets upset and says I should do the things for him that makes his happy .
I love him and want to make him happy , but shouldn't that go both ways ? I don't want to to feel sex is his favorite form of currency . Any advice ?
Dear Orlando ,
The  fact  that Cody likes  sex  and  prefers  it to other  things is  neither unusual  nor  worrisome . But I don't  like the way he brushes  off your  concerns, blaming  you for  being too "sensitive." This is an indication  that Cody  is immature  and dismissive of  your  feelings . Pressuring  you is a form of controlling  the relationship and he definitely is using sex as currency . You may think Cody is terrific and your best friend now, but over time, these issues will start to create a rift between you . Sexual compatibility issues don't disappear. In fact, they tend to continue to grow and become more frustrating and stressful for both partners; especially compounded with Cody's immaturity and insensitivity to you.
 If  you are  determined  to stay with Cody , you must get couples' counseling  to see whether  you can come to a compromise and save your relationship .

Dear Maxy,
I am 70 years old , but still enjoy an active life with numerous outdoor activities . My problem is "Ralph" whom I've known for 50 years .
When he has nothing else to do , Ralph phones me to talk ad nauseam about all his health issues , ailments , pharmaceuticals , etc. He never asks how I'm doing , but immediately starts cataloging his myriad problems , none of which are critical .
I have a few issues myself , but I never discuss them with anyone because I cannot conceive of anything more boring than listening to someone complain .
I have caller ID and can avoid Ralph most of the time . He's a good person and a loyal friend , but this has become an obsession I'd like to remedy . How do I address this with him ? 
Dear  Bored ,
I know  many people  who enjoy  giving "organ  recitals," but  no one likes  to hear them . Honesty is the best policy with Ralph . He probably has  no idea how he  comes across . Do him a favor and tell him nicely  that his  fixation with his  health, to the exclusion of everything else,  makes  a friendly chat  difficult  and a little  depressing .
If you don't want to try the direct approach....before he gets started, introduce an interesting topic. And change the subject every time he starts tuning up for his organ recital. Unless he is pretty dense, he will eventually get the message

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