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