Hol­i­days are stress­ful on un­happy mar­riage

The Saline Courier - - OPINION - HARRIETTE COLE

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been fight­ing with my hus­band over ev­ery­thing, it seems. I am not happy, and he and I are not get­ting along. It is time for us to plan our an­nual trip to visit his fam­ily for the hol­i­days, and I do not want to go. I don’t feel like smil­ing and acting like ev­ery­thing is fine, or be­ing in­ter­ro­gated by his fam­ily about what’s wrong. I’m not fil­ing for di­vorce, ei­ther. I just don’t want to pre­tend any­more. I want to go to ther­apy with my hus­band, but he re­fuses. What can I do? -- At a Cross­roads

DEAR AT A CROSS­ROADS: Sit down with your hus­band and tell him that you do not feel com­fort­able go­ing to visit his fam­ily this year. Tell him why. Be spe­cific and hon­est. Ex­plain that you are not happy with him, and you don’t feel like pre­tend­ing or ex­plain­ing what’s go­ing on. This may be a wake-up call for him about how se­ri­ous you are about your mar­i­tal prob­lems.

Ask him again to go to ther­apy with you. Tell him you aren’t in­ter­ested in get­ting a di­vorce, but you do want to fig­ure out ways to strengthen your mar­riage. Ask him if he wants that, too. Stand­ing up about not go­ing to visit his fam­ily may be the eye­opener he needs to take you se­ri­ously. •••

DEAR HARRIETTE: My next-door neigh­bor asked to bor­row chairs from me re­cently when she had guests com­ing over for a big din­ner. I thought that was an odd re­quest, but I loaned her the chairs. When she re­turned them, one of the seat cush­ions was soiled. I know it hap­pened while the chair was at her house be­cause I hardly ever use these chairs, and it wasn’t soiled be­fore. I want her to have the chair cush­ion cleaned -- or at least pay for it. How do I bring this up without caus­ing fric­tion? -- Dirty Chair

DEAR DIRTY CHAIR: There is al­ways a risk of dam­age when you lend your be­long­ings to other peo­ple. There should also be an un­der­stand­ing on the other side that if some­one dam­ages some­thing he or she bor­rowed, the re­spon­si­bil­ity lies with them.

Im­me­di­ately speak to your neigh­bor about the chair. Show her the stain and tell her it wasn’t there be­fore. Tell her that you would like for her to pay for the chair to be cleaned. Do some re­search to find out the cost to clean that cush­ion so that you can be spe­cific as to your ex­pec­ta­tion.

It is likely that she will be some­what em­bar­rassed and open to pay­ing to re­pair the dam­age. In the event that she is un­will­ing to do so or un­will­ing to ad­mit that the stain oc­curred at her house, don’t fight with her. Get your chair cleaned, but do not lend any­thing else to her.

•••

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o Andrews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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