Dear Dr. Julie: My husband of 43 yrs has worked most of our marriage away from home: here for 2 weeks and gone for 2-3 months. I pretty much raised our 3 children alone. He retired in 2018 and has gone from being away from home most of the time to being home almost ALL the time. Has prioritized self care: goes to bed at 7, up at 6. Exercise M, W, Th and Sat. Eats dinner at 3 pm ( he does most of the cooking now ). Has set up these very rigid boundaries and doesn’t care about much else. Will reluctantly socialize but is just as happy home doing nothing. At this point, I don’t want to get divorced but this relationship is ridiculous. He’s a nice guy but I can’t say I care about him all that much.
My problem is since he has these rigid boundaries, how can I establish my own if they collide with his. For example, I’d love to go out and see a show in the evening or meet a friend or whatever. But if he goes to bed at 7, we have an anxious dog and he...
What scares you? Does being thought of as selfish scare you?
Let's talk about selfishness--what it is and how to tell if you are being selfish. It’s a concern I frequently hear from my clients.
The difficulty with figuring out this question is that it is not an either or proposition. It’s a balancing act. Essentially, you need to balance your needs with the needs of others. Sometimes you need to choose in favor of you and sometimes you need to choose in favor of others.
But if you almost always choose in favor of others for fear of being selfish, you have a problem. You aren’t living in balance. You aren’t getting your needs met. Your boundaries are not being acknowledged and respected (likely because you aren’t voicing them). You’re out of balance and you’re not living your truest life.
As people we want to foster healthy, harmonious relationships. As women we are taught to be agreeable, nurturing, and self-sacrificing. Often we come...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband is throwing his anxiety on me. How do I change this? Thank you!!
Dear Anxious Annie: This is one of my most frequent questions. People really struggle around how not to be so affected by other people's emotions.
When our partners, friends, or family members are struggling with anxiety, it can feel overwhelming, especially when their anxiety affects us negatively. Here are a few suggestions that may help you navigate this situation for everyone's benefit. (Remember you can't MAKE him do anything, but encouragement and understanding go along way.)
1. Heart to Heart Communication: Start by having a calm conversation with your husband about how his anxiety is making you feel and affecting you. Express your understanding of his situation and your concern for his welfare. Remember we all want to feel seen, heard, and understood and this is a great opportunity to practice letting him know that you understand how he feels. If you need...
Many of us have been taught from a young age that being kind and considerate towards others is a virtue. While this is undoubtedly true, some people take this to an extreme and become people pleasers.
A people pleaser is someone who prioritizes the needs and desires of others above their own, often at great personal expense. There are many reasons why someone might become a people pleaser, and in this blog post, we will explore some of the most common ones.
At the heart of the people-pleasing tendency lies a deep-seated human need: the desire for acceptance and belonging. We all want to be liked and valued by our peers, friends, and family. For people-pleasers, this need can be especially pronounced. Saying "yes" becomes a way to gain approval and establish stronger connections with others. It's as if their emotional well-being is intricately tied to the approval of those around them.
People become pleasers for a variety of...
If you've been in a relationship for a while, have you ever wondered whether there is a better relationship partner out there for you? Or, if you are single, have you ever wondered whether there is a Mr. or Mrs. Right out there for you?
What do you think would make someone right for you? Sure, you want them to be attractive and have a personality and interest that matches yours, but what else?
Better yet, how do you sustain that feeling of being right for each other?
While there are a lot of answers to these questions, there is one, overarching answer that will
It almost seems too simple--just one thing will do all that?
As a therapist I've worked with a wide variety of people over the last 20 years, and I've seen the power of this one thing in people's lives. When my clients have implemented it, they have seen it work miracles in creating deeper relationships and shifting negative relationship...
Dear Dr. Julie: My significant other and I live 2 hours away and are able to see each about twice a month. However because we aren’t in the same city he thinks it’s okay for him to go out & have sex with somebody else (he goes to “providers”). He thinks it’s okay because he is not in a “ relationship “ with anybody else & he says he needs sex. I do love him & he says he loves me but it upsets me to know he is having sex with somebody else! What should I do?
--Monogamous in Montana
Dear Monogamous: Tell yourself the truth about whether him having sex with other people is a dealbreaker for you, regardless of what that might mean for the future of the relationship. Don't let your desire to get along or be understanding get in the way of answering the question. And, don't believe the myth that he is the only one for you.
Keep in mind that people never do something just once or only in one situation. It is...
Marriage is a sacred bond that brings two individuals together, promising love, companionship, and happiness. However, even the strongest marriages will experience periods of discontent and unhappiness. Understanding the key factors contributing to marital unhappiness is important for fostering healthy marriages and avoiding the “bad” times as much as possible.
In this article, we will explore six factors that can undermine marital bliss, offering valuable insights into the challenges couples may face and potential strategies for resolution.
By recognizing the factors that can lead to unhappiness in marriage, couples can proactively address potential issues before they become significant sources of discontent. This recognition empowers individuals to take ownership of their relationship dynamics and actively seek solutions.
Lack of Effective Communication
Communication serves as the cornerstone of a thriving...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband and I have been married for a while and it's starting to feel a bit boring. We are losing our spark. How can we fix this boring marriage?
--Losing Our Spark
Dear Losing Our Spark: Anything you do repeatedly is going to start to feel boring after a while. That's because it is no longer novel or fun, it is the same old thing over and over again. Who wants that?
To fix your boring marriage first talk with your husband about how you feel and get his perspective--does he think the marriage is boring? You need to know whether he feels the same way and what he thinks will help.
Then think about what made the first years of your relationship fun and interesting. Did you go out and do things more often than you do now? How much time did you spend together versus apart from each other? Were you doing things he liked to do that you haven't done before? Who made the plans for going out? Has that shifted?
If you are caught up in parenting, work or life...
Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck?
Do negative thoughts and feelings of not being “good enough” often lead your mind down a stressful path of self-doubt and low confidence?
Did you know that almost all of us are plagued by self-limiting beliefs daily, keeping us from fully living our best lives?
In this blog post, we'll look at how to identify and break through these limiting beliefs– because everyone deserves to reach their fullest potential!
Step 1: Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
The first step in changing your self-limiting beliefs is to identify them. This can be done by paying attention to your inner dialogue and noticing any negative thoughts or self-talk holding you back. Write down these beliefs and be specific about how they make you feel and impact your life.
Step 2: Challenge Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
Once you have identified your self-limiting beliefs, it's time to challenge them. Ask yourself if these beliefs are based on...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband continually forgets things we have agreed on, has little motivation for doing household chores (but is totally happy to go do something impulsive that seems like fun for him), and can't seem to take my feelings into account before doing something he knows will upset me. I'm beginning to think he has ADHD. I've asked him about it but he dismisses my concerns. How do I talk with him about this? I need help. I'm starting to feel like our marriage might not last.
--Can't Take Much More
Dear Can't Take Much More: I get it! That would be incredibly frustrating. People with ADHD are a lot of fun to be around, but when the routines of life have to be attended to, it is difficult for many of them to stay focused and be supportive.
Many people with ADHD have a history of knowing (sometimes unconsciously) that they are different and they feel a lot of shame around being different. It can be hard to admit they have a problem in this case.
He also might have a...