My wife’s ad­dicted to the gym, what can I do?

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­

Q. My wife’s very at­trac­tive and has a great fig­ure. In fact, she’s ob­sessed with her body and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

I love that she’s fit and healthy. But I don’t love that her regimes to stay that way some­times take prece­dence over ev­ery­thing else.

I’m the nur­tur­ing par­ent with our two young kids and that’s fine, most of the time. I drive them to school dur­ing the week, pick them up from af­ter-care, and take them to week­end ac­tiv­ity pro­grams.

But when it’s fam­ily time I re­sent if she skips out to do yet an­other run or gym class.

Frankly, I get most hurt and dis­ap­pointed when it’s fi­nally “our time,” af­ter the kids have gone to bed . . . and she im­me­di­ately falls asleep.

How do I con­vince her to get some bal­ance in her sched­ule so that I’m in­cluded in it?

Yes, it’s frus­trat­ing for you and un­fair too, that the ben­e­fits of upbeat en­dor­phins and per­sonal-im­age re­wards have let her con­vince her­self that it’s good for the fam­ily, too. How­ever, with­out bal­ance, this ob­ses­sion is no dif­fer­ent from a worka­holic’s ab­sences based on the be­lief/ex­cuse that it’s how ev­ery­one’s ben­e­fit­ting fi­nan­cially.

A line gets crossed when the pos­i­tives mostly sat­isfy only one per­son and ev­ery­one else is left wait­ing for sup­port, shar­ing, and part­ner­ship.

Tell her you miss her in bed and at fam­ily fun times. And that the kids miss her, too.

You ap­pre­ci­ate how she looks and feels, but you love her ac­tual pres­ence more.

Sug­gest some fit­ness ac­tiv­i­ties the whole fam­ily can do to­gether — cross­coun­try skiing, a fam­ily fit­ness class, swim­ming, etc.

And re­mind her that sex can be as ath­letic as you both choose to make it.

We are be­ing taken ad­van­tage of

Q. Our adult son’s our only child. Our daugh­ter-in-law, whom he mar­ried eight years ago, had a well-pay­ing job and was am­bi­tious.

Our son also had a good job and they man­aged a nice life­style on two in­comes, helped con­sid­er­ably by our giv­ing them the down pay­ment on a house for their wed­ding gift.

His wife’s now tak­ing ad­van­tage of the af­flu­ence my hus­band built up through years of hard work. She stopped work­ing when preg­nant with their third child.

My hus­band then started cov­er­ing half of their mort­gage pay­ments plus ex­tras. He pays any va­ca­tions or spe­cial needs, too. The only thing she man­ages is her own spend­ing money, which I guess is from sav­ings (we don’t dare ask).

It’s not that we can’t af­ford to be gen­er­ous, but I re­sent my daugh­ter-in-law’s as­sump­tion that she’s en­ti­tled to this sup­port.

Is it too late to change this pat­tern? How can we keep help­ing out in our grand­chil­dren’s lives with­out feel­ing that we’re be­ing used?

You “don’t ask” and your son doesn’t tell, leav­ing a huge gap in com­mu­ni­ca­tion about money.

That’s a se­ri­ous prob­lem be­cause fi­nances are a sen­si­tive topic and ex­pec­ta­tions and re­al­i­ties have to be clear. But re­mem­ber that rais­ing three kids is work; so don’t dis­miss your daugh­ter-in­law’s con­tri­bu­tion.

You’re cur­rently en­meshed in pay­ing to­wards this cou­ple’s life. You both have a right to know what their ex­penses are, where there’s a short­fall, and when and if your daugh­ter-in-law plans to earn again.

Ar­range a meet­ing let­ting them know what you’ll ask in ad­vance. De­cide ahead what on­go­ing sup­port level — if any — is com­fort­able for you, and what feels over-the-top.

Mean­time, set up ed­u­ca­tion funds for your grand­chil­dren, so that you know their fu­ture school­ing’s se­cured. Con­sider it an in­vest­ment, not a hand­out.


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