My wife was promoted to manager of a large regional territory. She informed me (there was no pretense of a discussion) that she plans to take an apartment near Seattle so that she could reorganize that division. Eight years ago, she had a brief affair with a man who now lives in Seattle. I didn’t bring this up, and neither did she. Although, she must know I am thinking about it. I realize that I don’t trust her. Should I?
You can’t even try to trust your wife until the two of you change the way you speak to each other. It’s not just her imperial announcement about establishing a new residence. It’s the lack of intimacy and transparency in your shared communication style. That’s what led her to inform, rather than discuss new digs. It’s also what inspired you to withhold your fears about the past. But did truthful communication exit your marriage after your wife’s affair? Hmm, my Magic 8-Ball says “unlikely.” The two of you have been engaged in verbal power plays for much longer and have settled into a pattern that will eventually tear your marriage apart. Your wife is already living like a single woman mentally. That’s why she could make a major decision without considering you, her life partner.
Without honesty, trust cannot root and grow in a relationship. Transparent, intimate communication means you share your internal feelings and thoughts, while taking responsibility for your history and its influence. You don’t worry that what you say will be used against you. On rare occasions it might be, since human beings are unexpectedly triggered at times and may retaliate unkindly. But if your partner says or does something hurtful, employ a transparent, intimate style of communication to express your pain. And, of course, your partner should be frank, open and loving in her apology. It’s not too late to make these changes and save your marriage. Trust yourself enough to initiate a real conversation with your wife right now.
I have a sickly friend: allergies, headaches and exhaustion. She says she feels the negative energy in the world and she runs to alternative healers. She is cheap with friends but willing to spend lots of money on herself. She rarely follows through with anything, and I find this irritating. The truth is she just doesn’t want to work or participate in society. She wants to be coddled and taken care of. Why doesn’t she see this?
She’s in the phase of the healing process known as denial, or you are. Perhaps she was a friend in the past, but now she is simply someone to hang your discontent on. Let go of asking for her help or expecting her to be generous, financially or otherwise. Instead, find a friend who has the capacity to give and receive as you do.
I chuckled when I read the letter from the 54-year-old divorced woman (“Invasion of the lemon snatchers,” SN&R Ask Joey, February 18) who asked, “What happened to good manners?” I wish I had a dollar for every time that I stepped back to let a woman enter an elevator first and then got an icy stare. Maybe it is a generational thing. I am 60 years old and have been married to the same woman for 33 years. Whenever I encounter “unpleasantness,” I just give thanks that I do not have to go home to someone like that. Just because the woman was not a lady does not mean I have to quit being a gentleman. Not all women are ladies and not all men are gentlemen.
Thank you for having the integrity to continue being who you are, despite the attitude and behavior of others.