Pressure point

Joey Garcia

Just before Christmas, I told my boyfriend some really personal things about my past. We’ve been dating for about nine months, and I know that I should have told him sooner, but the time never seemed right. Now he’s pulling away from me. He denies it, but I feel it. He seems to take longer to call me back and is less available to hang out. What should I do?

Stop pressuring him to respond the way you think he should. After all, during your nine months together he probably believed that he knew you very well. But by divulging an unexpected past, you have birthed an entirely new version of yourself in his mind. He needs time to integrate the details. If you care for yourself and for him, you will allow him the space he needs. While he is sorting things out, give yourself a reality check. The reason you withheld the truth about yourself was because you were afraid of his response. So don’t wimp out by claiming that the timing was never right. If you have something important to say to someone who is important to you, create the opportunity to talk. We all possess that power, girlfriend. Use it!

My partner wants to adopt a child, and he is so giddy with the idea that he doesn’t seem to notice that I’m not onboard. We’ve been together for 10 years, happily. I fear that a child will disrupt our lives and frankly, I’ve never wanted children, anyway. I’ve tried initiating a conversation about my concerns, but he just brushes away my comments and goes on a rant about how great it will be. Any ideas about how to break the news?

Write him a letter. Then either sit with him as he reads it or read it to him. People who listen poorly (or who choose to do so when convenient) tend to respect the written word. You partner is clearly thrilled with the possibility of manifesting his dream of providing a home for a child. The real tension is not the arrival of a child in your lives but the potential demise of your partnership as a result. Comprende? This is a deal breaker. You can’t stand in the way of his dream, but you shouldn’t go along for the ride if you don’t want children. Too many adults are already in therapy because of ambivalent parenting. So either work through your fears and uncover true joy about raising a child, or prepare yourself to grieve the end of your partnership.

My husband and I argue a lot, and for the last year he has ended our fights by demanding a divorce. When he does, I back off and start pleading with him to stay. He leaves for a few hours and I freak, while thinking it’s over for good. I’m on disability for a back injury and can’t take good care of our children and house without him. He always comes back but refuses to resolve anything. Please help.

Have you tried backing off before a conversation escalates into an argument? That’s my advice. And try being more emotionally intimate. Here’s how: Agree with your husband about some criticism he directs at you. Something he says is correct even if you prefer it remain unspoken or unnoticed. So saying “You’re right, honey” is disarming when you mean it. Agreement will often settle you and, eventually, your husband so you are both more likely to hear and resolve the real problem.

Meditation of the week
“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: You alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them,” says Phyllis Bottome. How will you face new opportunities in this new year?

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