I have been married to "Ralph" for 30 years . Recently , I discovered that he has been speaking with an ex-girlfriend on his cellphone . These conversations have been going on for 10 years . They both say they are only friends , but I don't believe it .
This woman is married and lives out of state . Can two married people secretly talk to each other for 10 years behind their spouses' backs and it just be innocent conversation ? By the way this isn't an ordinary ex-girlfriend . Ralph planned to marry her after high school, but she chose college and he had to let her go .
When I confronted Ralph, he said, "this has nothing to do with you. My feelings for you have never changed and I never treated you any differently." But I feel as if I have been cheated out of ten years of my marriage because the ex-girlfriend was taking part of him away from me and I didn't know .
Ralph is a phenomenal father and has been a great husband . He wants me to let this go so we can move on . But how can I trust him again ?
Dear Feeling Betrayed,
Sharing conversation is not the problem . The fact that you were unaware of it for 10 years and this woman was romantically important to your husband is what's bothering you. Has Ralph been sharing inimate thoughts with her ? Has he confided about his marriage to her ? Has he expressed an interest in getting together with her ? And does he intend to continue the relationship with her, regardless of how you feel about it ? You need to know.
Ralph may feel that if there is no physical affair, he did nothing wrong . But he kept an on-going friendship with someone of the opposite sex a secret from you and that is destructive to a relationship. Anything that betrays your trust damages your marriage. Trust is the hardest thing to re-build.
Please ask Ralph to come with you for a few sessions with a marriage counselor, who could help him understand why this matters and help both of you fix it . This is how you "let it go" so you can move on .
Dear Maxy ,
I have been married for 22 years . I started working when I was 14 and didn't stop until I started having medical issues two years ago .
I am sick of the arguments about the kids not doing more around the house and not finding work . I have moved out of the house and in with a friend . Was I wrong to do this ? How do I make my husband see that the kids should have jobs .
Dear Expect Better,
This is a relatively new, but widespread problem: adult children who won’t leave home and remain dependent on their parents like permanent adolescents.
If you are no longer in the house, the situation will never improve. It is not easy to help an adult child transition to adulthood. To jump-start their independence will take a concerted effort with your husband.
The problem lies with the generation of parents who shielded children from problems and made sacrifices to give them better lives. Consequently, many young people graduate from high school expecting life to be easy and free of hardships. They are not prepared to handle adversity and setbacks, nor ready to push themselves to get ahead.
Parents have also been more permissive with your kids' generation than any other. Experts encouraged them not to "boss" their children and preached that good parents just couldn’t do enough for them. Some of these young people now have an exaggerated sense of self-worth and entitlement and don't respect authority. Theories on child rearing change with every generation and we have to deal with the results.
Kids of this era were not expected to help much around the home, deliver newspapers, mow lawns or help in the community and consequently, a lot of children never developed a work ethic.
So, first of all , stop playing the parent versus child game and speak to them like adults. You and your husband must back each other up if you want this to work. Explain to the kids that you can no longer take care of them because you have to think about your own future and retirement.
Present a plan to them ... For example :
1. "I will provide you with room and board for the next year to give you a chance to find yourself and a career.
2. "In three months, I will stop giving you money so you will need to find a way to take care of your expenses for clothes and entertainment."
3. "I will pay your tuition for courses you pass. Failed courses that need to be repeated will be at your expense. I will also buy your textbooks."
4. "I will pay for six months of counseling if over the next few months you decide you need help in getting a career and living on your own."
5. "Six months from today, I will stop paying for your car insurance, car payments and gas. You can either take those expenses over yourself in your name or I will sell the car. Lots of people can’t afford a car and rely on public transportation, a bike or rides with friends."
6. "As of today, your laundry will be your responsibility."
7. "If you let me know in advance when you will be home for dinner, you can join me for dinner but all other meals will be your responsibility."
You can customize this list in any way to suit your own situation. You and your husband need to speak to a counselor together for further advice and to get hubby on board with the plan. Even if your husband won't go, counseling could help you work out better ways of negotiating, so that you have other choices besides frustration and walking out .
My boyfriend just came back from Iraq . Last night, we got into and argument and before I knew it, I found myself on the ground with a bruise on my neck and a sprained ankle . I never thought my boyfriend would hurt me . Meanwhile, my roommates freaked out and called an ambulance and after a long plea, I persuaded them not to call the cops . I know domestic violence is serious, but I never expected to be a victim of this foolery . I love my boyfriend . There's a first time for everything and I know our hearts are in sync . I think his behavior has something to do with his deployment for six months . Where should we go to get help ?
You are right to be concerned, and are being very understanding
by not just walking away from the situation.
Many veterans experience 'post-tramatic stress disorder' after being on the battlefield . PTSD is a difficult and often dangerous mental condition for patients and those around them, especially their spouses. PTSD happens when someone comes back from a truly horrible, violent or near-death experience. Something in the brain snaps; gets rewired and the person with PTSD has no choice but to keep reliving those traumatizing moments physically, mentally and emotionally. They can also have flashbacks, awake or sleeping.
When undiagnosed or untreated, this condition worsens and the violent outbursts increase in severity. You become a victim, trying to cope with your partmer's bouts of depression, aggression and dramatic mood swings. You cannot fix this.
The good news is that help exists for veterans who need to process what happened in their lives and need to learn how to manage the variety of physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that they may face in the wake of their experiences .
Talk to your boyfriend and ask him to get help so that he can get better . Urge him to get support . To find help , visit the VA website at (ptsd.ve.gov )
Dear Maxy ,
I recently relocated to Orlando area as a single 32-year-old man with no kids or previous marriages . However, I eventually want to settle down . Lately, I've been entertaining this "young Thang"--- 24 years old, to be exact --- and I have to admit she has me sprung . She's spunky and energetic, with a fresh perspective on life . She's family-oriented and believes in God, but she parties too much for my liking . Every time I ask her to spend time with me, she mentions going out to a bar or club when all I want to do is enjoy a flick at home with just her and me . Am I asking too much ? Should I continue this relationship knowing that she's not ready to settle down .
Dear Orlando ,
Everyone (man or woman) is entitled to enjoy the wonderous years of their youth and have fun ... before deciding to enter a committed relationship. You have had eight more years of life, experience and sowing your wild oats than she has, so do not expect her to be at the same place in her life as you.
What do you want ? You say that "eventually" you want to settle down, but it sounds as if you are ready to settle down now. You are asking too much. She needs to be who she is right now and she will decide for herself when she is ready to settle down. The things you like about her... her spunk, energy and fresh perspective on life are due to the fact that she is young, carefree and enjoying every minute of her life.
I think a talk with the young lady is in order, to see if she feels the same about you, as you do about her, or if she has intentions of committing to a relationship with you at some point. If so, you must come to a compromise...go out on certain, set nights of the week and stay in on others. If she doesn't wish to settle down right now, and you have no desire to wait until she is ready, then you should end the relationship and move on because it will not end well.