Get all of your relationship, marriage, and family questions answered here.
Put the question in the comment box below.
My husband is 10 years older than I and I've always felt like a child next to him. He's established, has his own business and very strong family ties. I also have VERY strong family ties though mine have never been an issue because my parent's love and respect him and my brother works for him and treads lightly. Any issues we have had have been on the part of his siblings, not his parents. My in-laws are fantastic people. They are not nosy nor do they meddle. Even after we had kids 5 years into the marriage we actually had to remind them that these were their grandchildren and that they needed to spend time with them - all the other grandkids were 10 years plus older so the novelty had worn off I guess by the time my kids came along. Everything was ironed out and our relationship remains good.
One relationship that has been tenuous from even before I met my husband was with his younger sister. The day I met her was her last day at the bank where I was an intern in college. She worked with my mother at another branch and knew I was her daughter and though she is considered a "saint" and wonderful by most she's fooled, she proceeded to call my mother an annoying idiot that asked stupid questions - to my face. Wow, what a first impression. Needless to say when her brother and I started dating I was mortified that I'd have to spend any time with her. She's pretty good about putting up a nice front when she has too, but behind closed doors let's just say she's a bitch. She'll smile to your face but rip you to pieces behind your back. I learned many years ago to choose my words carefully with her because she uses them against you when she gossips with her two faced friends and her other sister-in-law who's also heavily given to hurtful gossip (I've had my go round with her before - we have a healthy respect *fear* for each other now). Actually it was from her other sister-in-law that I learned what baby sis really thought of me - obnoxious and annoying and she was happy my husband humiliated me. It stung and it's something I've never been able to forget. Needless to say this tempered any desire to be close to her.
The extremely close relationship between my husband and his sister moved me to allow him to take me to their house for bible study every week because he wasn't comfortable where we had been assigned. Then when I was about to have our first child and I was in no mood to fight or argue she convinced him to buy a house a mile away from her. This moved us 20 miles away from the rest of our family. I was already 35 minutes away from my family and now we were just that much further. I hate it here. And it's gotten worse.
Not long after we moved over here, maybe a year or two, mutual friends of ours intimated that their young daughter had a crush on my baby brother. They didn't only tell me, they told her too which I knew without a shadow of a doubt would be a very, very bad thing. It took some time, but eventually the gossip beast started to crawl and it started at her door. Threats were made and people believing in assumptions coupled with other negative assumptions my brother was severely slandered and hurt. His friendship with my friends ended though their daughter, now old enough, continued to pursue. He rejected her advances until she was even older and now they are married. Before the wedding my mother in an attempt to assuage my brother and future sister-in-law's fears basically nailed my sister-in-law (my husband's sister) to the wall. She got her to admit that she had gossiped something hurtful to someone who took it and ran. When she confronted her friends they didn't out right lie, but they said they didn't remember. She, my sister-in-law, took this as a exoneration and proceeded to paint my mother as a liar, refused to apologize to my brother and his future wife (to whom she felt like a second mother), and thought I was the source of my mother's ire towards her. I was not the one who told my mom that my sister-in-law was the one who started the nasty rumors but it was my friends, parents of my brother's fiancee, who had spilled the beans and also claimed that I was the one feeding my sister-in-law negative information. Needless to say I was godsmacked. Just because I knew them all somehow I became the fall person. Everyone stopped talking to me and my husband angry at me because I was so angry at his sister for not knowing when or how to mind her own stinking business. It put me in a bad spot, I lost my brother's trust, I lost my friends and my husband hated me.
.. . continued
After a confrontation between my mom, brother and sister-in-law I knew there was nothing I could do but try to put on a happy face and try to keep the peace. I would call and call and call and invite, but never get any kind of response until days later or after it was too late to do anything. So I gave up. One day hubs goes into their store and gets taken aside by his brother-in-law telling him behind my back that they are ignoring us on purpose because my mother had told them to. NOT TRUE. Here was my idiot brother-in-law trying to cause a rift between my husband and my family. Hubs knew my mom well enough to know that was bull crap, but still he came home angry and we had it out. Several weeks later we got into it again on the matter because I didn't want to see his sister and he called my mom a liar, I defended her, almost hit him and flat out said that his brother-in-law was a liar. So he dared me to call him and tell him what I thought and I did. About a year later his sister calls him to have dinner with him alone. They had never, ever done this before and I was not happy about it at all. She turned him against me. I don't know what was said, but his attitude towards me hardened.
Before a family reunion in August he forced me to go talk to her and her husband. It ended up being three against one. I was told not to come between her relationship with my husband (and he said nothing nor did he defend our relationship), that my mother was a gossiping liar and that I was nothing more than a jealous, threatened cad. My husband fought with me on her behalf right in front of them and later recanted realizing he'd been wrong, but he left me humiliated and alone. She also threw her own sister under the bus saying that she'd said nasty things about me behind my back, but I've never had a bad experience with her. That comment alone left me so beaten I couldn't speak anymore. She dragged up things from years ago that I'd completely forgotten. Just seeing how my husband sat there and allowed her to pummel me with her words was horrible. I went home shaking violently, I couldn't eat or drink the whole next day and for two months after I woke up with a literal piercing pain in my heart. It would get so bad at times it would wake me up at night. There hasn't been a day that's gone by in three months that I haven't balled my eyes out. I feel like I don't have a place, like my relationship with him is nothing compared t what he has with her.
I sought the help of the older men in my congregation and their advice was to bring him to talk to him in a neutral environment. I had been biding my time and then Saturday he asked if he could invite her to go out with us to dinner. I was expecting just the kids and I so my reaction was less than friendly. He got frustrated with me so I asked him if he'd be willing to talk with me in a neutral environment and he refused. He said, "Who are they to be giving advice?" I explained they just wanted to help provide a less emotional place for us to talk. Then he said just talk to me. It wasn't the time because we were getting ready to go, but I was back to balling my eyes out. I want to be his best friend the one he looks to for succor the one he talks to - not just the one he screws. I feel like his loyalty to me is based only on the marriage bed that as a person he'd rather not be with me. I hate her. I didn't before, I was willing to make the best of things and move on. I hate her now because of him. It's eating me alive because I don't know how to make him see that she's come between us. I feel so alone and angry, but I don't want to feel that way. What can I do?
Here's one for my two favorite relationship advisors: I haven't spoken with my father's parents in 19 years. My mother is Cuban, and they've never accepted her, or my brother or I, as a result. After Sandy, my father refused to reach out to them (they live in Asbury Pk, NJ), despite repeated pleas that he be "the bigger person." I chose to reach out, quietly, to be sure they were ok, and was shocked to hear that my mother had been quietly been making efforts to try to re-engage them in her children's lives - without my brother or I knowing, and with no response from them. Most hurtful, my grandmother said that she knew I was expecting last year, but since I hadn't called her (no reason I would have), she had no choice but to assume I had terminated the pregnancy or lost the child. She proceeded to tell me that we were disappointments as grandchildren for not keeping in better touch, although we barely knew her - even as young children. After a 30 minute call detailing all of her ailments and grievances, she never once even asked my son's name. And somehow, I got off the phone feeling guilty. What are your thought on children ( or grandchldren) of narcissists?
What's up guys? Have you done any posts on how to handle divorce or the end of a relationship in a healthy way? Of course, there are many variables, but I think some general guidance on when and how to let go could be helpful.
Here is a New Times link about children's story books that are morally reprehensible:
Just wanted you to see for yourself
Lee this is a question. The man I am seeing is brilliant with money and has a lot of it through diligence, great money tending skills and smarts. I was raised in a family that had lots of money and used it to control others and to part with it as soon as possible. I have been in therapy 30 years and have solved many issues, but I still have a love hate relationship with money. I want to know how to ask my friend for help, but since it is my problem I have been struggling alone with it. I am 4000 in debt and work hard to pay it off, and I am good with paying my bills. AND I seem to want things that aren't important like clothes, etc. that I don't really need. How can I make myself more responsible as I don't want to impose my bad habits on him, and I want to be healthy with money for myself? Ava Rogers
Lee, I loved your article on the ADHD couple. I am just now dating after 10 years of celibacy and writing and being ALONE which I love. I cannot understand why my friends all in their 50s are so obsessed with marrying this man or that one or being in a relationship where the man drinks, is a nutcase - why not just find someone you admire and respect and take your time? Dating is for finding things out about a person, isn't it? I NEED my solitude. I thank you for a fine (and very clever) article. Ava Rogers
I would like to congradulate my extended PTI family for having such great success.
i would like to find out if you guys get big enough if i can be your water boy.
How do I get my child to stop thinking about food? I plan on taking him to get examined to make sure that there are no hormonal concerns. The think is, whenever he's bored, there is a commercial or he has any free time (which is often) he thinks of food. I don't supply the food and I have been encouraging him to think about something else. He say's sometimes, "oh, yeah, I remember, think about something else, like trains, school..." Thank you for your response!
We in Calif who voted against Prop 8 are doubly disappointed by the ruling since the original ruling allowing the marriages was based on the non-discrimination clause of the state constitution. That clause states that NO state business or actions may discriminate against anyone on the basis of sexual preferences or orientation. We fought long and hard here to extend that equality, and the Utah Mormon church brought it's money to bear in our state to change OUR laws.
Beyond that, it diminishes the meaning of ALL marriages by making a spiritual and sacred union about sex and gender, not about Love, Spiritual Achievement, Ethics and Personal Betterment.
No one's marriage means as much here in Cali now that the issue is about breasts and testicles. Hey, Mormons... take your friggin' money and go drill for oil under Arches National Park... leave OUR state and our monogamies alone!
Lee..you are a therapist..what is the treatment protocol for person with narcissistic personality disorder. And Paul...how you dispose of the body after you dealt with them? Seriously, how about some advice on how to deal with a narcissist?
I would like to hear your views on Spirituality vs Religion and how present day "Churches" have fuk it all up!
How do we measure how much time a person should spend with their spouse? I hear women say he doesn't spend enough time with me. What is enough time? Differentiate between quality vs quantity.
Girls, body image, and (over)weight. Can you speak to that? (I am not talking about being skinny minnies, although that is certainly a serious problem as well. )
I don't know how to read comments on what you guys write about, Now, I know that one if the``says is dedicated to talk about kids and problems.... Here is a topic that I think might be interesting and that I would like to hear what people think. Does a child from 13 to whatever age 17, 18, 19 have the right to privacy? I mean if we are concerned about something regarding tour son/daughter don't we have the right to go into their myspace for example. I have`been talking to several parents and they seem to think if they are living under my roof they have no privacy. My thoughts exactly but some parents believe it's unethical to go through their myspace.
Or to even say to them in another situation you are not going out tonight if they are 18 or over. I feel if I have reason to think that they can't go out that's it period the end. Not just because they are 18 we can't tell them what to do anymore.
Is it just latin parents that feel this way? (Like I do)
What do you guys think?
We are with you. My husband and I were married 20 years ago in Redondo Beach California at the church where we had celebrated all of life's important moments. The mere idea that my gay friends do not have the same right is repugnant. To say that marriage is a religious concept is so backwards.
Here in Florida we are up against it too. The Mormons aren't as visible but you can smell them. Also, our recent vote was more of a backhanded attempt to stop gay marriage and the results will hold reprecussion to all who live together. But this is the land of Anita Bryant. They ran that bitch out Miami and I'm sure, as sure as I am writing, that equality will be sooner rather than later.
Thank you for the comment.
Lee from CoupleDumb