Get a life

Joey Garcia

My husband has a life, and I don’t. When he is not at work, he is playing video games, cycling, playing softball, restoring his grandmother’s Studebaker or spending hours on fantasy football. I love him but feel like the kids and I are on his back burner. I’ve tried talking to my husband, but he charms his way out of the conversation, or we end up angry and not talking at all. He is always so happy, and I’m always angry and frustrated. I do everything for the house and the kids. He’s so selfish that I am ready to leave him.

Your husband isn’t selfish, he’s single. That’s right, he doesn’t have a clue what it means to be married. Unfortunately, you have tolerated his single-man’s mentality for too long. He knows that by sugaring his words or by giving you the cold shoulder, he can have all the playtime he desires. Your children are watching his machinations. Take care not to fall into the same trap with them, or they may repeat this pattern of emotional neglect in adulthood.

You do bear some responsibility for your marital strife. You have allowed your husband to sweet-talk you into embracing his choices, rather than standing your ground on behalf of your needs. Maybe you believed that accepting his absences exemplified love. Or perhaps you imagined that your husband would eventually see that you and the children miss him, and he would change. Either way, the task now is to determine if he is willing to join the family.

Write out a realistic list of your non-negotiable terms for marriage and family life. It should look something like this: “family dinners, four nights a week; date night, two nights per month; family outings two times each month,” and so on. Then, schedule a sit-down conversation with your husband using the time-management tool of his choice. If his buddies schedule their nights out by text message, for example, do the same. Send him a loving text with a set start time and end time for the conversation. Please do not write: “We need to talk.” That language seems straightforward, but because of its dramatic overuse in TV and film, those four little words are loaded. Do let your husband know that you want to have more fun, especially with him. Invite him on a date night, without the kids. Let him know you want a commitment to outings with him every month. Share your other non-negotiable expectations, too.

If your husband balks, suggest seeing a marriage counselor together. If he refuses, go on your own. You will need professional support to decide the next best course of action for you and your children.

I met this guy, and we clicked right off. He gave me his number, and I called him like an hour after he left the bar. He didn’t pick up. I sent him a text around midnight, but still no response. I called him again the next day, and the call went to voice mail. Should I keep chasing him? Or give up? I’m really attracted to him.

It’s exciting to discover an attraction and courageous to make the first move. But I’m worried that this guy will think you are desperate or a creepy stalker. Please don’t contact him again. In the future, when you call someone you like, leave one message. Yes, only one. When you do, tell the guy what you liked about him and invite him to do something specific, like: “You are so fun. I had a blast hanging out with you last night. Let’s go to ComedySportz Sacramento Friday night!” Then, practice patience. If a guy doesn’t respond, he’s not interested in you. Move on.

Meditation of the week
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible,” said musician Frank Zappa. How comfortable are you coloring outside the lines?

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