Two questions this week; one focuses on feeling alone in marriage and the other addresses what happens when an adult child is not able to communicate openly with his parent and ends up acting passively aggressive, possibly putting his child in harm’s way.
Dear Mary Jo,
I am a man from India and I feel alone in my marriage. My wife and I are together, but I feel as though I am very much alone. We have no emotional connection. I don’t want to break my relationship. Please, can you help me?
The amount of distance in a relationship is determined by the couple, and the style they develop. Feeling alone is much different from actually being alone. Feeling alone means the communication is broken. The feeling of being alone is one of the underlying feelings that cause couples to split. There are ways to prevent it from developing. As with most things, once the damage is done, it is more difficult to fix. Here are 3 tips to help you feel less isolated in your relationship.
- Ask yourself if you really want this relationship. Sometimes we become lonely when we long for someone or something else. Your partner may sense that you feel stagnant with them or want out, but are unwilling to say. They may be withdrawing as a way of not getting as hurt.
- Talk to your partner about how you feel. Does your partner know you feel unloved or distant?
- Are your beliefs about money, sex or faith getting in the way of your need to be connected with one another? Couples who are fighting may project the anger from the disagreement onto the relationship. The distance created is actually about disagreeing over a topic. If you talk about this, it will help bridge the distance you feel.
Tell your wife what you just told me, and begin your new year by talking to a relationship counselor.
Dear Mary Jo,
In September, my son, his new wife and 2-year-old son and I rented a home together and we share expenses. On Christmas Eve they came home with a constrictor snake. I am terrified of snakes! I feel they totally disrespect me, and now I have to find a place to live.
It sounds as though your son is trying in a passive aggressive manner to tell you he doesn’t want to continue sharing a place with you. I am also concerned with his choice of “pets” as they are not safe to have around children. Boa’s become aggressive with excitement, and excitement is part of living with a two-year-old.
I would advise you to seek another place to live on your own. It will help you feel less disrespected, and it may help your son and his wife develop their own marital style, which they very much need to do. If I were you, I would tell your son that you see his choice in bringing home a boa constrictor as a direct message to you that he no longer wants you there. It is possible they could secure the snake in an area you wouldn’t need to go into, however, people who have a fear of snakes are not usually comforted by trusting someone else to be completely responsible. Accidents do happen, and if the snake somehow escaped, it could put you (and your grandchild) in an emotionally, as well as physically, harmful situation. I am sure if you take the time and think of your relationship with your son, you will find a pattern with his disrespect of your feelings directly related to his trying to break away. It would be wonderful if you both were open to talking about this, and work toward a more healthy relationship where you can openly communicate your feelings without feeling shame or guilt.
Both of these questions bring up the importance of good communication. When your relationship lacks good communication every other part of the relationship suffers as well. People will rationalize and many times deny there is a problem, but as Joyce’s situation points out, sometimes the passive aggressive choice you end up using to express yourself puts loved ones in harmful situations. It’s better to talk it out and listen carefully without judgment.