Understanding addictive element of failed marriage
Q: My sister and her husband are finally divorcing, after eight years of a tumultuous marriage, with exhilarating highs and devastating lows.
The underlying despair between them came from his being sterile and also his refusal to allow her to obtain donor sperm, along with their mutual reluctance to adopt.
They stayed together for the passion and hot sex that he spoke openly about, and it seemed like an addiction on both sides.
I know it was heightened by excess drinking (especially by him), but they both felt they’d never find that connection again.
He could be verbally mean to her, and even violent when he got angry, so I’m relieved and happy that my sister’s no longer accepting his abuse.
But she’s stuck in despair. What should I recommend that she do to get over him? – Relieved Sister A: Her need for counselling is crucial.
Otherwise she’ll turn this loss on herself, and possibly seek another abusive relationship, as it’s the pattern she’s accepted for so long.
Help her understand that the “addictive” element of the highs and lows, plus the actual intoxicants they used, kept her in a relationship that she knew was failing her.
If she still hopes to have children someday, and to move on, she needs a process of therapy to become free of feeling blame.
Q: I’m happy to announce that I’ll be getting married this April 15th. My fiance and I moved our wedding date up for a family member who is terminally ill.
I’m very excited that she’ll now be able to attend and I’m also excited to marry my best friend.
My problem is my own mother. She said it wasn’t a good idea to move the date.
She’s had her mistakes in life and I’ve had mine.
I haven’t even told her personally of the new date but recently created an event on Facebook (invitations are expensive and besides, Facebook helps me keep guests up to date easily on any changes). My mother’s on the guest list. How do I approach her now? Everyone around her knew we’d moved the date up, but I hadn’t wanted to have that conversation with her.
She’s going through “the change” and blaming all kinds of things on everyone else.
I really just want to tell her to keep her mouth shut at my wedding or else she should not come at all. – Bride with Difficult Mom A: Don’t let your own attitude from past motherdaughter issues sabotage your wedding.
The fact of your mom being difficult and going through menopause is not new to you. But she’s still your mother and should be at your wedding.
Someday, when you deal with your own hormonal changes and their effects, you’ll want understanding and effective strategies to get through it, not dismissal.
You’ve done what feels right for you and your ill friend, and that’s what matters.
Your mother’s reaction isn’t going to change the date, so if she starts to discuss it, just say it’s a done deal.
But excluding her from that information until she saw it on Facebook was a mistake. It likely feels like an insult to her.
Better to have let her have her say to you privately, than inform her publicly through Facebook.
You two have obviously got a history of disagreements and clashes.
Try to put them aside as much as possible and keep your focus on your happiness about getting married in just two months.
Q: I married my high-school sweetheart at 21, had two children, divorced a year ago, and started working at 36.
I’m astounded at how many men – in the same large company or clients of the company – arrange meetings and interviews with me that are really excuses to try to have sex.
I’ve been asked to meet in a hotel room, cornered in a bar until I threatened to scream, told I’d lose my job if I didn’t comply, etc. What am I doing wrong? – Workplace Newbie A: Don’t blame yourself, but do sharpen your antennae.
Tips: Never accept “meetings” in a hotel room. Insist that you meet at the office during working hours, or at lunch in a public place.
Don’t drink alcohol at a work meeting. It’s unnecessary and easier to keep the atmosphere from becoming social or too familiar.
Don’t give out unnecessary personal details. Your divorce or young marriage aren’t pertinent to a work meeting. TIP OF THE DAY When a volatile relationship ends, counselling can help you recognize in future what is considered healthy and unhealthy “love.”