This week’s questions bring up issues regarding infidelity, blending an un-blended family, same-sex marriage and dating. No matter how much experience you have or how long you’ve been with someone, one thing remains clear, waiting for someone else to change is never a wise decision.
Dear Mary Jo,
I’ve been married for almost 18 yrs. and I’ve only been with my husband. But ever since we’ve been married he’s been going out and acts like he’s single and I’m tired of dealing with this. We have 5 kids together. I don’t know if I should leave him. What do you think?
I think you are the one who has to change, and yes, if he is actively cheating, then you are going to have to make an intervention. Cheating is not only a marriage killer, it is medically risky. You are putting yourself in harm’s way, and your children need you to be healthy. He sounds extremely immature at best and narcissistic at worse. Begin by seeking counseling with a therapist and a lawyer. You’re going to need help from both going forward. I would begin with a women’s care doctor to get a physical and make sure you are healthy, and from there your physician should help you get a therapist. A good place to begin is with www.familyservices.org.
Dear Mary Jo,
Why are older women so arrogant toward a young guy like me?
I have not heard of this being an issue before, so I have to make an educated guess. It may be your approach to them, or what you are assuming regarding “older women.” You cannot put anyone in a category, but the one thing age gives people is an ability to see more clearly who they are. My guess is they’re reacting to you because they’re assuming you do not understand them. I think you should change your approach.
Dear Mary Jo,
How do I get a blended family of 2 bio-children and one 15-year-old from a prior marriage to work? My Husband and teen hate each other. We’ve been together for eleven years. They don’t speak and my husband tells me I love my teen more than him. I have asked for forgiveness and to start over.
I am not sure what you apologized for to your husband, because it sounds as though something happened in the past you feel badly or guilty about. I will say your children should come first, and if you put your now teen daughter before a man you were dating and later married, I think that was the right thing to do. This is now an issue between your fifteen year old and your husband. He needs to communicate with her in a way she can understand and feel better about. I remind you, he is the adult, and she is the child. If he needs help reaching out and talking to her, there are dad’s groups and step-dad’s groups which may help. One I am thinking about that would work beautifully is www.learntoparent.org Try to encourage them both and praise them out loud when you see positive communication.
Dear Mary Jo,
My wife and I wed in July. We are a same sex couple. I am American and she is from the Philippines. We were together over a year long distance. Married now 6 months. Communication is difficult. We fight a lot. Any advice? I’m very unhappy so far.
The first two years of any marriage are the most difficult. In fact, the majority of divorces happen within the first two years. You and your partner are developing your marriage style within the first two years, and it sounds as though it is complicated by communication issues. If I were you, I would seek professional help to better understand one another. Online marriages have a higher risk of divorce than marriages where you meet in person. There is so much a person can keep private when the relationship is online and in another country. There is a very good book I can recommend called, Please Understand Me and Temperament Types. This book will help you understand each other’s moods and feelings more clearly. If you both are wanting and willing to seek help, then the marriage has a very good chance of surviving and growing stronger. When we seek to understand ourselves and each other our relationships flourish.