Life Advice



Husband's Obsessions Irritate Spouse

Harriette Cole on

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband gets obsessed with different ideas and then goes down the rabbit hole with them, often spending exorbitant amounts of money to learn more about whatever they are. Plus, he traps me into extended moments when I have to listen to him drone on and on about something that does not interest me. When he drinks while on one of these tears, it's unbearable. Then he repeats himself a thousand times and gets mad when I want to step away. I get that he is into these things, but I do not want to be subjected to his whims. How can I get him to keep his weirdness to himself? And how can I get him to stop spending so much money on things that make no sense? We really don't have enough for him to waste it. -- On a Whim

DEAR ON A WHIM: This is tricky. If you want to get him to curb his spending, you will need to spend some time listening to him and trying to make sense of his passions. When your husband is sober, ask him to explain to you why he believes he should make a significant investment in whatever the current idea is. Listen to learn if there is any value in what he believes. Acknowledge what makes sense. Otherwise, he will think you are simply dismissing him and will not listen to your advice. After you hear him out, remind him of where you as a family have allocated resources. Ask him how you will be able to pay for particular repairs with savings or whatever you have earmarked the money for if he diverts significant amounts to his passion. Do your best to get him to think about this in a practical way. Get your finances in control before backing off from the discussion.

When you feel that your husband is being reasonable, let him know that you understand that he has many passions. You want him to have permission to enjoy his whims (to an extent), but you also need to have your space. He needs to know that you do not always want to engage in these passions.

DEAR HARRIETTE: The employee who trained me to fill her position before she resigned was completely unorganized. She didn't keep accurate records of anything. Should I tell my boss about what she didn't do? I don't want to cause any issues between them, but I do not want to be blamed for what the last person failed to do. -- New Hire

DEAR NEW HIRE: You must speak to your boss immediately about the state of the files that you now manage. With the intention of full disclosure and a cry for help, ask to spend some time with your boss to review some important topics. Point out what the previous employee did not provide, and ask what is important to track down and what your boss may know from memory or process. Ask for their patience as you sort through paperwork. Let them know that you are sharing this information because you realize that there may be some hiccups until you establish better systems.



(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)






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