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...
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...
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...
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...
Dear Dr. Julie: I was in a bad marriage for 20 years and it seems to have taken it's toll on me. My ex-husband often made me responsible for anticipating his needs and making things easier for him. At the time I thought I was just a bad wife. But post-divorce (and a lot of therapy), I see that I wasn't responsible for his behavior. My problem is that I'm in a new relationship and sometimes I notice that I feel like I should be doing something to make my new partner feel better when he's upset. This happens especially when he's expressing his unhappiness or dissatisfaction about situations I'm not a part of. I know it's not my job to make him feel better but I get emotionally fixated on what I can do and I can't seem to calm down easily. What can I do?
--Wired this way now
Dear Wired this way now: That's an excellent description of being triggered. When we are repeatedly exposed to stressful situations like you described, the way we cope with it becomes embedded in our...
Dear Julie, My husband and I have been married for 7 years and there are several things he does that drive me crazy. I've tried talking to him about what I need him to do differently, but he won't change and I don't understand why. Can you help me understanding my husband and why he won't change?
--Looking for Change
Dear Looking for Change, You aren't going to like my answer much, but here goes.
You can't change him. (I know you know that.)
You have two options, ask (nicely) for change, and act differently. Essentially, use your words and your actions to influence him to do things differently.
Consider some of these possible factors as to why he isn't changing, even though you have asked.
Hi Dr. Julie, My husband has ADHD and I try very hard not to parent him when he doesn’t complete a task or completes it so quickly that he isn’t thorough. I often will go back and complete it myself, but then I feel resentful.
I have committed to not nagging him about these things as it doesn’t feel good to either of us. I’m his wife, not his mother and I would like to have an adult relationship with him, not a parent/child relationship as often happens. How would you advise me to approach him without nagging or criticizing?
--Looking For A Better Way
Dear Looking, ADHD is a tough one because the individual usually means well, but isn't organized enough or tracking details well-enough to follow-through. In cases like this, you are right nagging doesn't work and you want to avoid feeling resentful.
First, I recommend that the two of you talk about the ways ADHD is showing up in your relationship and chart the pattern so that you both are...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband and I have been married for about 15 years and I'm getting tired of how he treats me. He gets angry with me because I "touch his nerve." But I don't always know what that "nerve" is. I have noticed he gets upset with me if I get anxious about something he is doing, like how he drives, but otherwise, I can't tell what will set him off. Do you have any thoughts on what might be going on and what I can do?
--At A Loss
P.S. When I ask him about it he says that we've been married long enough that I should know.
P.P.S. I'm so tired of this I'm considering divorce. I don't want to divorce him, but I'm tired of how unfriendly and mean he is towards me.
Dear At A Loss: I think if you had some idea of what was going on, that would help. Let me take a guess at what might be happening.
In order to figure this out we need to observe patterns. You've made one important observation of a pattern: he gets upset with you when you are anxious about...
Hello Dr Julie! Post pandemic, post divorce, post helpful therapy process I have few friends. It is not familiar for me to be so solitary but I live in a state where folks are resistant to deeper emotional relating or making casual connections without years of well established experience.
I use female meet up groups, hobbies, educational pursuits and even explored high school friends, which are positive but not netting meeting at a flower conservatory, coffee or meeting for music. I am lonely and have been told I have great friendship skills from friends in the past, I would like to have more connections in my life. I need to be in this state for work, despite many people from elsewhere complaining that when they move here for business, they do not stay long for lack of friendly chances to connect with others.
I have lost many family members, and some long term friends to illness, I wonder if after Covid others are in this position? I continue to reach out but am not finding...