Carol Allen of KarmaAir.com’s Enlightening Relationships answers your questions. Read more…
Q: My husband of 35 years often uses negative attention-getting behavior when we get together with family and friends. He complains and then loudly displays his criticism of me and of others. This makes it impossible to include others in holidays, etc. What should I do?
Signed: Mrs. Grumpy
A: Dear Mrs. Grumpy,
Wowza – 35 years is a long time! He must be nice sometimes. I’d recommend trying to find out what he’s upset about, or if he’s depressed. You’re right to conclude that he’s trying to get attention. When someone tears everyone else down, it’s because they’re insecure and unhappy. When was the last time you complimented him or made him feel admired? See if there’s a way to help him feel more secure. Then gently let him know that you’d like more of a social life but that you’re concerned because he makes you uncomfortable. He may not realize how he affects people. If he’s unwilling to change or discuss things, but you’re happy with him in private, then it may just be that you’re married to someone who doesn’t “play well with the other children” and you may have to keep him all to yourself and have your own social life separate from your relationship.
Q: I broke up a five-year relationship with someone I loved very much because he chose his mother over me. We were engaged, but he allowed her to meddle in our relationship, and he always told her everything that was going on between us. I asked him one time if he wanted to stay with me or her, and he said her. Any thoughts?
Signed: Too Close For Comfort
A: Ah, Freud and Jung would have a field day with this story! Here are my thoughts: You did the right thing! A hallmark of a full relationship is that both members of a couple make each other their first priority – above friends and family. They also keep each other’s confidences… Your ex showed you he wasn’t mature enough to be a husband, and that he’s never made the healthy separation from his mother. It’s nice to find a man who loves his mother – please do! But life is long and you never know what can happen – you could end up waiting on this woman hand and foot in her later years while she snuggles up to your hubby. You don’t need me to tell you that when you marry someone you marry into their family and vice verse, so you’d better have your mate’s full loyalty. Your ex is already married to his mother – the most you would have been is his mistress. Go on to find a man who can go the distance with a family who will give you the proper consideration and respect.