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Dear Mrs. Web,
My wife refuses to have sex on Saturday. She won’t give me a reason, she just says no. That is one of my days off. What should I do?
Well…there are six other days in the week, sir. They are available. I suggest you make up for lost time.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My common-law husband of 12 years wants to buy cologne with pheromones in it. He said it’s more of an experiment to see if it really works. He also said it would be nice to have women look twice at him. It would make him feel attractive. I am not sure this is a good thing to do. Should I be concerned about this?
Any man who is interested in seeing if he can attract outside female attention is a concern in a marriage. He is not getting something he wants, to feel attractive, within your marriage. Perhaps it is time to chase him a bit?
Dear Mrs. Web,
My wife devotes all her time and emotional energy to the kids and their activities. They are 14, 17, and 18 years old. She refuses to attend any of my business social functions. She has never been affectionate towards me, even when we were dating, and never initiates lovemaking. Now I rarely do either.
We have been married 25 years. I recently was diagnosed with depression. When I talk to her about how I feel, she attempts to improve, but it only lasts a few weeks. Then she reverts to her old self. I am beginning to think divorce is the only answer.
You are in a lonely place and I can understand why you are entertaining thoughts of divorce. However, there is something I find significant in your letter. You said that when you talk to your wife she attempts to improve – although it only lasts a few weeks. She tries but she isn’t successful or it is very uncomfortable for her.
People do not change deeply ingrained patterns or lose fears easily, even with the best of intentions. It takes re-training and lots of support. You have not mentioned marriage and family counseling. I think you both owe it to those children to get yourselves into marital therapy, and if needed, individual counseling. Look for a therapist who shares your worldview and respects your religious beliefs, if you have them.
Dear Mrs Web
My husband has been married twice before and has a grown child from each marriage. His first wife, who he divorced 26 years ago, is a best friend of his older sister. When we first got married his sister would talk about his first wife in front of me. My husband realized how hard it was for me to sit and listen to the conversation and he asked her to stop.
A few months ago the sister’s daughter had a wedding, we did not attend because the first ex wife was invited. The last time we went to his mother’s house his sister showed me the pictures. Dear Mrs Web, the ex wife was included in the family pictures!
A family baby shower is coming up and the sister called to tell my husband they would really like me to attend. The ex wife will be there. Are my feelings wrong? Should I go?
Your feelings are not wrong, but they are getting in the way of having normal family relationships. We live in a culture where some people gain and lose family members because of divorce.
Your husband’s first wife has taken on other roles in his family’s life, that of close friend of your sister-in-law, as well as mother to a family grandchild, niece/nephew. I don’t get the impression she makes life difficult for you, as many ex-wives do. I gather you are objecting to her because of she was once married to your husband and it is awkward.
You have made it a her-or-me situation. The family wants to include both of you for different reasons. She is now a family friend and mother to a family member and your are your husband’s wife. In my opinion, it is time for you to find the inner resources to behave gracefully at events when you both attend. Do I think it is an ideal circumstance? No. I think it stinks. When you marry someone, however, who has been previously married, you marry the family, children and sometimes even the ex.
Dear Mrs. Web,
Do men and women handle certain situations differently? An acquaintance of ours committed suicide. When I told my husband he said, "How stupid. He had everything going for him." I quickly said that it wasn’t stupid, it was sad. My husband became very quiet. Did I come on too strong?
When I state my opinion and have it overridden and corrected by someone else, I tend to become quiet too.
On some levels, both of you are right. Some men tend to look at the surface of the story and see a situation that doesn’t make sense and therefore earns the label: "stupid."
Some women see the pain in the story and name it "sad." Both are opinions. We each have the right to our own opinion. You don’t have to agree with an opinion, but you do have to respect it. Not the content of the opinion, but that he has it and it belongs to him.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My wife thinks she no longer loves me because I have not given her emotional support for years. She thinks I can not change. She wants to separate pending divorce.
Well, everybody can change, if they want to. It sounds like you have a good reason to change; your marriage is sinking. There are many ways you can get help. Start marriage counseling and a read a great book on my website called If He Only Knew in my Bookshelf. It will give you some idea about how your wife is feeling and how you can respond to change your marriage.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I am a 24 year-old musician, and have been one all my life. The first time I met my wife-to-be, I was reciting some of my lyrics, showing my new friends that I was good at it. We met in college, fell in love, graduated and got married 8 months ago.
Before marriage, I told her that music was a big part of my life and I planned to make it a successful career. Now I'm on the brink of being a successful/famous musician and my wife is beginning to not trust me. She speaks about all the obvious things like groupies, being on tour…
I am working with a recording company. My wife thinks that the women there can, in her words: "relate to me on a level I can't" because she's not a musically inclined person. I've invited her to a few of our events, but she has refused to attend. She is now accusing me of having a secret life because I have a cell phone and I don’t answer it when I am recording/working. She thinks I am avoiding her.
I don't want to stop doing my music because it is an important part of my life. I have changed my public personality for my career, but I am the same man she married. Do you think I should give up my music? It is a big part of my life. How can I help her be less insecure about my work?
Trust is the foundation of marriage. Your wife does not trust you. She has some good reasons to be concerned. The industry you are working in is very hard on marriages. Musicians, and other entertainers, especially well-known ones, are in the midst of alcohol, drugs, and sexual acting out.
The headiness and glitz of the industry can change people. Performers change and grow for their audiences. As a wife and perhaps, mother, your wife’s concerns are somewhat reasonable. No woman at age 34 and with three kids wants to be dumped for a groupie or record exec. In this day of easy divorce and lack of commitment, this isn’t a stretch to imagine.
On the other hand, you could be having affairs while pumping gas. Many of the choices you'll make with respect to your marriage commitment will be dependent on your character, and how you choose to keep it intact. Marriage, especially marriages with stresses of separation, adulation, and travel need more communication and work than the ones with a 9 to 5 life.
In your shoes, I would get into marriage counseling with my spouse. Trust-building would be the focus. Your wife may have insecurities that your behaviors are setting off. In addition, you both need to examine your expectations about marriage.
It is time to learn the details of marital communication. You need to know how to communicate with her so she feels connected. In addition, she needs to learn how to enter your world and become comfortable in it. She needs to know it and understand it, because this is part of you. I would, of course, expect you to do the same for her. You are a team working together to design the lives that you both want. There is nothing, in my opinion, that supports one more than a solid, strong marriage.
Do not misunderstand me, I think the marriage comes first, even before a world-famous career! However, I think that the issues do not make it an either/or situation. With full commitment and communication and hard work you might be able to have both.
Dear Mrs. Web,
Sometimes my husband likes me to wear revealing clothes and leave off my bra in public. I am in good shape. In the checkout line, I noticed that other women give me disapproving glances. Men stare a lot too. This happens a lot whether we go to the movies, out to eat, bowling, or wherever. This is something that I do for my husband's pleasure and enjoyment. But the rudeness of other people bothers me. What do you advise?
Dear Mrs. Web does not understand men who set their wives up to garner stares. Dear Mrs. Web hopes that all husbands have enough respect for their wives not to put them on public display to titillate. Dear Mrs. Web hopes all wives have enough self-respect and modesty not to behave like a ten-cent pornography novel for all the world to see. By the way, publicly advertising one’s physical charms often does invite public comments.
My advice? Buckle on your brassiere and put on some modest clothes. You’re being used.
Dear Mrs. Web,
Three years ago, I was about to marry a girl I had been living with for almost two years. Two months before our wedding, she left me and moved in with my brother. My family covered for him and it was almost a year before I found out about their relationship.
I moved on and am involved with another woman. We have one child together. My parents and siblings have been having two different celebrations on each holiday, one for my brother and my ex and one for my family and me.
Although I have seen my brother, he has never apologized for all the grief. I refuse to be around my ex. I asked them not to include her in family functions. They have said that if she is not included, I can’t bring my girlfriend.
I think this is unfair. My girlfriend didn’t do a terrible thing and devastate our family. My girlfriend is angry with them for excluding her. I don't understand how my brother and my ex could have done something so bad and how I have become the family bad guy. I haven’t spoken to them in six months. What should I do?
Let’s see if I can help here.
I am going to start at the beginning. Your fiancée left you for your brother. Your family covered it up. Thank goodness you were not married and had children when this happened. Frankly if your fiancée could do this, your relationship did not have a good and firm foundation. It is better that it happened sooner than later.
Your family cover-up is very sad. People usually cover up unpleasant news because they hate facing the consequences. Obviously, your family doesn’t work well with relationships.
You were very hurt. In relationships people do get hurt and move on. You have a new wife - at least I hope she’s your wife - and a baby, congratulations!
However, this past issue has cut your family in two and now they are placing the blame on you and your wife. Your family wants to close this issue, and no longer deal with it. It is over as far as they are concerned. But it isn't over for you.
Your former fiancée did a wrong thing, as weak people often do. In some ways, I pity her. Nevertheless, she is now your brother’s wife, your parent's daughter-in-law, and your sister-in-law. Your children are cousins.
Your family does not manage relationships well. In order to function at all in your family you are going to have to accept and forgive what happened. They were all weak people who made self-centered or easy choices. You won’t be able to fix who they are, or change them. However, you can change yourself and reach out to them. Will it be hard at first? You bet.
You don’t have to be in the middle of your brother and his family’s lives but you can socialize occasionally at family gatherings. You can stay connected. If things ever get too crazy, you can always politely leave.
There is one other thing you can do to redeem this mess. You can be the best husband and father you can possible be to your own created family. You and your wife can set loving examples of being everything a family should be, committed, honest, caring, open, loving, responsible, calm, forgiving and understanding. Your children will flourish with such examples. So will you.
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