Life Advice



Bridging Distance in Busy Marriage

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I've been happily married for over 12 years, but lately, I've noticed a growing distance between my husband "Bryan" and me. He's always been a bit of a workaholic, but it's gotten to the point where even on weekends, he's either at the office or on his phone dealing with work-related issues. We used to enjoy things like hiking and trying new restaurants together, but now it seems like he has no energy or interest. The times I have been able to convince him to do something for fun, it hasn't been fun at all because he's on his phone checking emails the whole time.

I've tried to talk to him about it, but he insists that everything is fine and that this is just a "busy season" at work. I'm worried that this "season" is turning into our new norm. How can I get through to him that our relationship needs more attention without coming off as needy or unsupportive? -- Worried in Wisconsin

Dear Worried: Communication is key in any marriage, and it's important to convey your feelings without making your husband feel defensive. Express your feelings using "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory. Additionally, propose a practical solution like setting aside one weekend a month dedicated to quality, phone-free time together, or even a few hours a week where both of you can disconnect from work and focus on each other.

Dear Annie: I recently started a new job in marketing that I was very excited about, but I've run into a challenging situation with my manager, "Chris." He's quite dismissive of me during our meetings and often interrupts me when I'm trying to explain my ideas. I thought maybe it was because I was new, but there are other colleagues -- all of them male -- who started around the same time as I did, and he always lets them finish their thoughts, and even provides complimentary feedback in many cases.

It makes me wonder if gender plays a role. It's really bothering me, and I want to address the issue without sounding accusatory or jeopardizing my new position. Should I confront Chris? Find a new job? Or just let it go, keep my head down and try to work my way up the ladder? -- Seeking Respect in Raleigh


Dear Seeking Respect: Letting it go might seem like the path of least resistance, but it's likely to lead to ongoing frustration down the line. I suggest you address the issue head-on, albeit with tact.

Request a one-on-one meeting with Chris. Prepare for the discussion by noting specific instances where you felt dismissed, which will help keep the discussion focused on your experience rather than perceived intentions. By expressing your feelings without making assumptions about him, you invite an open dialogue, which could lead to greater understanding and respect on both sides.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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