Thursday, July 09, 2015

Ask Maxy

 Dear Maxy ,
I was hanging out with a group of friends last weekend when I heard a kind of distrubing thing . As we were going around the room telling things about ourselves , it became apparent that one of our friends is in trouble . 
She is so bitter . Each of us was saying how long we had been marriedand when we got to her , she said the number , but with disdain . She then uttered under her breath that it probably wasn't going to last . That one comment blossomed into a long list of things that are wrong with her husband and her marriage . It was awkward since he was definitely within earshot . I tried to calm her down , in part by suggesting that we talk about it privately later . But now , I really don't know what to do . I have no idea what to say to her about her marriage . I know couples go through all kinds of stuff over the years , but I can't advise her . Should I back out of our get together ? If not , what should I say to her ?
No Advice Here
Dear No Advice Here ,
If your friend follows up on the get together with you, she may very well regret spouting off the way she did on the weekend and if she is like most of us, when we commit a social faux pas, she will be embarrassed. 
She was obviously angry with her husband, and in the heat of the moment, gave vent to too much personal information ... 
information a social gathering of friends would not want dumped on them . 
When you meet with her, and before the conversation gets cooking, say upfront that you are there merely for support and have no experience as a marriage counselor. 
If you are a good friend, be a good listener, and if she asks you for advice, suggest she go to a professional .  Most marriages can be helped if both spouses are willing to work on it  together. Don't get  caught up in her drama and side with her against her husband. That could be harmful to an already damaged relationship. Tell her you have learned that it's important not to put yourself in the middle of people's marriages.
Just listen and be compassionate . Tell her to consider her options very carefully and not make hasty decisions. As the old maxim says, "Act in haste...repent at leisure". 
She should take the first positive step by talking with a counselor by herself, before she involves her husband. This will  organize her chaotic thoughts, calm her negative emotions and give her a starting point.  She will be grateful that you care about her and isn't that what friends are for ?

Dear Maxy ,
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years . I had been having doubts for a few months and one night he took me out for a surprise picnic .I  thought he was going to propose and the only thought I had was : How do I tell him no? 
We had a great relationship , but I'm not sure he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with . I miss him and feel lonely , but I recognize those feeling don't really mean I'm totally in love with him .
My friends say he took the breakup really hard and has been doing poorly since . I feel horrible about it , but I want be sure I marry the "right one" .
We have talked since the breakup and he wants to get back together , but I'm not convinced. I am only 31 and want to experience being myself . He says we can do them together.
Did I make the right choices ? Should I go back to him.
Dear Confused ,
I can't tell you if " he's the one." Most relationships aren't that clearly defined, right off the bat.
However, I can see that you aren't ready to get married . You are aware that you are young and that you want to experience life on your own before you make a lifelong commitment to someone. It is a very healthy, normal thing to want to enjoy just being yourself, and play the field a bit more to test your feelings about other men. Then, when you are ready to marry, you will be sure it is the right decision. I commend you for recognizing that you need more time .
 You may discover, down the road, that your ex-boyfriend really is the guy for you  and (if he is still available) you will be able to commit to him with confidence. If he proves not to be the right one, you'll be very glad you made the choice to wait.

Dear Maxy ,
My husband retired 10 months ago after 45 years of hard work and a great deal of travelling away from home .
Since his retirement, my in-laws have been hounding him to do their home maintenance projects for free .
Visiting them is a four-hour drive , and he'd have find a place to stay because his parents don't have any extra room. He would also have to pay for his own meals.
He really doesn't want to do this. The last project he did for them took twice as long as it was supposed to because they kept interrupting him to talk about their dogs and grandchildren . My husband has his own projects that he wants to complete.
So now his parents call and keep leaving messages about what they want done 
Please Help
Dear Please Help ,
First of all , this is your husband's problem to fix, not yours. Don't try to run interference  for him or reinforce the idea that his parents are taking advantage . It seems to me that his parents want his company, as much as his expertise. How often does he visit without their prompting? This could be their way of ensuring his presence .
If he chooses to continue helping, please be supportive. And should he decide not to do so, he needs to be the one to tell them.
Your best bet is to stay neutral . But you might suggest he look into hiring someone to work on these projects and it might be worthwhile to help finance them .
The answer was in your own letter ( they kept interrupting him to talk about their dogs and grandchildren).  What they really  wanted was to spend time with him. One thing you can do to help the situation is to make sure he visits his parents regularly, without them having to invent projects to get him there.

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