Work, mar­riage at odds

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: For the ma­jor­ity of our 10 years to­gether, my wife has been a house­keeper at var­i­ous ho­tels. This is phys­i­cally de­mand­ing, low- pay­ing work. It has taken a toll on her knees and back. She does not seem happy there.

I have a ful­fill­ing and sta­ble job that pro­vides more than enough in­come for our house­hold — and ex­tras.

I have week­ends and hol­i­days off. We are never off at the same time and miss im­por­tant events in each other’s lives. Al­most all “fun time” is spent sep­a­rately.

I want to spend the week­ends to­gether and start to en­joy the ben­e­fits from our years of hard work.

I want her to change ca­reers. When I try to en­cour­age her to do this, she has a neg­a­tive re­ac­tion. She is un­der the im­pres­sion that I think house­keep­ing is “not a real job” or “be­neath” her. When I tell her about job open­ings I think look good or sug­gest she go back to school, she re­jects them.

Although my goal is to bring us closer to­gether, we end up fight­ing.

If she truly does en­joy this work ( I don’t be­lieve she does), then I want her to be happy, but I still want more from our mar­riage.

How can I ap­proach this in a dif­fer­ent way? I’m be­gin­ning to think she prefers to be alone in­stead of with me.

Lonely Hus­band

Dear Lonely: If your wife has op­tions and she chooses to con­tinue in this field, then you should as­sume that she likes it, even if she com­plains about it.

So when she comes home com­plain­ing about her back and her knees, you say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You do work hard.” Don’t of­fer lots of sug­ges­tions about go­ing to school or point her to­ward other jobs. Why? Be­cause ev­ery time you do, she dou­bles down and recom­mits to her pro­fes­sion.

Con­cen­trate on your rea­son­able de­sire to spend more time to­gether. Can she change her shifts even one week­end a month? Is she will­ing to ne­go­ti­ate about this? If not, then I agree that her com­mit­ment to your re­la­tion­ship is not what it could ( and should) be, and you should as­sume there is a deeper rea­son she does not want to spend time with you.

::

Dear Amy: My best friend of over 40 years re­cently told me that he doesn’t want to be my friend any­more. I was hurt and shocked.

“Gary” and I met in mu­sic school. We were room­mates in col­lege, played in a rock band and even took va­ca­tions to­gether. He was my best man when I got mar­ried over 37 years ago.

My wife and I moved to the East Coast some years ago, but Gary and I kept in touch. He is now with a woman whom he iden­ti­fies as his “wife,” although they are not mar­ried ( he has never been mar­ried).

I wrote Gary a four- page let­ter and apol­o­gized if I ever did any­thing to of­fend or hurt him, ask­ing him to be hon­est with me about the prob­lem be­tween us. He wrote back, say­ing the prob­lem was more with him­self than me. That was it.

Could Gary ac­tu­ally be bi­sex­ual and is hurt that I “left him” — emo­tion­ally and ge­o­graph­i­cally?

Con­fused

Dear Con­fused: Are you bi­sex­ual, be­cause you have such a deep at­tach­ment to this man?

Ob­vi­ously such spec­u­la­tion is point­less.

When some­one tells you, “It’s not you, it’s me,” be­lieve him.

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