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...