Dear Harlan: Your answer to “Rejected Husband” makes me think you sublet your space for a day.
Two young kids, split work shifts, not much time together. When they do have time together, she just wants to talk and hug (which might actually lead to more intimacy), but he’s thinking, “Now’s our chance” (which really means “Now’s my chance”). So on top of two small kids, a home to care for and a job, he expects to be on her “to do” list. No hugging, no talking — just wham, bam, thank you, ma’am ... to borrow a very old phrase.
She does not need counseling; she wants to connect with him physically and emotionally (thus her need to hug and talk). He needs counseling to figure out how to be more than just something else she has to “do.” — Betty D
Dear Betty: No, Betty, I didn’t sublet the space for the day. But if I were going to sublet this space, I’d give it to you. I do love your advice. I agree with a lot of it — most of it.
The problem for me is that this lack of communication between the husband and wife has been going on for months. The dysfunction has become habitual. There’s no question this woman is probably exhausted and feels totally overwhelmed. And there’s no question this man isn’t reading her signs and needs help communicating with her. But they need to go to counseling together. He needs help listening. She needs a safe space to share what is happening.
If I were to offer this dude one more piece of advice, it would be to check in with his wife and ask her the question, “How are you doing?” and then listen. Then he can follow up with, “What can I do to help?” These two questions will change the tone and open up some solid communication.
Dear Harlan: My daughter is going to college in the fall. She is insistent on living with one of her closest friends her freshman year. I have told her it’s a bad idea. She doesn’t want to listen to me. It seems everything I suggest she wants to do the opposite. I can’t help her if she isn’t listening. Any suggestions on how I can help her make choices that will set her up for success? — Upset Mom
Dear Upset Mom: Good news — the more your college-bound daughter ignores you, the more she loves you. Pushing you away will make it easier for her to say goodbye in a couple of months.
I understand your frustration. The problem is that you’re a mom. And moms don’t get heard. So, you’re better off outsourcing. Have a cousin, older friend or someone she respects offer advice. Ask her to check in with these people to make sure she’s setting herself up for success. You can even use my advice. I agree with you.
She has her entire life to live with her best friend. The first year is a dangerous time to room with her. She’ll either stay friends or hate her best friend. Living apart gives her and her friend a chance to divide and conquer. They can both make new friends, and if for any reason they don’t love their roommates, they can always hang out with each other.
See if my advice helps. If not, just let her make her own rules and be there when she needs you.