Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Marriage flounders over financials

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am married to a beautiful woman. We have two wonderful daughters. For the past two years, a distance has grown between us.

This has been a rough year for me. I left a good job for another that didn't pan out. I then landed a great job with a former employer. My wife says that she supports me, but her tone of voice and facial expressions say otherwise.

With these transitions, we have gotten a little behind with our bills, but will recover over the next month. There was a snafu in pay last week, and I received a check for only one week's work instead of two. The rent was due.

I wanted to discuss this when I got home (about 9 p.m.), but she was sleeping. At five the next morning she confronted me. I tried to explain the situation, but she was furious and would not listen to me. She then gave me the silent treatment all weekend.

I tried apologizing and told her that I would work on communicating better on financials.

Her only response was that I had better get more communicative about this stuff, or it is over.

Wow. Over? I have a hard time talking about things. I have not slept in two days since this happened.

I love her and want to make this work, but if she is going to snap over stuff like this, I don't know.

-- Perplexed Husband

Dear Perplexed: Financial issues always put a strain on marriages, although your efforts to keep the ship afloat are admirable.

Because your wife blindsided you with her shocking reaction to your communication issue, you should write down how you feel and what you are thinking about, and prepare to use your written thoughts as a guide when you confront her about the way she has handled this current challenge.

Use "I" statements: "When you said 'It's over,' I felt completely blindsided. I don't know how to respond." The first rule of fair fighting is not to threaten the entire relationship.

You two should work together to find new and specific ways to communicate about finances. A regular, planned "date night" (whether you go out or stay in) without kids will give you the space to catch up on business matters. You also need to emotionally reconnect. You both need to take a breath and be deliberately patient and loving right now.

Dear Amy: My parents live in a metropolitan area with three airports. One is 15 minutes from my parents' home, another is 30 minutes; the third is an hour and 15 minutes away.

My 58-year-old brother insists on booking his air travel to the airport that is furthest away.

My parents have asked him not to travel through that airport, but he continues to because it is cheaper (he does not have financial troubles).

I think that's fine, but if he continues to choose that airport, I think he should have to rent a car or cab out to my parents' home.

My parents are in their late 80s, and I suspect that if I don't pick my brother up they will go get him.

I have told my mom that if they continue to pick him up at that airport, he will continue to fly in to there, and that they are punishing me when they insist that I spend two and a half hours PLUS to pick him up.

This is all happening at Thanksgiving. I don't want to upset them, but I'm tired of this dance.

What do you think? Sometimes, even if you're right, it's not worth it.

-- Feeling taken advantage of

Dear Feeling: You should communicate directly with your brother about this. Tell him, "Mom and Dad really should not be driving to get you at the furthermost airport. Please don't burden them with this. If you book a flight to the closer airport, I'd be happy to come get you. Otherwise, you should rent a car."

If the usual happens, then yes, I think you should retrieve him. You can use the car ride to express your resentment and get it out of your system before Thanksgiving dinner.

Dear Amy: I loved your hilarious response to "Too Close!" that bananas woman who thought something was "not right" about her husband and his sister sharing a bathroom sink.

Guess she didn't grow up with a family of six sharing one loo!

-- Still Holding It

Dear Holding It: My husband is one of 13 children. One bathroom.

Sharing a sink was the least of it.

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(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)

 

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